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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for May 16, 2012. Posted: 16 May 2012 12:28:44
ARB Newsclips for May 16, 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 Texas judge: Coal permit won't stand up in court. State environmental regulators did not follow federal guidelines when they issued an air permit for a proposed coal-fired power plant on the Gulf Coast, and a Texas judge indicated the paperwork is too flawed for construction to begin. District Court Judge Stephen Yelenosky sent the letter Monday in response to a lawsuit filed by environmental groups, who challenged the air permit issued for Las Brisas Energy Center last May by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/may/15/texas-judge-coal-permit-wont-stand-up-in-court/ 'Shocking' twist in quarry hearing. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to affirm its denial of Granite Construction's Liberty Quarry project, a rock mine that had been proposed for land on the city of Temecula's southern border. But in a twist that was described as "shocking," "a surprise" and "bizarre" by foes of the project, the board during the same meeting voted 3-2 to certify the quarry's environmental impact report. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/swcounty/region-shocking-twist-in-quarry-hearing/article_09491fa0-097a-5cde-acd6-820ce8db2987.html Your Heart on Air Pollution: An Olympic Case Study. In 2008, the Chinese government conducted one of the largest real-time environmental experiments ever undertaken: In order to get air quality up to par for the summer Olympics in Beijing--in of the world's most polluted metropolis--the government halved the number of cars allowed to drive the city's roads, shut down coal-burning factories in the area, and halted construction projects, among other efforts. And it worked. Posted. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/05/your-heart-on-air-pollution-an-olympic-case-study/257236/ Time to mow down air pollution. County residents can replace old gas-powered lawn mowers with new, zero-emission models for less than $100 as part of the 13th annual “Mowing Down Pollution” trade-in event on Saturday. The Black & Decker mowers, which typically sell for about $400 plus tax, will cost $99.99. The mowers are subsidized using fines paid to the San Diego Air Pollution Control District. Organizers said about 650 of the 36-volt cordless mowers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/may/15/ron-roberts-time-mow-down-pollution/ CLIMATE CHANGE 5th warmest April on record worldwide. Washington -- Unseasonable weather pushed last month to the fifth warmest April on record worldwide, federal weather statistics show. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center calculated that April's average temperature of 57.9 degrees was nearly 1.2 degrees above the 20th century normal. Two years ago was the hottest April since record keeping started in 1880. Last month was the third hottest April in the United States and unusually warm in Russia, but cooler than normal in parts of Western Europe. This is despite a now-ended La Niña, which generally lowers global temperatures. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/16/MNFT1OI91R.DTL&type=printable Rising temperatures could eliminate two-thirds of Calif. Snowpack. The snowpack that helps provide water for California cities and farms could shrink by two-thirds because of climate change, according to new research submitted to the state's Energy Commission. Higher temperatures appear likely to wipe out a third of the Golden State's snowpack by 2050 and two-thirds by the end of the century, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found. The conclusions are the latest to declare that California's snowpack will be hard hit by higher temperatures. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/16/4 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS Oil industry says it will report California 'fracking' information. On the eve of a series of public hearings on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial but little-regulated method of oil extraction in California, an industry group said Tuesday that its members will voluntarily post information about their "fracking" operations on a disclosure website, Frac Focus, likely by the end of June. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/16/4492835/oil-industry-says-it-will-report.html ND becomes nation's second-leading oil producer. North Dakota has passed Alaska to become the second-leading oil-producing state in the nation, trailing only Texas, state officials said Tuesday. North Dakota oil drillers pumped 17.8 million barrels in March, with a daily average of 575,490 barrels, Assistant State Mineral Resources Director Bruce Hicks said. That compares with 17.5 million barrels in Alaska, though still far behind Texas. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/may/15/nd-becomes-nations-second-leading-oil-producer/ Interest groups, agencies battle over study linking E15 to engine damage. A new study showing that E15 damaged car engines in two popular models provides "material evidence" that U.S. EPA moved too hastily in approving the fuel for the market, the oil and auto industries said today. The industries released the engine study today after circulating preliminary findings last month. They said the findings by the industry-backed Coordinating Research Council provide reason to worry about fuel made of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/05/16/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Fight Over Auto Emissions Is Measured in Grams. The battle to control carbon dioxide from automobile tailpipes in the European Union is fought by the gram — a measure roughly equivalent to the weight of a paperclip. Greenhouse gases in these amounts may sound tiny, but they could affect millions of jobs in the Union and help determine Europe’s future as a major manufacturer. Four years ago, France, where Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroën produce small and fuel-efficient cars…Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/business/energy-environment/fight-over-auto-emissions-is-measured-in-grams.html?_r=1 China shifting development priority to hybrids. The Chinese government has recognized that it may take longer than initially expected to build a Chinese electric car industry. Therefore, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a “Three Steps Strategy” for the development of electric vehicle technology in the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015). According to this strategy, China will first strive for the commercialization of gasoline-electric hybrid technologies by 2015. Secondly, China will increase its efforts in the development of all-electric and plug-in hybrid technology between 2015-2020. Posted. http://beta.cars21.com/news/view/4653 HIGH-SPEED RAIL California bullet train chief seeks environmental exemptions. The chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority says in a state Senate hearing that he hopes the initial phase of the construction project through the Central Valley can avoid legal delays. The chief of the state bullet train authority said Tuesday that he hopes to obtain some type of relief from environmental laws that would eliminate a risk that the 130-mile initial construction project could be stopped by an injunction, a potentially growing prospect as agriculture interests in the Central Valley gear up for a legal fight. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bullet-hearing-20120516,0,4938405,print.story GREEN ENERGY Solar power proposed for more Irvine public schools. Irvine Unified School District is considering plans to install solar-paneled parking canopies at 11 campuses after it saved $220,000 in electricity costs in its first year using mostly rooftop solar panels at 15 sites. The parking canopies, to be installed by SunEdison, are expected to save the district $380,000 in energy costs in the first year, public records show. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/district-354215-irvine-canopies.html Power in numbers: Crowd purchasing brings clean energy within reach. We join together with our fellow humans for the sake of saving a buck all the time. That’s why public transportation exists — it’s cheaper for 20 people to get on one bus than it is for 20 people to drive their own cars. (Oh right, and buses are also super cool.) Or think of roommates — sure, they never wash their dishes, but living with them saves us hundreds of dollars in rent. Posted. http://grist.org/renewable-energy/power-in-numbers-crowd-purchasing-brings-clean-energy-within-reach/ MISCELLANEOUS U.S. asthma rates at all-time high, CDC says. The proportion of Americans with asthma increased from 7.3% in 2001 to 8.4% in 2010, marking the highest level ever, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. In 2010, an estimated 18.7 million adults and 7 million children had the disease -- one in every 12 Americans. Overall, about 29.1 million adults have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives, but many of those were misdiagnosed or have apparently recovered, leading to the current figure of 18.7 million. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-asthma-prevalence-20120515,0,1261319,print.story OPINIONS Editorial: Craft a clean transportation bill by June 30. Republicans and Democrats in Congress have failed for three years to reach common ground on a multiyear transportation bill to replace the 2005-09 bill. We're now on our ninth short-term extension, which expires June 30. This is no way to build the transportation networks of the future or to boost economic recovery. Worse, the Highway Trust Fund that pays for road, bridge and transit projects is set to run out of money in the next year Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/16/4492894/craft-a-clean-transportation-bill.html BLOGS New York Leads on E.V. Issues, but E.V.’s Have Yet to Follow. A new study places New York among the world’s most proactive cities trying to ease the way of electric vehicles, but leadership has its pitfalls. The study (PDF) was produced by the Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy research group and think tank, along with partners including the International Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative. The study examined 16 cities and regions to gauge their readiness to absorb E.V.’s. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/new-york-leads-on-e-v-issues-but-e-v-s-have-yet-to-follow/ A New Skirmish in the Ethanol Wars. The auto and oil industries plan to release a report on Wednesday indicating that some cars running on E15, the 15 percent ethanol blend that was recently authorized by the Environmental Protection Agency, suffered engine damage. But officials at the Energy Department counter that the study is flawed and that the department’s own research, which the E.P.A. relied on in approving E15, demonstrates that cars now running on the standard blend, called E10, will do just fine on E15. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/a-new-skirmish-in-the-ethanol-wars/ Is climate change research holding back advances in weather forecasting? We’ve discussed, to some extent, the question of whether large expenditures in NOAA’s budget on satellites (relative to funding of the National Weather Service) has slowed progress in numerical weather prediction. University of Washington’s Cliff Mass, who has addressed that issue as well, posed another critical question today in a thoughtful, provocative blog post: “Why is the U.S. government providing hugely more computer resources for climate prediction than weather prediction?” …Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/is-climate-change-research-holding-back-advances-in-weather-forecasting/2012/05/16/gIQAMVymTU_blog.html Carbon Pricing & Trading News from Australia, California, China, South Korea, & More. Consideration of carbon pricing and trading, a market-based (not regulation-based) approach to addressing global warming, may still be outlawed by GOP leadership in Congress, but countries around the world (and even several US states) keep moving forward with planned or existing carbon pricing and trading programs. Below is some of the latest news from this arena. Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2012/05/16/carbon-pricing-trading-news-from-australia-california-china-south-korea-more/ California high-speed rail project given conditional blessing. The latest plan for building a California bullet train system got a very conditional blessing Tuesday from a "peer review committee" of transportation experts. Will Kempton, the veteran transportation official who heads the committee, told a Senate hearing that the latest revision is “measurably improved” from previous versions. Posted. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/05/california-bullet-train-project-given-conditional-blessing.html