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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for February 3, 2012. Posted: 03 Feb 2012 13:56:11
ARB Newsclips for February 3, 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. AIR POLLUTION First Energy gets boost from closing coal plants. Instead of complaining about clean air rules, maybe utilities should cheer them. Sometimes, the rules lead to big gains. First Energy, a utility based in Ohio, got such a boost Thursday, a week after the company announced it would close six coal-fired plants, blaming new federal rules aimed at slowing emissions of mercury and other toxins. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_UTILITIES_PROFITING_FROM_CLOSURES?SITE=PASUN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT AP Newsbreaks http://www.modbee.com/2012/02/02/2052864/first-energy-gets-boost-from-closing.html SUBSCRIPTION ONLY http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/02/2707455/first-energy-gets-boost-from-closing.html#storylink=misearch VEHICLES High-speed rail tapped state funds for unusual lobbying contract. Taxpayer money used to hire PR firm to solicit support of lawmakers. In an extremely unusual use of taxpayer money, the leaders behind California's $99 billion high-speed train quietly hired a lobbyist to sway the Legislature -- the same politicians who appointed them to build the project in the first place. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/california-high-speed-rail/ci_19881156?source=rss Stockton truck plant grows. Electric Vehicles International is expanding its Stockton assembly plant and has opened a Michigan office to support national marketing and sales efforts, company officials announced this week. A visit to the plant on Army Court north of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard revealed computerized machine tools being installed and a 30,000-square-foot plant expansion being readied for an assembly line where EVI will produce electric-powered, walk-in vans for delivery giant UPS. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120202/A_BIZ/202020318&cid=sitesearch Hyundai reveals details of its Hybrid lifetime battery guarantee. Hyundai today shared details of its Lifetime Hybrid Battery Replacement Guarantee, expanding the benefits of Hyundai Assurance, the industry’s most comprehensive warranty program. Initially announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month, the Hybrid Battery Replacement Guarantee applies to all U.S. 2012 model year Sonata Hybrids and is the first-of-its-kind in the industry. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/2/hyundai-reveals-details-its-hybrid-lifetime-batter/ GREEN ENERGY Feds: Mid-Atlantic wind farms take step forward. The view off the mid-Atlantic shore in the next decade could include giant wind turbines generating electricity for homes in several states if federal efforts to speed approval for the projects shave years off the process as officials intend. It usually takes at least five years from the time contractors say they want to lease a site to the turbines being installed, an offshore wind developer official said. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/environment/offshore-wind-farms-along-mid-atlantic-closer-to-reality-after-positive-environmental-review/2012/02/02/gIQAk3OmkQ_story.html http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/feds-mid-atlantic-wind-farms-take-step-forward/article_ecb2c6cf-6100-5b1b-a744-59b7046d9153.html#ixzz1lLGjA57U http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/02/2707016/salazar-mid-atlantic-wind-farms.html#storylink=misearch Energy mythbusting: The truth about those energy-saving tips. You've read the energy-saving tips. You've armed yourself with caulk. You're ready to do some serious damage to your gas and electric bills. Not so fast. Some common recommendations for cutting energy use don't save as much as we're led to believe, said Michael Blasnik, a building-science consultant from the Boston area. Blasnik analyzes and evaluates energy efficiency claims, and he's found that some widely cited savings don't hold up to scrutiny. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/03/2708164/energy-mythbusting-the-truth-about.html#storylink=misearch Could Cheap Gas Slow Growth Of Renewable Energy? The boom in cheap natural gas in this country is good news for the environment, because relatively clean gas is replacing dirty coal-fired power plants. But in the long run, cheap natural gas could slow the growth of even cleaner sources of energy, such as wind and solar power. Natural gas has a bad rap in some parts of the country, because the process of fracking is not popular. But many people looking at cheap natural gas from the global perspective see it as a good thing. Posted. http://www.npr.org/2012/02/02/146297284/could-cheap-gas-slow-growth-of-renewable-energy MISCELLANEOUS Environmental groups laud Calif. pesticide chief. Environmental groups are applauding the naming of a former conservation official as California's new chief pesticide regulator. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Brian Leahy on Thursday to head the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Leahy is the former assistant director at the California Department of Conservation, as well as a former organic farmer. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/03/BAL61N2F8O.DTL House panel bans high-speed rail funding in transportation bill. A key House panel late Thursday gave the back of its hand to California's embattled high-speed rail program. In another sign of the project's political travails, the House committee writing a massive transportation bill included an amendment that prohibits new federal funds from going to the state's proposed $98 billion project during the five-year life of the bill. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/03/2708318/house-panel-bans-high-speed-rail.html Forest industries of Amador, Calaveras getting $16 million boost. Economically depressed Amador and Calaveras counties are about to receive millions of dollars in forest-restoration funding from the federal government. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Thursday a 10-year commitment of up to $16 million to revive the health of forest-related industries on national forest lands in the two counties. The Cornerstone Project in the headwaters of the Mokelumne, Calaveras, Stanislaus and Cosumnes rivers will receive $730,000 this year. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120203/A_NEWS/202030315&cid=sitesearch OPINIONS In the House, a transportation train wreck. House Republicans are playing games again by introducing a thoroughly partisan transportation bill. After Congress pushed the nation to the verge of catastrophe last year by delaying a deal to raise the debt ceiling until the eleventh hour, our capacity to be surprised by that body's irresponsible gamesmanship was somewhat diminished. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-transportation-20120203,0,6231861.story Fran Pavley and Dan Logue agree on AB 32, sort of. Re "Brown's backdoor tax hike is a business shakedown," (Viewpoints, Jan. 31): It's not often that Assemblymember Dan Logue and I agree. But in his recent opinion piece on AB 32, California's clean, secure energy law, he makes a simple point worth restating: carbon pollution fees must be used to reduce carbon pollution. The California Supreme Court, in Sinclair Paint v. State Board of Equalization, found that the California Constitution forbids unrestrained spending of polluter's fees. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/02/v-print/4234542/response-on-assemblymember-logue.html Head to Head: Are California's emission rules for new cars reasonable? THE ISSUE: The California Air Resources Board last week approved sweeping new vehicle efficiency rules requiring, among other things, that 15 percent of cars sold in the Golden State by 2025 are "zero-emission vehicles," such as a plug-in electric. Are California's emission rules for new cars reasonable? CARB's mandate that one in seven new cars sold by 2025 be "zero-emission" is utopian public policy fueled by green fantasies housed in a frame of pure crony capitalism. But think of the savings! Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/02/v-print/4232665/are-californias-emission-rules.html Can Californians afford cleaner cars? The California Air Resources Board has pushed the envelope yet again. The most aggressive clean air rule-making body in the country unanimously approved regulations last week that mandate car manufacturers cut smog emissions from new vehicles by 75 percent by 2025 and greenhouse gases by 34 percent. To produce that level of emission reductions, CARB has set an ambitious target. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2012/02/02/2052951/can-californians-afford-cleaner.html SUBSCRIPTION ONLY EDITORIAL: The U.N.’s new, big, scary report. The United Nations is raising the alarm that unless the world’s governments take drastic action to impose strict development controls, humanity is in grave peril. So what else is new? On Jan. 30, the U.N. High-level Panel on Global Sustainability issued a report entitled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing.” Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/2/the-uns-new-big-scary-report// Why aren't we paying attention to Shai Agassi? New boss needs to be the same as old boss, only cleaner. Some people spend a lot of time lamenting that early in the last century, electric vehicles lost the race to petroleum-fueled models, that the past somehow irrevocably broke the future. The fact of the matter is, the future isn't broken. It will just be different, as the future always is. Posted. http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120202/GREEN/120209974 BLOGS Federal Government Opens More Ocean to Wind Projects. Enthusiasm for offshore wind projects may have cooled among developers in the United States these days, but the Obama administration is still trying to make a ribbon of wind farms off the Atlantic Coast a reality. On Thursday, Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, and Tommy P. Beaudreau, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said the government had completed an environmental review and found that selling leases for wind energy …Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/federal-government-opens-more-ocean-to-wind-projects/?scp=2&sq=green%20energy&st=cse The worst air pollution in the world. You may think the air is bad in Los Angeles, but researchers say it's worse in India and Bangladesh. A new study released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, found that India had the worst air pollution in the world, followed by Bangladesh and Nepal. The United States ties with a slew of other countries for first place, including Japan and Argentina. Other interesting tidbits from the rankings include: Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/02/worst-air-pollution-in-the-world.html With the notable exception of the Tesla Roadster, electric cars and hybrids have rarely been seen as sexy. Take the Nissan Leaf. Cute? Yes. Cool? Yes, in that dig-my-new-smartphone way. Sexy? Not a chance. But perhaps that isn’t the fault of the cars so much as the way we think of them. We focus on their eco credentials, their benefits to the environment, their ability to save us money at the gas pump. It doesn’t even occur to most of us that these cars could be considered sexy. Posted. http://blog.sfgate.com/energy/2012/02/03/bikinis-and-evs/ Insurance Industry Awakening to Climate Risks. California will require all major insurers to survey and report climate risks. Insurance commissioners in three states, including California, are now requiring that insurers report on how they’re preparing for climate change. Insurers will fill out a survey, which was adopted by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2009, but was never implemented by commissioners in all fifty states. Instead, it’s been a piecemeal approach. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/02/02/insurance-industry-awakening-to-climate-risks/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29 AB 32 was not Intended to be a Revenue Raiser. This weekend, Gov. Jerry Brown proclaimed that revenue from the cap-and-trade system under AB 32 will go toward the construction of California’s High Speed Rail project. AB 32 was not intended to be a revenue raiser for the state of California. We dug up then-Assembly Speaker (and bill author) …Posted. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2012/02/ab-32-was-not-intended-to-be-a-revenue-raiser/ DOE's David Sandalow defends Obama's auto record. One of the differences between the Washington Auto Show and car shows in other cities is the almost overwhelming appearance of politicians and government officials. Whether they come to learn or to lecture (or both), these folks create a well-worn trail from the Hill to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center every January. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/03/does-david-sandalow-defends-obamas-auto-record/