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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 25, 2012

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 13:31:45
ARB News Clips for January 25, 2012. 

This is a service of the California Air Resources Board’s Office
of Communications.  You may need to sign in or register with
individual websites to view some of the following news articles.


EPA gives millions to clean valley's air. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency on Tuesday announced a $5 million investment in
the San Joaquin Valley to try to solve some of the most pressing
issues in what is one of the most polluted regions in the
country. An additional $16 million in grants also was announced
to help curb diesel emissions and to improve air quality and
public health throughout California. Posted.

Environmental groups ask Kentucky lawmakers to consider coal's
health impact.  Kentucky's leaders should consider the health
hazards of mining, moving and burning coal as they craft the
state's energy policy, an environmental group said Tuesday.  The
Kentucky Environmental Foundation, based in Berea, released a
44-page "health-impact assessment" on coal and sent copies to
Gov. Steve Beshear and the General Assembly.  The statement cites
published, peer-reviewed scientific studies from recent years
that document health risks associated with coal.  Posted. 


Denmark to Stimulate Discussion on EU 2030 Climate Goal in March.
Denmark, which holds the European Union rotating presidency,
seeks to stimulate a debate on future greenhouse-gas reduction
goals in March to prevent further declines in carbon prices after
they dropped to a four-year low. The price of EU emission permits
is lower than the bloc expected when the system was started in
2005 and governments’ support for a policy paper sketching out
the most cost-efficient way to long-term climate goals. Posted.

Guangdong Carbon Program to Be China’s Largest, New Energy Says.
A program to curb the increase of greenhouse gas emissions in
China’s Guangdong province will probably be the largest of the
nation’s seven test climate- protection systems, according to
Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Guangdong is seeking to cut the
amount of carbon emitted per unit of production in its economy by
19.5 percent in the five years through 2015, New Energy Finance
said yesterday in an e-mailed research note. Posted.

Signs of New Life as U.N. Searches for a Climate Accord.  Critics
and supporters alike agree that the U.N. forum for negotiating
international climate change policies is an ungainly mess, its
annual gatherings marked by discord, disarray and brinkmanship. 
Each year, exhausted delegates and observers return home thinking
that there has to be a better way to address what they believe to
be one of the defining challenges of our time: the relentless
warming of the planet and its impact on the world’s inhabitants. 


Study: Old Port of Oakland trucks out, cleaner air in. The air
quality in neighborhoods around the Port of Oakland is bad enough
to cause health problems for residents three times the state
average. But a new study shows that steps taken by state air
regulators to rid the port of old polluting diesel trucks cut the
most noxious exhaust emissions in half. main conduits to the Port
of Oakland, the fifth busiest container port in the country.
Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19818462

Long Beach to study port-related effects. Long Beach — Long Beach
city leaders on Tuesday green-lighted a study of port-connected
air pollution effects on nearby neighborhoods. The City Council
also gave a 10-year key tenant loan extension to the developers
of Marina Pacifica, a mixed commercial-residential area near
Alamitos Bay. Both pieces of legislation were approved
unanimously. Posted. 

CARB extends registry deadline for Truck and Bus Rule. The
California Air Resources Board has extended its deadline for
truck owners to submit their information and possibly gain more
compliance time for the Truck and Bus Rule. The Truck and Bus
Rule registry is a database used by the California Air Resources
Board to keep track of the hundreds of thousands of commercial
vehicles that operate in California annually. The Truck and Bus
Rule, also known as the “Retrofit Rule,” will require trucking
fleets to either install diesel particulate filters or upgrade
their trucks. Posted.


EPA's new mileage standards win carmakers' support.  A parade of
car manufacturers, environmentalists and consumer groups praised
a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to
drastically increase American fuel efficiency standards over the
next 13 years. The proposed rules, which would require vehicles
in the United States to get 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, were
laid out Tuesday during an EPA and U.S. Department of
Transportation hearing in San Francisco. Posted.

Obama Pushes Natural-Gas Fracking to Create 600,000 U.S. Jobs.
President Barack Obama pushed drilling for gas in shale rock and
support for cleaner energy sources to boost the economy in his
final State of the Union address before facing U.S. voters in
November. Hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water,
sand and chemicals underground to free gas trapped in rock, could
create more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade, Obama
said yesterday. The process, called fracking, is among a list of
energy policies Obama said would fuel economic growth. Posted.

California tries new court to move ahead on Low Carbon Fuel
Standard.  The California Air Resources Board has shifted to a
new court in an attempt to win a stay of a decision halting its
Low Carbon Fuel Standard, after being denied its motion by a
judge Monday, a CARB spokesman said Tuesday.  "ARB has already
filed its appeal of the full decision with the 9th Circuit [in
San Francisco]," CARB spokesman Dave Clegern said in an emailed
statement. "The timetable on the motion to stay the injunction in
the appellate court, and on the appeal itself, are still being
developed by the court."  Posted. 

US: 'Serious' Questions On Pipeline Bill. A Republican bill that
would strip President Barack Obama of his authority to decide on
a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline raises serious legal questions,
the State Department said Wednesday in objecting to the bill.
Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones told Congress that
the bill "imposes narrow time constraints and creates automatic
mandates that prevent an informed decision" on the $7 billion
Keystone XL pipeline. Posted.

Judge denies California attempt to reimplement LCFS.  Judge
Lawrence J. O'Neill denied the California Air Resources Board's
(CARB) motion to stay the decision he issued on Dec. 29, 2011
that had halted the enforcement of California's Low Carbon Fuel
Standard (LCFS) regulation because that regulation is
unconstitutional.  On Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, CARB filed papers
asking the Court to reverse its decision and allow the state to
continue implementing the LCFS in 2012. Judge O'Neill ruled that
CARB "improperly seeks to relitigate issues this Court resolved
in its order granting the preliminary injunction and orders on
the summary judgment motions."  Posted. 
Ethanol industry responds to CARB quest for stay of LCFS
preliminary injunction.  Yesterday, the California Air Resources
Board (CARB) asked Judge Lawrence O'Neill of the U.S District
Court for the Eastern District of California to stay the
injunction he issued on December 29, 2011, that halted CARB's
implementation and enforcement of the California Low Carbon Fuel
Standard (LCFS). Judge O'Neill issued the injunction because he
had determined that the LCFS violates the commerce clause of the
U.S. Constitution. Earlier this month, on January 5, CARB filed
an appeal of Judge's O'Neill's decision with the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the 9th Circuit.  Posted. 


California High-Speed Rail Project Relies on Risky Funding,
Auditor Says. California (STOCA1)’s plan to build a high- speed
train network relies on risky funding and oversight of the agency
charged with building the rail lines remains weak, according to a
state audit. While the California High-Speed Rail Authority names
the U.S. government as its largest potential funding source for
the $98.5 billion project, its business plan provides few details
on how it will obtain the money, state Auditor Elaine Howle said
today in a report. Posted.

‘Social Equity’ to Be Weighed in U.S. Transit Funding Rule. The
U.S. Department of Transportation wants to give more weight to
factors including affordable-housing policy in deciding which
local mass-transit initiatives will get federal money. Its
proposed rules, published in the Federal Register today, are part
of a move over the past two years to alter the criteria that
President George W. Bush’s administration used to award grants
for light-rail, subway and rapid-bus systems. Posted.

Toyota global sales forecast rises on green demand.  Toyota
raised its global sales target for this year to 8.58 million
vehicles, up 21 percent from the previous year, as incentives for
ecological cars lift demand in Japan.  Toyota Motor Corp., which
struggled from production interruptions last year caused by
Japan's tsunami and flooding in Thailand, raised its forecast for
Japan sales Wednesday to 1.63 million vehicles from an earlier
1.53 million. Posted. 

GM’s Chevy Volt Used as ‘Political Punching Bag,’ Akerson Says.
The General Motors Co. Chevrolet Volt, the first mass-market
electric vehicle sold by a U.S. automaker, has become a
“political punching bag,” GM Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson
said. Akerson, testifying before a U.S. House panel today, said
the Volt, which the company is fixing after fires following crash
tests, is engineered for safety. “Unfortunately, there is one
thing we did not engineer,” Akerson told a House subcommittee led
by Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican. Posted.

Mitsubishi trying to make town into electric-car mecca.
Mitsubishi Motors is slowly rolling out its new electric car, the
i, and trying to burnish its ad campaign around the Illinois town
where it has its U.S. factory. Mitsu is trying to how an
all-American town like Normal, Ill., can become a shining example
of electric transportation, so it just delivered six of its
electric vehicles for use by the town. Posted.

Honda Fit electric vehicle enters US market, to be made available
for lease in select cities. First models hit the roads in
Torrance, California; more cities planned for summer 2012. Just
two months after debuting at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Honda
Fit electric vehicle has made its first entry into the U.S.
market in the city of Torrance, California. Posted.

New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Coming To Santa Monica.
New, publicly-accessible EV charging stations at seven sites and
numerous residences throughout Santa Monica will be installed by
EV Connect, a leading provider of electric vehicle infrastructure
solutions. The new publicly-accessible stations are in high
traffic locations, including Santa Monica Place Mall, Santa
Monica Pier, Santa Monica Civic Center, and Santa Monica Airport.
Posted. http://www.smmirror.com/#mode=single&view=33943


Rooftop solar capacity soars in Sacramento, report shows. Rooftop
solar power installations nearly tripled in Sacramento during the
past two years, making it the fastest-growing solar city in the
state. In a report released today, Environment California
Research & Policy Center said local residents and businesses have
installed nearly 16 megawatts of solar capacity, enough to power
12,000 homes. In 2009, Sacramento's rooftop solar capacity was
about 5.5 megawatts. Posted.

California's top solar city does not lie within the eco-conscious
Bay Area. Instead, San Diego has more solar installations -
generating more electricity - than any other city in the Golden
State, according to a report issued Tuesday. The report,
California's Solar Cities 2012, traces the spread of solar power
across the state, showing which communities have installed the
most panels. With 4,507 installations generating 37 megawatts of
electricity, San Diego leads the pack, producing more solar power
than all of Mexico. Posted.
From Brown to Green. It's a myth that environmental laws are job
killers. In fact, the East Bay is home to many cleaned-up toxic
sites that are now spurring the economy. During a Republican
presidential primary debate last June, Michele Bachmann lit into
the Environmental Protection Agency, recommending it be renamed
the "job-killing organization of America. Posted.

Stockton: center of clean technology? Quietly, without many of
its citizens perhaps noticing, the Central Valley city of
Stockton is becoming a hub for clean technology, says Jared
Blumenfeld, regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. He was in Stockton Tuesday to help promote the
EPA’s involvement in funding a clean energy upgrade to a
locomotive at Central California Traction Company, a 107-year-old
short line railroad based in Stockton. Posted.


SF supes ok environmental plan for America's Cup. The city's
Board of Supervisors is upholding an environmental impact report
for the America's Cup, overriding some environmental and
community groups' concerns about the sailing event. The Sierra
Club's San Francisco chapter challenged the report earlier this
month, citing concerns about pollution and other aspects of
America's Cup-related construction projects. Race organizers
responded to the issues, and the board on Tuesday evening
unanimously certified the environmental impact report. Posted.

Open houses on Cheyenne power plant scheduled.  Cheyenne Light,
Fuel and Power is hosting two open house meetings on plans to
build a natural-gas fired power plant just east of Cheyenne.  The
open houses will take place from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday and from 11
a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. Both events will take place at
the Cheyenne Holiday Inn.  The utility is in the process of
filing air pollution permits with the state Department of
Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 


A brighter energy future?  A week after President Obama denied
the application for the Keystone XL pipeline — which would carry
oil from Canada’s tar sands deposits in Alberta to U.S.
refineries along the Gulf of Mexico — it’s time for an energy
reality check. What does the future hold? It may be better than
you think. That’s one message from the U.S. Energy Information
Administration’s latest “Annual Energy Outlook,” which projects
the supply and demand for fuels through 2035.  Posted. 

TRZUPEK: Age of environmental fear.  Government regulators,
environmental groups and the news media tell us that the air we
breathe is polluted, the water we drink is tainted, our orange
juice contains a fungicide, and evil corporations are hoping to
make a profit at Mother Earth’s expense. They also remind us that
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal
agencies are protecting us by fighting the greedy capitalists who
seek our destruction.  Don’t believe it.  Posted. 

Our Voice: Cabazon Band takes the right step on air quality. The
landmark agreement between the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
and the South Coast Air Quality Management District holds great
promise to protect the environment of the east valley. It is
believed to be the first such agreement between an air quality
district and a tribe. Cabazon Band Chairman David Roosevelt said,
“This agreement is the demonstration of our commitment to the
community and environmental stewardship on sovereign lands.”

Speaking Out for Clean Cars. Seven years ago this month, while I
was at Rainforest Action Network, we were working with several
hundred California residents who were fighting to prevent their
electric cars from being seized, crushed, and sold for scrap.
These vehicles were fully functioning, economical and, because
they were electric, didn't use a drop of gas. Yet they were being
pulled off the roads by major automakers -- over the objections
of the people who loved driving them. Posted.

California Must Continue Leading the Country on Clean Cars. The
recent spate of high particle pollution days in the Sacramento
and San Joaquin Valley regions is a stark reminder that
California’s legacy of severe air pollution continues today. Over
the past two months, stagnant air conditions have led to
unhealthy pollution levels, especially troubling to those
suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions. Cars,
trucks and other vehicles, and the fossil fuels they burn,
contribute to smog and particle pollution and to greenhouse gases
that threaten our planet. Posted.

Jennifer M. Granholm: Former Michigan governor supports clean air
standards. This month, federal agencies held three public
hearings around the country, including one in San Francisco this
week, on a proposed rule to increase corporate fuel efficiency
(CAFÉ) standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. When finalized
in the summer, this strong national standard will save families
in California and across the country thousands of dollars at the
pump over a vehicle's lifetime, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign
oil and help to significantly reduce harmful carbon emissions.
Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_19811871


California’s Lead in Solar Is Slowly Eroding.  The growth of
California’s local solar-power systems, not only on rooftops but
in parking lots, farmers’ fields and vineyard irrigation ponds,
has kept the state well ahead of others in the total power
generated from photovoltaic systems.  In 2011, according to a new
report by Environment California, California’s total capacity
exceeded 1,000 megawatts — up from less than 10 megawatts in
2000.  Posted. 

The State of the Union, With the Future in Mind. President Obama
focused his State of the Union address on American policies and
priorities that work for the long haul — which is one way to
define sustainable human advancement anywhere. It would be
impossible to talk about a durable path for the country without
talking about pursuing educational excellence, nurturing a
culture of innovation and collaboration and building an energy
menu that can foster progress through this century without
overloading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Posted.

A Legal Defense Fund for Climate Scientists.  For years, climate
scientists have been assailed from many sides — through e-mail
hacking, death threats, politician’s demands for documents,
Freedom of Information requests (many having the strong smell of
a fishing expedition).  A Climate Science Legal Defense Fund set
up last fall has taken on a formal affiliation with Public
Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an established
nonprofit group offering aid and advice to government
whistleblowers and scientists working on environmental issues. 

Obama wants a “clean energy standard.” What does that mean?  In
his State of the Union address, President Obama noted that a
climate bill can’t pass Congress: “The differences in this
chamber may be too deep right now.” But he did ask lawmakers for
“a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation.”
Is that a close substitute? And could it pass?  Various proposals
for a clean energy standard (PDF) have been knocking around the
Senate for years. Posted. 

Tar sands battle continues in California courts. A high-stakes
legal battle is underway in California over whether the state's
clean air agency can enforce a first-ever rule to slash carbon
emissions in transportation fuels. The fight is being closely
watched because the rule could choke global market demand for
Alberta's carbon-intensive oil sands at a very precarious time
for the industry. On Wednesday, the Obama administration rejected
a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which could
have increased imports of the fuel into the U.S. by up to 830,000
barrels a day. Posted.

SoCal Shines Brightest in Solar Rankings. The Bay Area likes to
tout its clean, green reputation, but when it comes to installing
solar, Southern California shines brightest. San Diego and Los
Angeles lead the state in rooftop solar installations, according
to a report released today by Environment California’s Research &
Policy Center. San Jose comes in third with more than 2,700
rooftop installations, while San Francisco comes in fourth with
more than 2,400 (though it’s fifth in terms of overall capacity).

Feds Likely to Catch Up to California on Fuel Economy Standards.
The EPA is pushing new nationwide fuel economy standards that
would bring the nation up to California’s strict standards.
Consumer groups say the EPA's proposed fuel economy standard will
mean you'll pay less at the pump. At a public hearing in San
Francisco today a diverse group of stakeholders lined up to
support the EPA’s proposal to increase the fuel efficiency
standard for cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon.
Posted. http://www.pbs.org/engage/node/61166

Obama blueprint for a US economy “built to last” includes
“all-of-the-above” energy strategy; call for 80% of US
electricity from clean sources by 2035.  President Obama used his
last State-of-the-Union (SOTU) address of his term to outline
four main elements of a blueprint for an “economy that’s built to
last: an economy built on American manufacturing, American
energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American
values.”.  Posted. 

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