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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for May 8, 2012.

Posted: 08 May 2012 14:25:34
ARB Newsclips for May 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.


State spars with EPA on air quality standards.  The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency is not protecting public health
and has violated federal law by failing to review air quality
standards, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Lung
Association, the state air board and a consortium of states.  A
brief filed late last week by the EPA in federal court in
Washington, D.C., states that it does not plan to complete the
mandatory review until Aug. 15, 2013 – about 22 months after the
legal deadline.  Posted. 

Court rules asbestos victims can sue machine maker. A state
appeals court Monday reinstated San Francisco lawsuits by
asbestos victims against a manufacturer of brake shoe grinding
machines that released the lethal fibers from brake linings. The
suits were filed by a former mechanic who suffers from asbestosis
and by families of three people who died of cancer in 2007 and
2008 after years of exposure to asbestos. All said the asbestos
was emitted from brake shoe linings by grinding machines made by
Hennessy Industries. Posted.

Air quality regulators OK new Calpine power plants. Calpine has
won permits from air quality regulators to build two new
geothermal power plants at The Geysers in Sonoma County, a $700
million project that will generate nearly 100 megawatts of
electricity. The first plant could start production in 2014 if
Calpine can negotiate contracts to sell the renewable energy. The
independent power wholesaler currently sells electricity from The
Geysers to utility companies including PG&E, Southern California
Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/05/08/29  BU SUBSCRIPTION

EPA delays soot standard again, plans to act by August 2013. U.S.
EPA is further delaying stricter standards for airborne soot that
comes from power plants, auto tailpipes and smokestacks until
August next year, angering advocacy groups that sued the agency
to force it to act swiftly. At issue is EPA's efforts to update
2006 national ambient air quality standards for fine particles
that a federal court overturned in early 2009 for failing to do
enough to protect public health. The standards determine when
airborne dust and soot exceed healthy limits. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/08/3  BY
NRDC Petitions EPA to Ban Sale of Refrigerants to Consumers.  On
April 27, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a
petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
restrict the sales of all refrigerants to anyone other than
certified technicians. In calling for the sales restrictions, the
NRDC points to the upcoming transition from R-134a now used in
most vehicle air conditioners to R-1234yf. R-1234yf is a new
refrigerant recently approved by EPA for use on new vehicle air
conditioners and which many car companies are looking to use
based on its reduced impact on global warming.  Posted. 


Dinosaur Gas Emissions May Have Warmed Air. Gassy dinosaurs may
have spewed so much methane into the air that it could have
helped warm the climate tens of millions of years ago, when
temperatures were much higher than today, a team of U.K.
scientists reported Monday. The stomach gas released each year by
a group of long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs, which included
the world's largest known land animals, may have equaled the
total amount of methane produced every year today from all
natural, agricultural and industrial sources, the researchers
said Monday in the journal Current Biology. Methane, a greenhouse
gas, is 23 times as effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere
as carbon dioxide. Posted.

Reaction roundup: Climate steps support poll. On average, the
poll report finds public support for a host of steps, from tax
breaks for electric vehicles to cutting power-plant emissions of
greenhouse gasses, has dropped but still retains majority support
(aside from tax-breaks for nuclear power plants, supported by
only about 43% of poll respondents.) We've asked outside experts
to comment on the poll report, which ties the decline most
strongly to distrust of scientists among some Republican voters,
about 41%, driven by politician's statements ('elite cues' in
sociological parlance), ones which have been dismissive of
climate research. Posted.

Climate change could trigger 110-degree heat waves in Calif.
Deadly heat waves in California could happen more frequently
within the next decade and could occur regularly by the end of
the century because of climate change, a researcher has told the
state's Energy Commission. Those heat waves will feature three
days or more when temperatures hit at least 100 degrees
Fahrenheit, and temperatures as high as 110 degrees are probable
if the world stays on its current path of high greenhouse gas
emissions, said David Pierce, a climate researcher at Scripps
Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/05/07/3  BY


European slump leads utilities to burn more coal. Europe's
economic slump is allowing utilities in some countries to burn
increasing amounts of cheap, highly polluting coal for
electricity generation and still meet legally binding targets to
cut carbon dioxide emissions, Reuters research shows. The EU's
carbon scheme, its main tool to fight global warming, caps CO2
emissions on around 12,000 industrial and power plants in 30
countries and requires them to purchase permits to exceed those
caps. Posted.

EU Energy Chief: Need Flexibility In Solving CO2 Market Problem.
Any measure that can be used to solve the problem of low prices
on the European Union's carbon market should be flexible enough
to account for an evolving economic situation, the EU's energy
chief said Tuesday. He said that he will support measures that
would boost the price of permits to emit greenhouse gases to
EUR10 or higher, from around EUR7 currently. "I am willing to
support...to come to a price signal of EUR10 or more, which is
good for investment in clean energy," Oettinger, who is the
commissioner for energy, said. Posted.

Teacher starting biodiesel fuel plant in Michigan.  A teacher in
Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula is starting a biodiesel fuel
plant after roughly eight years of planning, experimenting and
regulatory work.  Bill Koucky's Northwest Michigan Biodiesel LLC
plant is expected to be in full production within weeks, the
Traverse City Record-Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/IUKu3q )
Tuesday. The upper elementary teacher at Grand Traverse Academy
said the aim is for it to be "100 percent sustainable."  "The
concept incorporates bringing a sustainable energy source to the
community by utilizing recycled materials right from the area,"
he said.  Posted. 

Enviros say CBO overstated impact of new standards on highway
fund. Environmentalists are accusing the Congressional Budget
Office of using "shell game" tactics in a report last week that
warned of a $57 billion hit to the highway trust fund under new
fuel economy standards. A pair of blog posts from
environmentalists yesterday say that the report by the
nonpartisan CBO lays out a hypothetical situation and that the
headline numbers in the report are overstated by 10 to 20 times.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/08/23  BY


Toyota to sell electric RAV4 with Tesla motor. Toyota Motor
Corp., the biggest maker of hybrid autos, said its electric RAV4
sport utility vehicle with batteries and motor from Tesla Motors
Inc. will cost more than twice as much as the gasoline version of
the compact crossover. Toyota will sell the RAV4 EV for $49,800
this year in California, and plans to deliver 2,600 units over
the next three years, the company said Monday at the Electric
Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. The base price of a 2012 RAV4
with a 2.5-liter gasoline engine is $22,650, according to
Toyota's website. Posted.


PUC commissioner opposes Sacramento natural gas storage. Citing
potential catastrophic impacts, a California Public Utilities
commissioner is urging that a local company be blocked from
storing natural gas 3,800 feet beneath Sacramento's Avondale Glen
Elder neighborhood. Commissioner Michel Peter Florio issued the
proposed decision Friday on the request from Sacramento Natural
Gas Storage LLC for a $70 million project to store the gas in a
sandstone formation under the neighborhood. Posted.


Bisphenol A study hints at breast-cancer link. A new study of
fetal exposure to BPA, a plastic additive found in some food
packaging, shows that the chemical altered mammary gland
development in monkeys. The researchers reported that the changes
they observed in the monkeys reinforce concerns that BPA -
bisphenol A - could contribute to breast cancer in women. The
research was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences. Posted.

Solid-green bike lanes spreading across Bay Area.  As thousands
of bicyclists hit Bay Area streets for Thursday's 18th annual
Bike to Work Day, an increasing number will ride in a bike lane
sure to grab the eye of even the most distracted driver.  Bright
green bike lanes -- really bright green -- are spreading
throughout the region to make bicyclists more visible and to
ensure safety where cyclists are most likely to mix with heavy
auto traffic.  Posted. 

Air Pollution Experts Win Tyler Environmental Prize. John
Seinfeld researches air pollution from the top down. The Louis E.
Nohl Professor and professor of chemical engineering at the
California Institute of Technology studies the tiny particles in
the atmosphere for a broader sense of air quality. Kirk Smith
examines air pollution from the ground up. The professor of
global environmental health at the University of California,
Berkeley, examines the health consequences of household air
pollution from simple biomass fuels, such as wood used to heat
stoves in rural kitchens. Posted.


Lung Association ratings really mean something.  Lois Henry's
April 29 column, "Fail: the Lung Association's air quality
ratings," fails to mention the serious health emergencies caused
by the Central Valley's dirty air. Polluted air sends children
and adults to hospitals and emergency rooms, triggers asthma
attacks, and leads to early deaths. Even short-term exposures to
elevated levels of particle pollution can cause difficulty
breathing and lead to heart attacks and strokes.  Posted. 

Our Voice: Toxic treatment site must meet the state standards. If
the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians continues to allow Western
Environmental Inc. to treat tainted soil in Mecca, it should
insist the plant meets the high standards set by the state of
California. Tribal Chairman David Roosevelt made that commitment
in March. The Desert Sun hopes he will demand the plant follow
the 19 recommendations made last week by the California EPA's
Department of Toxic Substances Control.  Posted.

Why Anti-Fracking Groups Are Shifting Their Story From Water To
Air Quality. Mark Twain said “never let the truth stand in the
way of a good story.” A common hydraulic fracturing narrative is
that the technology pollutes water supplies. The story goes that
fracturing is a mysterious and untested practice, that fracturing
fluids are a secret, “chemical cocktail,” that there are
innumerable incidents of aquifer and drinking water
contamination, resulting even in tap water catching fire, and
that “Big Oil” has pressured Congress into exempting the
technology from any environmental laws. Posted.


Biofuels to the People. The bespectacled Andrew Pannell is
sitting behind the counter at Dogpatch Biofuels when I arrive on
a Saturday afternoon. He’s been helping out at this filling
station Tuesdays through Saturdays since May 2011. He’s an
assistant manager, but also a mechanical mentor, gearhead and
ardent evangelist of the alternative oil known as biodiesel.
Pannell is what one might call a born-again motorist. Before his
conversion to bio a few years ago, he drove a 1996 Acura Integra
GS-R. It had an AEM cold air snorkel intake with K&N high-flow
cone filter. Posted.

Lithium ion battery 'overcapacity' could arrive by 2015, would
push prices way down.  Too many lithium-ion batteries? That's not
something battery makers want to hear, but it's music to our
ears. It's also the prediction of Munich-based Roland Berger
Strategy Consultants.  Over the next few years, as battery makers
like AESC, LG Chem and A123 Systems ramp up for what's expected
to be a surge in electric-drive vehicle purchases, we could be
awash in li-ion batteries. Posted. 

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