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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 20, 2012.

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 14:26:27
ARB Newsclips for April 20, 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.


Asbestos probe: No conspiracy. Activists convinced that the
Hunters Point Shipyard development is a threat to the health of
its neighbors have lost another battle with the government. An
investigation by the FBI and the inspector general of the federal
Environmental Protection Agency found "no evidence that an EPA
employee conspired with the (San Francisco Department of Public
Health) and Lennar Corp. to conceal asbestos exposure at the ...
site," a summary of the report, released earlier this month,
states. The inspector general "recommended no further action and
now considers this matter closed." Posted.

California Air Pollution: Report Shows Decrease In 'Unhealthy
Air'. California air pollution reached unhealthy levels less
often in 2011 than a decade ago, according to a report released
this week by a state association of regional air district
officers. Compared with 2000, there were about 74 percent fewer
days of "unhealthy air" statewide last year, data from the report
[PDF] showed. Air quality can range from "good" to "very
unhealthy," and it is calculated based on local monitoring of
four air pollutants regulated by the federal Clean Air Act.

Air officials scale back offer to replace fireworks with lasers.
San Joaquin Valley air quality officials on Thursday approved a
scaled-back version of a plan to coax communities to drop
fireworks displays in favor of nonpolluting laser-light shows
this Fourth of July. The original plan was to offer $250,000 to
communities willing to make the change. But Valley Air Pollution
Control District board members felt there wasn't enough
information yet on how well the program would be received and
what the health benefits would be from reducing fireworks
pollution. Posted.


California carbon soars 14 pct as new buyer enters-Point Carbon.
California carbon allowances (CCAs) for delivery in 2013 hit
their highest price this year, gaining $1.85/tonne from the
previous week to close at $15.50/t on Thursday, on the back of
new buying, market sources said. A total of 245,000 CCAs changed
hands this week on the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), making it
the busiest week for allowance trading so far this year. Posted.

Showing Polar Ice Melting, TV Program Is Silent on Why. “Frozen
Planet,” the seven-hour series that has attracted millions of
viewers to the Discovery Channel in recent weeks, shows Earth in
extremis. On this planet, the poles are violently cold, yet are
also atypically vulnerable to the warming trends that are
endangering polar bear populations and causing huge chunks of ice
to break off Greenland and Antarctica. Posted.


NASA's Greenest Building Unveiled at Moffett Field. NASA's newest
building at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, has won
the distinction of being certified as the nation's "greenest"
federal building. Known as "Sustainability Base," the
50,000-square-foot, two-story office building is visually
stunning: Sunlight streams through skylights, windows actually
open, and the office floor plan has scrapped private offices in
favor of open spaces that encourage teamwork and collaboration. 

VENTURE FUNDING RISES IN SAN DIEGO. Investments in clean-tech
firm, life sciences lead way. San Diego startup companies hauled
in more venture capital in the first quarter than the prior year,
bucking the national trend of declining funding for young firms.
Two reports released today showed that San Diego’s good first
quarter was led by a large investment in clean-tech firm Sapphire
Energy, as well as continued funding for life sciences companies.

Clean Air and Natural Gas. The Obama administration’s new rules
aimed at cutting harmful emissions from natural gas wells are a
win for the environment, for the public and for industry. And
despite what Republican politicians claim, the rules will not
impose major new costs or slow what has been a remarkable boom in
natural gas production. The rules, announced on Wednesday by the
Environmental Protection Agency, are the first federal effort to
address air pollution problems associated with hydraulic
fracturing. Posted.

Editorial: SACOG sets high bar on transportation plan. Quality of
life in the Sacramento region is inexorably linked to how we
build communities and link them with transportation. If we do it
right, we can reduce pollution, protect farmland, create a
vibrant urban fabric and give people alternatives to congested
freeways and highways. This region has a long history in making
bad choices in this realm, but that is starting to change. One
big step forward came Thursday when the Sacramento Area Council
of Governments approved a 2035 Sustainable Communities
Strategy/Regional Transportation Plan. Posted.

Viewpoints: High-speed rail for a more sustainable state. We are
all strong supporters of building the California High-Speed Rail
system, and our state has arrived at a critical juncture. In the
weeks ahead, state legislators will be asked to release $2.7
billion in previously approved state bond funds to begin
construction of the first section of high-speed rail in the
United States. Our long-term economic and environmental future
requires an alternative to simply adding more highways and
airport runways. We need a sustainable, modern way of moving
people up and down the state that doesn't rely on gasoline and
concrete. Posted.

A boon to California's electric vehicle economy. California leads
the nation when it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles and,
with record electric and hybrid vehicle sales across the country
last month, advanced vehicles are set to break into the
mainstream. That breakthrough so far has been held back by the
relatively limited number of electric vehicle charging stations
available to California drivers. That's about to change. The
electric vehicle industry got a huge shot in the arm last month
when Gov. Jerry Brown announced the largest-ever investment in
electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Posted.

Marin Voice: Sustainability is a commitment we can all make. JOHN
F. KENNEDY famously posited: "Ask not what your country can do
for you — ask what you can do for your country." In this age of
global warming, his message has taken on an even stronger
resonance. In Marin, one need not look far for simple ways to
better our planet and better our lives in the process. The city
of San Rafael established a Climate Change Action Plan in 2009, a
culmination of several months of community outreach, citizen
engagement, lively discourse and democracy in action. Posted.

‘Stay the course’ a (rail) road to ruin. The Legislative Analyst
Office’s evaluation of the latest version of the California
High-Speed Rail Authority’s business plan is a serious document
that deserves a serious response. The report praised rail
authority officials for coming up with a cheaper ($68 billion)
and more practical alternative. It also, however, pointed out
that the state had less than a fifth of the money in hand for the
bullet train project and no realistic expectations that any of
the $55 billion or more that is still needed could be obtained
from any source. Posted.

Letter: Meat threatens the environment. Just in time for next
Sunday's Earth Day observance, a study in the Environmental
Research Letters warns that animal manure and fertilizers used in
growing animal feed emit large amounts of nitrous oxide, a
powerful greenhouse gas. An op-ed piece in The New York Times
warns that the devastating environmental impacts of a meat-based
diet are actually magnified when raising animals on the range
because this involves more land and more greenhouse gas
emissions. Posted.

Letter: Are windmills a wise investment? Why have we not seen any
figures on the 2,000 bird-killing wind turbines in the valley? It
would be interesting to know the cost to date and how many
kilowatt hours of power were generated over the 8,760 hours a
year available. How much income was generated and how much of
that income was subsidized by we taxpayers because of the failed
“green energy” mantra. And if we ever get this information, we'll
look at solar power next. Posted.

Don't sell bonds for high-speed rail. Once again, we wonder how
many experts must deliver a single message before the California
Legislature will heed it. In the case of the state's high-speed
rail boondoggle, it seems the answer is simple: As many as it
takes to get the answer it wants. On Tuesday, the state's
nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office once again echoed the
chorus of every serious analysis of the plan. The LAO's message
was clear: The plan - even the revised one - is just not "strong
enough" and relies on "highly speculative" funding sources.

Green industries play vital role. As stewards of the environment,
"green" industries like the water service sector understand their
vital role, not only for the environment, but for the workforce
as well. With Earth Day 2012 right around the corner, there is
growing evidence of that: A report released this month by the
Green Job Bank, a Baltimore-based green job search engine, showed
a dramatic increase in the number of green job postings during
the first quarter of 2012. For two years running, a study by CNN,
Fortune and Money magazines ranks environmental engineering among
the 10 best "fast-growth" career fields in the United States.

Methane in the Twilight Zone (First Episode). Last month saw
methane emissions entering the twilight zone for the first time.
By an odd quirk of timing, two incongruous things happened
virtually at once. At this year's annual American Geophysical
Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco, leading experts dealing
with a source for potentially significant Arctic methane
emissions, in an area known as the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf
(or ESAS), gave a disturbing presentation in which they reported
having recently found large plumes of escaping methane there
bubbling from the sea floor, up to a hundred times larger than
any they had found in the area before. Posted.

New Report Suggests Best Approach to Invest Cap and Trade
Revenue. California’s safest option for guarding against lawsuits
over how it spends the billions anticipated from its landmark
cap-and-trade program is to channel the auction revenue toward
reducing greenhouse gas pollution and furthering the goals of its
Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), according to a recent
analysis. The conclusion by the UCLA School of Law’s Emmett
Center on Climate Change and Environment may put the brakes on
some of the wide-ranging suggestions for using the state’s fee
revenue. Posted.

New EPA Rules Help Communities of Color Breathe Easier. New
Standards Will Reduce Health and Economic Costs. On this Earth
Day all Americans can celebrate the Environmental Protection
Agency’s commitment to ensure everyone can breathe clean air. But
this commitment particularly benefits communities of color.
Currently, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans are
especially vulnerable to air pollution’s health effects. Within
the last year, however, the EPA instituted new mercury and air
toxics standards and restrictions on cross-state air pollution.

Environmental Standards Give the United States an Edge Over
China. Chinese Citizens Still Facing Health Threats We Addressed
Decades Ago. This Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day, a great
opportunity to take stock of the progress we are making around
the world on environmental protection. Here in the United States,
much can be learned by comparing our environmental progress to
China, where they are just now starting down a path we took back
in 1970.Taking stock of our environmental progress is
particularly important in an election year…Posted.


Bringing science back to the Keystone Pipeline decision. When
years of lobbying, protests, and debate all come down to a
pushing the pause button, it’s frustrating. That’s the situation
we’re in now that the Obama Administration has put off deciding
about the about the Keystone XL Pipeline — which would send
Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the American Gulf Coast —
until 2013. The Administration says the decision to punt had
nothing to do with politics. But let’s face it: Right now, the
Keystone Pipeline — like every other key energy-policy decision —
is bogged down in politics. Posted.

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