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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 8, 2012.

Posted: 08 Mar 2012 12:57:32
ARB Newsclips for March 8, 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.


NY town gets grant to study industrial pollution. Tonawanda, N.Y.
— The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $100,000
grant to help the town of Tonawanda address the health risks
posed by the numerous air-polluting facilities in the area. The
community near Buffalo has 53 industrial facilities, including a
coke plant, two petroleum distribution terminals, multiple
chemical storage terminals, and a coal-burning power plant.


California Takes the Lead. With New Climate Initiatives. Long
ahead of the rest of the U.S. on environmental policy, California
is taking bold steps to tackle climate change — from committing
to dramatic reductions in emissions, to establishing a
cap-and-trade system, to mandating an increase in zero-emission
vehicles. The bottom line, say state officials, is to foster an
economy where sustainability is profitable. Posted.

Soot a Culprit in Glacial Melt. New research confirms theories
about how so-called black carbon contributes to climate change.
Soot from fossil fuels is causing snow packs, glaciers and ice
sheets to absorb heat and melt more quickly, Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory researchers have confirmed. Soot, also called
black carbon, is produced when fossil fuels are burned
inefficiently. Major sources include coal power plants, cooking
stoves and vehicles, particularly those powered by diesel. Forest
fires also produce soot. Posted.


Oil giant BP sued over dirty gas sales shipped to Martinez. Tens
of millions of gallons of gasoline that did not meet California's
clean fuel specifications was delivered to Martinez and sold
across the state by petroleum giant BP, state regulators said in
a lawsuit filed Wednesday. The company submitted documents over a
four-month period to regulators that said gasoline refined in
Washington and shipped to Contra Costa County contained
permissible levels of toxic and cancer-causing compounds,
including benzene, when, in fact, the fuel failed to meet state
standards, the lawsuit says. Posted.

Virdia Gets Funding to Turn Wood Into Sugars for Biofuel Makers. 
Virdia Inc., a closely held biotechnology company, is planning
its first commercial plant in Mississippi to convert wood into
sugars that can used to produce transportation fuel, nutritional
products and specialty chemicals.  The state agreed to provide a
$75 million loan and $155 million in tax incentives, Redwood
City, California-based Virdia said today in a statement. The
company hasn’t decided on the location for the plant, which is
expected to go into production in 2014. Posted. 

EU Carbon Market Has Become ‘Residual’ in Power, IHS CERA Says.
The European Union carbon market, the world’s biggest by traded
volume, has become “residual” in power generation because of
national renewable energy policies in the bloc, said IHS CERA,
the energy adviser. “The emissions trading system has become a
residual market for carbon abatement in the power sector,” Fabien
Roques, director at the unit of Englewood, Colorado-based IHS
Inc. Posted.

Green car fan Arnie urges stronger push for low emissions.
Governments, carmakers and drivers must push for progress in
green vehicle technology to help the environment, and global
economic woes make it even more important to up the pressure,
politician, actor and green car advocate Arnold Schwarzenegger
said. But factors including "range-anxiety" for electric cars -
the fear of running out of battery far from a charging point -
and high price tags mean in some cases they are not yet selling
in the high numbers manufacturers hoped for. Posted.


Honda wants dealers to have natural gas fuel stations. Honda, the
only automaker selling compressed natural gas-powered cars in the
U.S., wants some of its dealers to also install fueling station
pumps to sell CNG. Honda has said it wants to double sales of its
Civic Natural Gas sedans this year to 4,000, and greater CNG
acceptance is going to require more public fueling stations,
Steve Center, U.S. VP for environmental business development,
said in an interview. Honda is negotiating with state regulators
in California...Posted.
City To Add Electric Vehicle Outlets to Local Lots.  The Santa
Barbara City Council voted Tuesday afternoon to install six
modern electric vehicle charging stations in three downtown
parking structures for vehicles including the Nissan Leaf and
Chevy Volt.  Coulomb Technologies will provide the city with six
“ChargePoint” stations located in downtown parking lots Six and
Seven and the Helena Avenue Lot. Posted. 


Japan Shutting Down Its Nuclear Power Industry. OHI, Japan — All
but two of Japan’s 54 commercial reactors have gone off line
since the nuclear disaster a year ago, following the earthquake
and tsunami, and it is not clear when they can be restarted. With
the last operating reactor scheduled to be idled as soon as next
month, Japan — once one of the world’s leaders in atomic energy —
will have at least temporarily shut down an industry that once
generated a third of its electricity. Posted.

As gas prices soar, studies tout energy efficiency. As gasoline
prices soar, two new studies today highlight the nation's
financial and environmental savings from an often overlooked
source in the energy sector: efficiency. Current efficiency
standards for appliances, lighting and other equipment will save
the United States the equivalent of two years of energy use or
$1.1. trillion by 2035 and slash greenhouse gas emissions,
concludes …Posted.

Hello, sunshine: Palo Alto utility to pay locals for solar
energy. Green energy may be losing momentum inside the Beltway.
But officials in the heart of Silicon Valley are betting on the
sun. This week, the Palo Alto City Council approved a plan to buy
clean power from local utility customers who install solar panels
on their roofs. That’s right. The power company will pay them,
not the other way around. The arrangement – known by the clunky
name “feed-in tariff” – is still a rarity in the United States.
But Palo Alto officials want to help pioneer the effort. Posted.


REXPO focuses on business, recycling in Stockton.  Improving the
regional environment - both in terms of cleaning the air and
water as well as strengthening the economy and job market - is
the aim of REXPO 8 Unplugged, the annual recycling, conservation
and trade show planned for Wednesday in Stockton.  There will
also be two panel discussions. One will focus on efforts to
increase recycled-content manufacturing in California, while the
second seeks a balance between improving the environment while
also creating new business opportunities.  California EPA
Secretary Matt Rodriquez will give the keynote luncheon talk, and
state Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen, a Modesto Republican, is the
day's opening speaker.  Posted. 


CARB misses the point with Harris solution. When an old,
polluting diesel truck is replaced with a newer, cleaner truck,
our air quality improves. Period. The California Air Resources
Board needs to grasp that fact in its handling of truck
replacement funds for a valley business. Instead, the board is
refusing to honor an agreement to help replace seven old diesel
trucks owned by Harris Ranch, a large-scale cattle operation 100
miles north of Bakersfield. The ranch had plans to replace the
big rigs with new ones and get half the cost of each truck
covered by a state air quality grant program. Posted.

Blowing dust prompts health advisory. Why were Bakersfield
residents' respiratory issues acting up Tuesday? The answer -- as
it has often been during this dry, dusty winter -- was blowing in
the wind. Gusty conditions and flying particulate matter
throughout the valley, including much of Kern County, prompted
officials to issue a health cautionary statement Tuesday,
advising people to avoid prolonged exposure to dust. Posted.

Obama in a Plaid Sportscoat: Have I Got A Deal For You! President
Obama is still determined to put more electric cars on the road,
even if most American consumers seem reluctant to buy one. So
like any good car salesman, he’s putting more money on the hood.
Obama wants Congress to increase the tax credit available for
electric cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf from the
current $7,500 to $10,000. And, instead of waiting until tax time
to collect, he wants the rebate to kick in at the time of
purchase. Posted.

Is This the Spark Green Vehicles Need? Don’t like electric cars?
No problem, the White House plans to pony up big bucks to help
you buy the (clean, green) vehicle of your choice. And it doesn’t
have to be electric. President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled
his new “All-of-the-Above Approach to American Energy.” The plan
would raise the current $7,500 incentive for buying an electric
car to $10,000 and — more important — extend it to any vehicle
that runs on alternative fuels. Posted.


U.K., Ever Reliant on Gas, May Have Supply Strangled. The U.K.
seems to be going down the road of greater dependence on natural
gas, just as a key import source of the commodity dries up. This
could leave the country, where industry is already struggling to
remain competitive and households’ spending power is falling,
facing 50% higher natural-gas prices next winter, analysts
warned. Posted.

Why cities can’t tackle global warming on their own. Whenever
global warming drops off Congress’s radar, some environmentalists
point out the real action is occurring locally, anyway. Some 500
U.S. mayors have signed pledges to reduce carbon emissions.
Berkeley, for one, promises an 80 percent cut by 2050. But do
these plans actually do anything? Not really, it turns out. Nate
Berg points to an intriguing new paper in the Journal of Urban
Economics by McGill’s Adam Millard-Ball that finds two things.

What Makes Gasoline Prices Go Up? Energy Information
Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly. The United States
exported more petroleum products than it imported last year. On
the day after Super Tuesday, the federal Energy Information
Administration came out with a striking fact: in 2011, the United
States, for the first time since 1949, exported more petroleum
products than it imported. On the big primary voting day, the
same agency delivered news that might be even more relevant to
current campaign oratory:.. Posted.

With Energy Department’s Encouragement, Ford, G.M. and Ram Unveil
Natural Gas Pickups.  Speaking here this week at the Green Truck
Summit, an event held in conjunction with the Work Truck Show,
Steven Chu, the head of the Energy Department, called on
commercial fleet owners to consider converting their vehicles to
run on natural gas, which he characterized as a “no-brainer”
alternative to gasoline and diesel.  “We want to diversify our
source of transportation energy,” Mr. Chu said. Posted. 

Postcard from a Solar Rooftop.  Billy Parish is a longtime
contact from the network of young activists working to build an
energy menu for America that works for the long haul. I first
encountered him at the climate treaty talks in Montreal in 2005
and included his views in a piece on climate rhetoric and reality
in 2006.  We disagree on some things, but agree on the
unsustainable nature of business as usual. Posted. 

Electronic Arts to bring SimCity back in 2013. The game franchise
that first defined the city-building genre in 1989 will be
re-released next year as a multi-player online computer game,
developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts Inc. This
time, however, SimCity has an environmental theme, a la “An
Inconvenient Truth," the 2006 documentary about Al Gore's
campaign to educate the public about global warming. In SimCity,
a fetish for coal burning plants in one city can spread smog and
sickness in adjacent cities run by other players, for example. 

Seven Teenagers Take the Federal Government to Court to Stop
Climate Change.  Seven teenagers set a new precedent for
environmental action in May 2011 by suing the federal government
for not taking measures against climate change. They claim that
the government’s policies regarding climate change are
squandering natural resources.  The young plaintiffs, led by
17-year-old Alec Loorz, filed a total of 10 suits against the
federal government and individual states under the public trust… 

Carbon Motors' $310 million DOE loan for police-car production
rejected.  Carbon Motors, maker of the purpose-built E7 police
car, won't receive the $310 million in U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) loans under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing
(ATVM) program that it applied for almost three years ago, and
said that it's a victim of politics.  "We are outraged by the
actions of the DOE and it is clear that this was a political
decision in a highly-charged, election year environment," Carbon
Motors William Santana Li said in a statement. The company added
that it was "actively examining its strategic and financing
alternatives."  Posted. 

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