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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 2, 2012

Posted: 02 Apr 2012 12:28:04
ARB Newsclips for April 2, 2012

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

Fires cost Forward Landfill $4M. The operators of privately owned
Forward Landfill east of Stockton have agreed to pay $4 million
after multiple fires smoldered in recent years, officials
announced this week. Most of that money will be used to improve
the landfill's methane-gas collection system and to replace
diesel trucks with cleaner vehicles. But the legal settlement
also includes a $200,000 civil penalty, according to the U.S.
Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California. Posted.

UC Riverside creates portable pollution gauge. UC Riverside
engineers showcased new technology that allows researchers,
regulators and vehicle designers to obtain real-time data on how
much pollution a vehicle emits while on the road.  Called PEMS,
for portable emissions measurement systems, the technology allows
researchers to install an onboard computer to essentially any
vehicle, vessel or aircraft and measure how much pollution ends
up in the air.  Unlike existing technology that requires vehicles
and engines to be tested in laboratory simulations, PEMS make it
possible for testers to obtain pollution data that accounts for
road grades, weather and other real- world factors, such as how
aggressive a driver can be while on the road. Posted. 


REGION: Build communities that require exercise. If doctors were
in charge of planning our cities, our cities would look
different. Why? The answer is simple: The epidemic of air
pollution and chronic disease in the Inland Empire is
fundamentally linked to our built environment and dependence on
vehicles. As doctors in Riverside County, we spend most of our
time treating illnesses such as asthma, obesity, diabetes, heart
disease and stroke. These are illnesses that are caused in part
by the double whammy of air pollution and a lack of physical
activity. We see too many children struggling to breathe from
asthma and too many patients die prematurely from these chronic
illnesses. Changing the way we plan our cities can help reduce
this burden of disease. Posted. 

World landmarks dimmed for Earth Hour. Hundreds of world
landmarks from Berlin's Brandenburg Gate to the Great Wall of
China went dark Saturday, part of a global effort to highlight
climate change. Earth Hour, held on the last Saturday of March
every year, began as a Sydney-only event in 2007. The city's
iconic Harbor Bridge and Opera House were dimmed again this year.
Australia is among the first countries to flick off the light
switches each year; in New Zealand, Sky Tower in Auckland and the
parliament buildings in Wellington switched off two hours
earlier; Tokyo Tower was also dimmed and in Hong Kong, buildings
along Victoria Harbour also went dark. All the events take place
at 8:30 p.m. local time. Posted. 


Feds: 'Meterological March madness' mostly random. Freak chance
was mostly to blame for the record warm March weather that
gripped two-thirds of the country, with man-made global warming
getting only a tiny assist, a quick federal analysis shows.  For
much of March, record temperatures hit as high as 35 degrees
above normal and averaged about 18 degrees warmer than usual. The
United States broke or tied at least 7,733 daily high temperature
records in March, which is far more than the number of records
broken in last summer's heat wave or in a blistering July 1995
heat wave, according to federal records. Posted. 


Health impact assessments gain a foothold in oil, gas, mining
permit process; with challenges. While New York regulators have
spent four years mulling the environmental impacts of shale gas
development, the potential human health impacts have been given
short shrift, according to health advocates. Whether gas drilling
impacts health has led to heated debates. Environmentalists and
people living near drilling sites say the risks include
contaminated water wells and air pollution. The industry says
those fears are exaggerated and that the process been used safely
on tens of thousands of wells. Posted. 

Obama, Calderon, Harper talk trade, energy. President Barack
Obama began a summit with leaders from Mexico and Canada on
Monday that aims to boost a fragile recovery and grapple with
thorny energy issues against a backdrop of painfully high gas
prices. The session at the White House is a make-good for a
planned meeting last November in Hawaii on the sidelines of the
Asia-Pacific summit. Obama ended up meeting just with Canadian
Prime Minister Stephen Harper when Mexican President Felipe
Calderon's top deputy was killed in a helicopter crash. Posted. 


Brighter Skies and a Flying Car, Too. THE New York auto show
opens for press previews on Wednesday with spring in the air ó
and not just because of the weather. The North American
automobile market is experiencing a springlike rebirth this year,
with sales up significantly in the first quarter at Chrysler,
Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Toyota. The renewed
optimism will be evident at the show: more high-profile vehicles
will be introduced in New York than in recent memory. These
include important sedans like the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the
upgraded 2013 Lincoln MKZ, a redesigned Nissan Altima, an all-new
Toyota Avalon and a revamped Lexus ES. Posted. 

GM says sales of fuel-efficient cars jumped in March. Look to
General Motors' March sales numbers to see how Americans are
adjusting to higher gas prices. The once truck-centric Detroit
automaker says that combined sales of its 12 vehicles that
achieve an Environmental Protection Agency estimated 30 mpg or
better on the highway topped 100,000 last month, the highest
total in company history. That would represent about 40% of GMís
sales for the month, according to auto price information company
TrueCar.com. GM will release more data Tuesday. Posted. 

India's March Auto Sales Rise. India's top car makers posted
higher March auto sales as customers bought in anticipation of
this month's price increases and as demand for diesel vehicles
continued to grow.  Several auto makers have recently increased
vehicle prices after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on March
16 raised the base excise tax on most Indian-made goods,
including automobiles, to 12% from 10%.  Sales at Maruti Suzuki
India Ltd. gained for a third straight month, touching 125,952
vehicles, up 3% from a year earlier. Local sales for India's
biggest car maker by sales increased 2% to 112,724 units and
exports jumped 15% to 13,228 vehicles. Posted. 

GM adds week to Volt plant's usual summer closure.  General
Motors Co. will suspend production of the Chevrolet Volt for an
extra week this summer as it tries to control the electric car's
inventory. But the company says sales picked up in March to a
record of more than 2,000, and it may cancel the extra week if
sales stay strong. Most auto factories close for two weeks
starting in early July to get updated for the new model year. GM
added a third week at the Volt factory that straddles the border
between Detroit and the small enclave of Hamtramck. The plant was
already closed from March 19 through April 23, as the supply of
Volts grew on dealer lots. About 1,300 workers at the factory
have been idled. Posted. 

Green subsidies boost Japan car sales in March. New vehicle sales
surged 78 percent in Japan in March, supported by government
subsidies for energy efficient cars, the Japan Automobile Dealers
Association said Monday. Sales of new autos totaled 497,959
vehicles in March, up from 279,389 vehicles in the same month a
year earlier, the industry group said. The increase was
exaggerated by the sharp drop in sales after a massive earthquake
and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011, devastating much of coastal
northeastern Japan and killing about 19,000 people. Posted. 


Word on the Street: Lawn-care company goes green. Doug Ambrose's
new lawn-care company prides itself on being good for the
environment. And he isn't just talking about getting rid of the
weeds in your yard. Ambrose created Healthy Air Lawn Care, a
company that uses only battery-powered equipment. Nothing Ambrose
operates to mow a lawn or blow leaves spews harmful pollutants
such as carbon monoxide. Although Ambrose knows he is competing
against a legion of gardeners, he hopes to attract customers who
are concerned about the Valley's poor air quality. Posted. 

Wind turnine to be dedicated in Rancho Cucamonga. The Inland
Empire Utilities Agency this morning dedicated the wind turbine
on Sixth Street in Rancho Cucamonga.  After the dedication
ceremony, officials gave a tour of wind turbine generator.  The
towering wind turbine, measured approximately 265 feet from base
to tip of the blade, will generate 20 percent of the energy
needed to run the wastewater treatment plant on Sixth Street. The
Regional Water Recycling Plant #4 uses a significant amount of
energy to treat an average flow of 5 million gallons every day.

Santander Proves Greenest as No. 2 Bank of America Becomes Solar.
A $1 billion plan to put solar panels on 160,000 U.S.
military-base homes was collapsing in September after a $344
million U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee fell through.
Bank of America Corp. stepped up to finance the effort headed by
SolarCity Corp. of San Mateo, California. Now, the SolarStrong
project is en route to becoming the country's largest residential
solar-energy installation. SolarStrong was Bank of America's
second big bet on sun power in 2011. The Charlotte, North
Carolina-based lender in June provided a $1.4 billion loan to San
Francisco's Prologis Inc. for solar systems on warehouse roofs.
The Energy Department guaranteed 80 percent of the loan. Posted. 


Why Gas Prices Are Out of Any Presidentís Control. EVERYONE knows
itís dangerous to ingest gasoline or to inhale its fumes. But I
am starting to believe that merely thinking about the price of
gasoline can damage cognitive processing. Thus I may be risking
some of my precious few remaining brain cells by writing about
that topic. Here is a one-item test to see whether you are guilty
of cloudy thinking about gas prices: Do you believe that they are
something a president can control? Many Americans believe that
the answer is yes, but any respectable economist will tell you
that the answer is no. Posted. 

Obama still favored in states with high gas prices. There is a
curious relationship between a state's gas prices and
presidential politics: The higher the price of gasoline, the
higher President Obama's prospects of winning that state. Obama's
electoral map to victory bares a remarkable resemblance to a map
of the country's highest gas prices. California, Illinois,
Washington, D.C., and New York -- all solidly Democratic -- are
among the costliest for gas. Wyoming, Montana, Oklahoma and Utah
-- where Lyndon Johnson was the last Democrat to win the
presidential vote -- are among the cheapest. An analysis by the
California News Service shows that 20 of the 22 states that voted
against Obama in 2008 have gas prices that fall below the
national average. Posted. 

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