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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 29, 2012.

Posted: 29 Mar 2012 13:02:26
ARB Newsclips for March 29, 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.


Local air pollution board OKs limits on greenhouse gases.
One-year program sets thresholds requiring largest developments
to cut back emissions. A sharply divided air pollution control
board Wednesday narrowly approved limits on greenhouse-gas
emissions from new development in San Luis Obispo County. In a 6
to 5 vote, the county Air Pollution Control District board
established a one-year test program that sets thresholds
requiring large developments to reduce their emissions. Posted.


Korea researchers propose energy-efficient oxidative
desulfurization process for ultra-low sulfur diesel.  A team from
the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) has developed a new
three-step continuous separation process to produce ultra-low
sulfur diesel using an energy-efficient oxidative desulfurization
(ODS) technology. A report on their work is published in the ACS
journal Energy & Fuels.  Governments worldwide are mandating
lower caps on sulfur content in fuels for environmental reasons.


Is it cheaper to switch to lower-grade gas? With fuel prices on
the rise, some drivers are pumping less-expensive regular-grade
gasoline into cars for which premium fuel is recommended.
Although that might save money initially, auto experts are
divided on the wisdom of such a strategy, which some say could
end up costing you more. What you save at the pump can be lost on
the road as the electronics in the engine ratchet down
performance to deal with the lower-grade fuel, experts say. Using
the cheaper gas might also damage the vehicle over a long period.

Activists worry over North Sea platform gas leak. Environmental
groups warned Thursday they fear an oil spill could be triggered
at a North Sea offshore platform that has been leaking highly
pressurized gas since the weekend. A flame is still burning in
the stack above the Elgin platform, which stands about 150 miles
(240 kilometers) off the coast of Aberdeen, eastern Scotland,
after a leak of flammable gas Sunday_ prompting all 238 staff to
be evacuated on Monday. Posted. 


Brown administration, bullet train board seek to ease
environmental reviews of the project. Environmental groups that
have joined discussions on relaxing reviews say they'll support
small-scale concessions but not wholesale exemptions.
California's bullet train authority and representatives of the
Brown administration are exploring ways to relax environmental
review procedures on the massive project to help meet a tight
construction schedule, The Times has learned. Posted.

EVs make sense in cities already today.  Electric cars and
electric bikes have a great potential to make cities cleaner,
with B2B fleets having the crucial role of leading their market
adoption in the short to medium term. This was among the main
messages emerging from EV Forums, which brought more than 200
experts together on 21-22 March 2012 in Barcelona. cars21.com, as
lead media partner, reports on the event.  EVs make sense in
cities already today. Posted. 


San Onofre nuclear power plant prohibited from restarting. The
Nuclear Regulatory Commission lays out steps that Southern
California Edison must take before the troubled San Onofre plant
will be allowed to come back on line. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, citing serious concerns about equipment failures at
the San Onofre nuclear power plant, has prohibited Southern
California Edison from restarting the plant until the problems
are thoroughly understood and fixed. Posted.


L.A. can't explain $7 million in fuel bills. Controller's audit
finds that millions of gallons of taxpayer-funded city fuel was
pumped in recent years with no record of where it went. Despite a
concerted effort at Los Angeles City Hall to track the use of
taxpayer-purchased fuel, more than $7 million in gasoline and
other fuel has gone missing in recent years, according to an
audit to be released Thursday. At dozens of city fueling sites,
millions of gallons of fuel was pumped without any record of
where it went, the audit showed. Posted.


New Rules for New Power Plants. Power plants account for about 40
percent of America’s global warming emissions — with the bulk of
that coming from coal-fired plants. On Tuesday, the Obama
administration took another important step for public health and
the environment, proposing the first nationwide limits on carbon
dioxide from new power plants. If approved, the new limits will
accelerate the shift from coal to natural gas and cleaner
alternative fuels. Posted. 

A small step forward for Earth. In an election year, any progress
on environmental regulation is cause for celebration. So when the
Obama administration on Tuesday released its long-delayed
proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants,
there was reason for anyone concerned about public health or the
looming climate menace to cheer — even though it won't shut down
a single existing coal-fired plant. Power plants are the nation's
biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. Posted.

REGION: Scary link between smog and women’s strokes. Did you see
the story last week by my colleague David Danelski about two
recent studies showing that older women in areas with high air
pollution levels have a greater risk of suffering a stroke? If
you are a woman of a certain age in Riverside and San Bernardino
counties, you had to be dismayed by more bad news about what smog
is doing to our health. You can’t help but wonder, “Why am I
living here?” Posted. 

Coastal California Fog Carries Toxic Mercury, Study Finds. Fog
blankets the coast of central California each summer, hydrating
the region’s majestic redwood trees and chilling beachgoers. New
research out of the University of California, Santa Cruz shows
that the moist air also carries methylmercury, an especially
toxic form of the heavy metal mercury. “Is it dangerous to
breathe the fog? Of course not — we’re talking very low levels,”
said Peter Weiss-Penzias, a chemist and the lead author of the
study, published in the latest issue of the journal Geophysical
Research Letters. Posted. 

Zipcar launches Chevy Volt-sharing service in Chicago. Longtime
Saturday Night Live fans will fondly recall a number of skits in
which a group of Chicago sports fans referred to their hometown
football team as "Da Bears." Now, they'll have "Da Volt." U.S.
car-sharing leader Zipcar will start making Chevrolet Volt
extended-range plug-in hybrids available to Windy City customers
as part of a program with the city of Chicago that will involve
the installment of "hundreds" of electric-vehicle chargers
throughout the city. Zipcar, which will charge $10 an hour for
the cars… Posted. 

EPA Takes a Key Step towards a Cleaner, Healthier Future. The
Obama Administration and EPA announcement that it will establish
the first national limits on carbon pollution from new power
plants is great news for anyone that cares about clean air. No
longer will new power plants be able to endanger our health with
unchecked carbon pollution and the climate change it causes. It's
also good news for Latinos. Carbon pollution fuels global warming
which causes more severe heat waves and worsens smog pollution

‘Absolute Black’ Solar Panels Absorb Almost All Sunlight. Solar
power is one of those technologies that have been promised to be
just a few years from profitability for 30 years. Solar panels
are an environmentalist’s dream — limitless electricity from the
sun with no air pollution or carbon dioxide emissions — but
they’ve had a hard time competing with coal, natural gas, oil and
other sources of energy. Posted.

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