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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for February 10, 2012

Posted: 10 Feb 2012 14:20:22
ARB Newsclips for February 10, 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.


AEP Reduces Coal-Fired Plants It Will Shut Because of EPA Rules.
American Electric Power Co. (AEP), the largest U.S. coal
consumer, reduced by 13 percent the amount of coal-fired
generation it will shut because of new environmental regulations,
saying it may get state support to spend $940 million to keep a
Kentucky unit operating. The company still plans to close power
plants with about 5,138 megawatts of capacity, Chief Executive
Officer Nick Akins said at an investor conference in New York
today. Posted.


California eyes dividends, deficit cuts from cap-and-trade.
Revenue raised by California's greenhouse-gas emissions trading
program could be distributed to state residents to offset higher
fuel costs or used to reduce the state's projected deficits, a
state budget watchdog agency said on Thursday. "Our analysis
indicates that such revenues could be returned directly to
Californians - …Posted.


Safety regulators probe Camry fires; Nissan recalls Versa.
Federal safety regulators have launched an investigation into the
cause of fires in 2007 model  year Toyota Camry sedans and RAV-4
sport-utility vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration opened the probe after receiving six complaints of
fires starting in the driver’s side door of the vehicles. The
agency said that it appears that the fires are starting in the
power window master switch on the door. The agency said it is
looking at about 830,000 vehicles. Posted.

Obama administration reiterates support for California High-Speed
Rail. Continuing his push for the California High-Speed Rail,
Gov. Jerry Brown met Thursday with U.S. Transportation Secretary
Ray LaHood, who said President Obama remains committed to the
project. “High-Speed Rail is a key step in modernizing our
transportation system and will create much needed and good paying
jobs,” Brown said in a prepared statement released after the
meeting. Posted.

Auto Recyclers Challenged on Potentially Toxic Waste. In Oakland
and Redwood City, industrial shredders the size of department
stores grind thousands of junked automobiles into fist-sized
scraps, loading the lumps onto waiting ships to become fodder for
a global recycling industry. But as the “green steel” goes out to
sea, the leftovers — pulverized seat cushions, insulation and
grime, collectively known in the shredding industry as “auto
fluff” — are trucked to regional landfills. Posted.


Wind Tower Makers in U.S. Hurt by China Imports, Panel Finds.
U.S. makers of wind towers such as Broadwind Energy Inc. are
being harmed by cheaper imports from China and Vietnam, a trade
panel ruled in the first step toward imposing tariffs on the
shipments.  The U.S. International Trade Commission voted today
in a preliminary ruling on a petition from the Wind Tower Trade
Coalition asking the Obama administration to impose anti-dumping
and countervailing duties. Posted.

APNewsBreak: White House report says green energy loans could
cost government $3B. Washington — An independent review finds the
government could lose about $3 billion on Energy Department loans
for green energy programs — far less than the $10 billion
Congress set aside for the high-risk program. The White House
ordered the review after criticism of a $528 million loan to
Solyndra Inc., a solar company that went bankrupt. Posted.

Merced Irrigation District questions state's green energy costs,
requirements. State mandate has companies looking at timing of
contracts. Worries that the state's evolving renewable energy
requirements will translate into unbearable rate increases for
consumers have been eased somewhat by recent government studies.
The cost of buying renewable energy decreased 30 percent from
2009 to 2011, according to the most recent quarterly report
issued by the California Public Utilities Commission. Posted.


Inspectors find no asbestos at San Marcos school debris site. An
inspector with the county Air Pollution Control District found no
asbestos at a debris site that had parents at a San Marcos
elementary school concerned for their children's safety. "That
was very good news," said John Adams, the compliance chief with
the district. Although the inspection found the site apparently
safe, the head of the Air Pollution Control District said he
wondered why the district decided to put the debris so near an
elementary school. Posted. 

California sets trends in health regulation. Beyond skateboards,
Silicon Valley and hippies, California has a trendsetting streak
of a different kind. The state has been first to pass major
public health initiatives that have spread throughout the
country. California was first to require smog checks for clean
air, pass anti-tobacco initiatives and bike helmets laws. While
these laws were met with skepticism and ridicule, they've often
become standard practice in other states. Posted.


The green jobs debate: A boon or a bust for the economy? Jonah
Goldberg took President Obama to task in an August column about
green jobs. “[T]he windfall in green jobs,” he wrote,  “has
always been a con job.” The record in America has been no better,
Obama's campaign stump speeches notwithstanding. The New York
Times, which has been touting the green agenda in its news pages
for years, admitted last week that "federal and state efforts to
stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government
records show." Posted.

Four Things You Should Know about High-Speed Rail. If all goes
according to plan, San Diegans will one day be able to board a
bullet train and get to points north much more quickly than they
can now by car or Amtrak. Los Angeles would be closer than 90
minutes away, while riders could reach the Bay Area within just a
few hours. But that day won't be next year. Or five years from
now. Or sometime in the 2020s. In fact, it'll be several decades
before San Diegans get a piece of the high-speed action. Posted.

Has the Earth's Missing Heat Been Found? NASA climate scientist
Jim Hansen and colleagues weigh in on the missing heat issue. In
2009 Kevin Trenberth, of the National Center for Atmospheric
Research, raised the issue of missing heat in a paper (PDF)
titled "An Imperative for Climate Change Planning: Tracking
Earth's Global Energy." In principle, the excess heat trapped in
the Earth as a result of greenhouse gases must show up somewhere
on the Earth as heat; and, given its large heat capacity, we
expect most of that heat to end up in the ocean. Posted.

This 'n that. Those who believe in global warming and its
doomsday implications got a reality check Feb. 9. The science
journal Nature offered the first comprehensive study of the
world’s glaciers and ice caps, and one of its conclusions has
shocked scientists (and, concurrently, global warmers). Using
GRACE, a pair of orbiting satellites racing around the planet at
an altitude of 300 miles, it has concluded that the Himalayas
have barely melted at all in the past 10 years. Posted.


A Carbon Allowance in Every Pot. Imagine carbon allowances as a
playground commodity, like the marbles and baseball cards of
earlier generations. That’s a subset of an idea from Ian Gough, a
researcher at the London School of Economics. Citing the failure
of international climate change policy to achieve results, he
proposed a different approach in a recent article, arguing that
the distribution and trade of personal carbon allowances —Posted.

Tesla Unveils Model X at Its Southern California Design Studios.
On Thursday, Tesla Motors unveiled a prototype of its third
vehicle, the Model X, here at the company’s design studios. Elon
Musk, the chief executive of the electric-vehicle start-up, said
the crossover-like car would enter production in late 2013. “This
is kind of the killer app for families,” Mr. Musk said of the X
in an interview after a preview for media. Posted. 

Nuclear Power vs. Natural Gas. When critics say nuclear power is
risky, they often mean the risk of an accident. But people in the
nuclear industry say that the bigger threat is natural gas. To
look like a smart move, the $14 billion nuclear project
undertaken by the Southern Company and its partners must meet
several challenges, including actually completing the job for
that figure, always a question in nuclear construction. But for
the 104 nuclear reactors now running in this country, and for
many of the ones that have retired, the big issue has always been
the price of electricity from competing sources. Posted. 

California cap-and-trade money should be spent carefully, analyst
says. California's experiment in combating global warming by
creating a cap-and-trade program could generate more than $12
billion a year in revenue, but officials can't rely on that
windfall to fix the state's fiscal problems, according to a new
report. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said the
amount of money generated by auctions of credits allowing
polluters to release greenhouse gases would vary wildly, from
less than $1 billion to $14 billion in some years. Posted.

State Analyst: Cap & Trade Plan Good as Far as it Goes. A
non-partisan analysis of California’s recently approved
cap-and-trade program says state regulators at the Air Resources
Board (CARB) did a decent job of balancing competing directives,
but warns that legislators need to start thinking about what
happens after the program runs its course, less than a decade
from now. “The legislature and the Air Board need to provide some
certainty of what the regulatory landscape will look like after
2020, Posted.

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