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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for May 14, 2012. Posted: 14 May 2012 12:54:14
ARB Newsclips for May 14, 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. AIR POLLUTION Court is asked to spur EPA on soot standard. Environmental and public health groups asked a court Friday to force a significant acceleration in U.S. EPA's schedule for curbing airborne soot from motor vehicles, power plants and factories. The American Lung Association and National Parks Conservation Association argued that EPA should adopt a new and final national ambient air quality standard for fine particles by Dec. 14, they said in a brief filed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia as part of their ongoing litigation to force the agency to act. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/14/14 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE UK wants EU focus on new CO2 cuts, not renewables. Europe should focus on cutting carbon emissions, rather than just repeating an existing range of EU green policy targets that expire at the end of the decade, Britain's energy and climate chief said on Monday. Business, which needs investment certainty, has been heaping pressure on the European Commission to come up with policy to replace goals that expire in 2020. "We should be moving towards outcome targets," Edward Davey, Britain's secretary of state for energy and climate change…Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/14/us-energy-summit-renewables-idUSBRE84D0NO20120514 Global warming threatens pine forests, forcing federal officials to shift strategy. A few modest features distinguish the trunk of the limber pine standing among the trees near abandoned beaver ponds: a white, plastic pouch attached by a removable staple, a numerical metal tag secured with an aluminum nail and a printed warning: “Pouches on trees to repel mountain pine beetles. Pouches contain chemicals. Do Not Touch-Do Not Remove.” The conifer, with its accoutrements, represents a small salvo in the battle against a beetle infestation, fueled partly by warmer temperatures. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/global-warming-threatens-pine-forests-forcing-federal-officials-to-shift-strategy/2012/05/13/gIQAEHVXNU_story.html UN cap-and-trade system: Good for China and India, but who else? The United Nations-administered cap and trade system to reduce planetary greenhouse gases through investment in “green” projects in developing countries has directed most of its billions of dollars in investments to China and India, two of the world’s most notorious polluters. Indeed, China and India together have gotten more than 70 percent of the more than 4,100 projects so far registered for the system, while most developing nations, aside from a handful, have gotten hardly any at all, according to the system’s own accounts. Posted. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/14/un-cap-and-trade-system-good-for-china-and-india-but-who-else/ New DOE carbon capture process could save $275M over advanced coal plants' life span. The Department of Energy says it has developed a new process for making carbon capture cheaper on advanced coal plants. Last week, the department announced new research that it said could generate more than $275 million in cost savings over the 30-year life span of a type of coal plant known as an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant. Those savings could equal about 10 percent of the price tag for a large IGCC power plant. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/05/14/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS Sacramento gas prices jump because of western refinery problems. Lagging refinery production is being blamed for a 13-cent spike in Sacramento-area gas prices over the past week. Following a seven-week run of decreasing gas prices, area at-the-pump costs rose for a second consecutive week, coming in at an average of $4.24 a gallon, according to today's report by SactoGasPrices.com, a GasBuddy.com website. Sacramento-area gas prices are now 8.3 cents per gallon higher than they were one year ago and 14.1 cents higher than last month. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/14/4488888/sacramento-gas-prices-jump-because.html Total says gas leak stopped at Nigeria field. French oil company Total SA said Sunday it stopped a natural gas leak at one of its plants in Nigeria's crude-rich southern delta after 54 days, an emergency that forced the firm to shut down the field and evacuate the area. Total said it used heavy fluids and cement plugs to stop the gas flow from its Obite natural gas field in Rivers state, in the heart of the country's Niger Delta. Workers will put a cement seal on the well to permanently staunch the flow from the well, Total said in a statement. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/may/13/total-says-gas-leak-stopped-at-nigeria-field/#ixzz1urUJY7hg VEHICLES $100 Million for Electric Car Charging in California from NRG Energy. This is what the $100 million that NRG Energy is obligated by a legal settlement to invest in battery electric vehicle (BEV) charging infrastructure in California will buy for plug-in car owners: A $50.5 million investment in 200 eVgo Freedom Station sites installed at carefully chosen commercial and retail locations, each with a level-three DC fast charger as well as a level-two medium-speed charger; …Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2012/05/14/100-million-for-electric-car-charging-in-california-from-nrg-energy/ http://www.hybridcars.com/news/california-approves-100-million-alternative-energy-investment-plan-2013-45865.html HIGH-SPEED RAIL High-speed spending: Bullet train may need $3.5 million a day. California would have to pay $6 billion to complete a 130-mile segment by September 2017, a plan that requires 120 permits and buying 1,100 parcels of land. If California starts building a 130-mile segment of high-speed rail late this year as planned, it will enter into a risky race against a deadline set up under federal law. The bullet train track through the Central Valley would cost $6 billion and have to be completed by September 2017, or else potentially lose some of its federal funding. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bullet-risks-20120514,0,3139016,print.story GREEN ENERGY Mexican wind energy boom plays out on gusty shores. On an arid plain where sudden gusts of wind can rip roofs off buildings and knock over tractor trailers, Mexico is building a new engine for its energy future. Surrounded by towering turbines in every direction, the town of La Ventosa - which means "the windy place" in Spanish - is at the heart of a wind power boom in the country. Mexico, the world's 14th biggest economy, still punches well below its weight in terms of wind energy, ranking 24th on the planet in installed capacity last year, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/14/us-mexico-wind-idUSBRE84D05P20120514 http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/05/14/19 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Retired generators at California plant back online. Two retired generators at a Southern California power plant are back online, to help take up the slack from the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant this summer. The pair of natural-gas-powered units at the AES Huntington Beach plant will provide about 440 megawatts to the Los Angeles Basin, while giving voltage support to allow power to be imported into the San Diego area, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday (http://lat.ms/KdSV7D). Posted. http://hosted2.ap.org/CARIE/7f780b0f92634e54be4b48f9179deaa4/Article_2012-05-13-SoCal%20Power/id-f21e94f0235f433b994aea40ceaef4b1 http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-energy-plants-20120513,0,4281762.story http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/13/4486827/retired-generators-at-california.html http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20615243/retired-generators-at-california-plant-back-online http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20607371/retired-power-generators-put-back-into-service http://www.mantecabulletin.com/section/140/article/42525/ RIVERSIDE: UCR team wins international environmental design competition. A team of students from UC Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering won the top prize at an international environmental design competition this month for a reusable storm drain oil filter they designed out of 100 percent recycled materials. The team, which calls itself “Sustain-a-Drain,” won the open task competition and the 2012 Intel Environmental Innovation Award, the top award at the WERC: …Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20120511-riverside-ucr-team-wins-international-environmental-design-competition.ece Vt. utilities see growing 'smart meter' opposition. Worries about health effects, privacy and cost are fueling growing opposition to wireless, digital "smart meters" that utilities around the country are installing at homes and businesses and touting as key energy conservation and grid reliability tools. Vermont appears poised to take an unusually aggressive stance. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/may/13/utilities-see-growing-smart-meter-opposition/#ixzz1urV1pDiT http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120514/WIRE/120519777 Study says solar energy not oversubsidized. A study by the University of Tennessee’s Baker Center for Public Policy says that solar energy is subsidized at about the same rate as other energy sources. The industry “is consistent with the less-than-smooth paths that many American industries have traveled as they entered the mainstream of commerce,” the study said. It added that solar power was in a stage “where government incentives can be most critical in helping new energy technologies become significant sources of energy production.” Posted. http://www.desertdispatch.com/news/study-12903-solar-tennessee.html Wood energy struggles to gain traction in Ore. Oregon's Renewable Energy Action Plan calls for more of the state's energy to come from renewable sources, which include a biofuel that many people don't typically consider: wood. Some people associate wood heat with smoke, particulates, inefficient fireplaces and destructive logging, said Marcus Kauffman, a biomass specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/05/14/8 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Calif. proposal may lower electric bills for more solar customers. A new proposal to change California's "net metering" system would allow more solar customers to receive discounts on their electric bills. The president of the California Public Utilities Commission, Michael Peevey, drafted the proposal, which is scheduled for a vote May 24. Currently, solar customers can receive credits for the renewable energy they generate and feed back into the grid, enabling them to significantly lower their electricity bills during sunny months. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/05/14/10 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY In Calif., questions swirl around new voluntary renewable energy program. Despite pitfalls and naysayers, California's largest and most troubled power company is plugging its latest "green" efforts. Northern California's Pacific Gas and Electric Co. unveiled a new "green option" last month that would allow customers to pay extra to have their electricity usage covered by renewable energy certificates, or RECs, which represent the environmental attributes of renewable energy, but not the energy itself. They are intended to generate more revenue for clean power production. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/14/16 BY SUBSRIPTION ONLY Obama admin to offer export help for environmental firms. The Obama administration is preparing a new program to offer environmentally minded companies access to information on foreign laws and regulations, financing and market conditions in a push to boost American exports and highlight a growing segment of an otherwise sluggish U.S. economy. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Commerce Secretary John Bryson announced plans for the online service, which will be launched this fall, during a conference this morning at American University in Washington, D.C. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/14/21 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS City Unveils Locations of Bike-Share Stations. The bike-share stations will be pliable, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has said — their assembly so simple that, if problems arise, docks can be removed without leaving a trace. And yet, with the program’s first 420 proposed locations unveiled on Friday, proponents say New York has taken a step toward a watershed moment in the transportation history of the city: Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/12/nyregion/city-unveils-locations-of-bike-share-stations.html?_r=1 Boulder Electric Vehicle to open Chatsworth assembly plant. A Colorado electric vehicle manufacturer has leased an industrial building in Chatsworth where it will assemble delivery trucks and utility vehicles. Boulder Electric Vehicle will occupy a 27,714-square-foot manufacturing building at 9655 Irondale Ave. in Chatsworth, real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle said. Boulder Electric’s new facility represents an expansion from its manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colo., the company said. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-electric-vehicle-plant-20120513,0,362269.story?track=rss City of Pleasanton in the Running to Become the “Coolest” City in California. The city of Pleasanton is in the Top Ten cities in the CoolCalifornia Challenge, an innovative competition between California cities to reduce their community-wide carbon footprints and build more vibrant and sustainable communities. Hosted by the California Air Resources Board, the year-long program began on April 1 and includes the cities of Chula Vista, Citrus Heights, Davis, Gonzales, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Tracy.Posted. http://pleasanton.patch.com/articles/city-of-pleasanton-in-the-running-to-become-the-coolest-city-in-california ROUSH CleanTech Drives Economic and Environmental Sustainability in Southern California. ROUSH CleanTech vehicles fueled by clean, affordable, domestically produced propane autogas on display at 2012 Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, Calif. ROUSH CleanTech is speaking, exhibiting and sponsoring at the 2012 Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo to show how domestically produced, clean and cost-efficient propane autogas is a proven alternative fuel solution. Posted. http://news.yahoo.com/roush-cleantech-drives-economic-environmental-sustainability-southern-california-130349406.html OPINIONS Summer break at the pump. That summer vacation may cost less than you thought. The Energy Department this week said gasoline prices should average $3.79 per gallon through September thanks to a drop in crude oil prices. Oil has fallen every day since May 1. The price of benchmark U.S. crude has dropped by 6.7 percent in that time, while Brent crude has declined 5.4 percent. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120511/A_OPINION01/205110306&cid=sitesearch LOIS HENRY: UC President's visit didn't exactly clear the air. I feel snubbed. I know he said it was just bad timing. But I can't help feeling it was me. Perhaps something I said? University of California President Mark Yudof made a quick swing through the valley and stopped at Bakersfield High School last Tuesday…All I wanted to know was why Yudof keeps nominating the same guy -- John Froines -- to the Scientific Review Panel despite Froines' 28-year run on the panel. Not to mention that Froines and several others were booted off the panel in 2010 after a lawsuit pointed out they hadn't been properly reappointed in decades. Posted. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/lifestyle/health-beat/x531643678/LOIS-HENRY-UC-Presidents-visit-didnt-exactly-clear-the-air Eye on the Environment: Leave your car at home during Bike to Work Week. Park your car and get pedaling during Bike to Work Week. The Ventura County Transportation Commission and Ventura County Air Pollution Control District are again sponsoring Bike to Work Week, May 14-18, in conjunction with National Bike Month. There are some good reasons for you to participate, including a chance to win an iPad and bike gear. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/may/12/leave-your-car-at-home-during-bike-to-work-week/#ixzz1urTv8UvB Go plant a garden. As this weekend’s 350 Home and Garden Challenge nears, we encourage all Petalumans to consider planting a garden. Sponsored by igrowsonoma.org and Petaluma-based Daily Acts, the third annual event encourages people to grow food, conserve water and save energy. In the process, it’s hoped that by becoming more food and energy independent, we will build a stronger, healthier and more sustainable community. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120514/COMMUNITY/120519891 Least Polluted Cities In The U.S. Ranked In State Of The Air 2012. Are you and your neighbors breathing healthy air? American Lung Association has released their State Of The Air 2012 report, detailing cities with the least and most air pollution in America. Each city is ranked by ozone pollution, short-term particle pollution, and year-long particle pollution. Below are the report's "Top 25 Least Polluted Cities By Year-Round Particle Pollution. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/13/state-of-the-air-2012_n_1475411.html U.S. power companies could use 14 percent less coal this year. Here is a bit of energy-use news to feel good about: Americans are using a lot less coal. In the first quarter of this year, the portion of the country’s electricity that came from coal was almost 20 percent less than in the same period last year. And overall, the Energy Information Administration predicts, coal consumption in the electric sector will decrease by 14 percent this year. Of course, there’s a reason for this, as Stephen Lacey explains at Climate Progress, and the reason is natural gas. Natural gas is cheap, cheap, cheap, so now we’re burning that instead of coal. Posted. http://grist.org/list/u-s-power-companies-could-use-14-percent-less-coal-this-year/ BLOGS Cracking the Smart Energy Market. American homes are getting smarter, at least when it comes to using energy, a consumer research firm reports. By 2020, some 60 percent of homes in the United States will have some type of smart energy management system, according to estimates from the firm, Parks Associates. Still, adoption has been slower than some companies had hoped. Smart energy management systems consist of products and services that enable you to watch how you consume energy and help you use less. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/cracking-the-smart-energy-market/ Willing to Pay (a Little) More for Clean Energy. The perception that the American public is adamantly opposed to higher energy costs is at the root of most political opposition to policies favoring the adoption of renewable energy. But a new study of public opinion finds that people are in fact willing to pay to move to cleaner energy. That willingness is fairly modest, to be sure. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/willing-to-pay-a-little-for-clean-energy/