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newsclips -- Newsclips for July 10, 2012

Posted: 10 Jul 2012 13:32:11
ARB Newsclips for July 10, 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.

Power industry braces for court air pollution ruling. Washington
- The power industry is waiting for a federal appeals court to
rule on proposed emissions controls for coal-fired power plants,
a decision with implications for energy sectors ranging from
natural gas to coal to tradeable pollution permits. The Court of
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected as soon as Tuesday to
issue its decision on the Environmental Protection Agency's
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, or CSAPR. It delayed the decision
on December 30, just two days before the rule was to enter force.

Officials declare Spare the Air day Tuesday. With temperatures
forecast to reach into the 90s around the North Bay today, air
quality officials have declared a Spare the Air Day for the
greater Bay Area. Residents are advised to drive less and reduce
energy use to limit air pollution, the Bay Area Air Quality
Management District said. Warm, still conditions trap ozone, or
smog, close to the earth, making for poor air quality that’s
especially challenging for children, the elderly and those with
respiratory conditions, the air district said. Posted. 

AIR QUALITY: Smog-reducing proposals kept secret. The public is
not being allowed to view proposals to spend $53 million to
reduce air pollution in the Coachella Valley or learn who has
submitted the pitches. The lack of transparency has raised
concerns among some open-government advocates, who say it is the
public’s business and doesn’t merit such secrecy. The South Coast
Air Quality Management District is administering the fund,
intended to be used to cut pollution to compensate for emissions
from a new power plant. Posted. 

EPA sets Central Valley public hearing on particle pollution. 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it plans two public
hearings – one in Sacramento ad the other in Philadelphia, Pa. --
on proposed updates to the national air quality standards for
fine particle pollution, dubbed PM2.5).  A federal court ruling
requires EPA to update the standards based on best available
science.  The proposed updates, which the EPA says meet that
requirement; build on steps already taken by the agency to reduce
pollution in communities across the country.  Posted. 

Nitrogen Dioxide Air Pollution Lessens in Parts of U.S. and
Europe.  Satellite measurements show that nitrogen dioxide in the
lower atmosphere over parts of Europe and the US has fallen over
the past decade. More than 15 years of atmospheric observations
have revealed trends in air quality.  As the world's population
increases, economies in many countries are also growing and
populations are concentrating in large cities. With the use of
fossil fuels still on the rise, pollution in large cities is also
increasing.  Nitrogen dioxide is an important pollutant in the
troposphere, the lowest portion of our atmosphere.  Posted. 

Dirty diesel generators test EPA, demand-response industry.
Demand-response companies have gained a green reputation as
they've grown into a major player on the electricity market, but
critics warned U.S. EPA today there's a dirty secret in how
they're relieving the strained power grid on the hottest summer
days. On competitive energy markets, these firms often get paid
to provide "negawatts," or negative megawatts, by inking
contracts with customers who agree to avoid using electricity
when needed. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/07/10/2

Black lung disease, once on the brink of extinction, is back.
Thank the coal industry.  In February 1969, miners in West
Virginia launched an illegal wildcat strike. The action halted
extraction for half of the mines in the northern part of the
state for days. The miners had one demand: end black lung
disease.  The action worked. By the end of 1969, new policies
went into effect in an effort to curb the disease, which results
from the inhalation of coal dust and leads to long-term lung
damage and impaired breathing. New exposure limits were set, and
miners were offered regular chest X-rays and compensation for
damage. Posted. 

Fire news: Mendocino National Forest fire now 10,000 acres and
growing. July 9 saw significant spread to the fire in Mendocino
National Forest now dubbed the Mill Fire. It grew from 2,500
acres at noon to 10,000 acres at the 8 p.m. update. The fire is
considered 10 percent contained and no estimate on when the fire
will be fully contained has been provided by Mendocino National
Forest officials. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
As of the update there were 700 personnel responding to the
incident. Posted. 

Hancock to offer free air emissions classes. Representatives from
local businesses, industry and governmental agencies, as well as
the general public, are invited to attend free air emissions
regulation courses via Hancock College. The classes, offered at
the Santa Maria and Lompoc college campuses, are especially
geared toward owners, managers and staff from regulated
industries and government and private sector environmental
professionals. Santa Maria courses are offered by Hancock and the
Central California Environmental Training Center in collaboration
with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the Lompoc
course is in collaboration with Imerys Minerals California, Inc. 


Study links global warming to Texas heat waves. New research
suggests that global warming increases the chances of heat waves
in Texas, like the one that hit the state last year. The
government also confirmed Tuesday that 2011 was among the 15
warmest years on record. Texas had record heat and drought last
year. Part of the problem was a weather pattern called La Nina,
which contributed to drought across the South. Scientists in
Oregon and England used computer simulations to estimate how much
more likely such Texas heat waves are because of global warming.

Japan agency says high chance El Nino to emerge this summer.
Tokyo - Japan's weather bureau said on Tuesday its climate models
indicate there is a strong possibility the El Nino weather
pattern, which is often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts,
will emerge this summer. The Japan Meteorological Agency changed
the language in its monthly assessment of the six-month outlook
for El Nino that it used in June, when it said it was more likely
that normal weather patterns would prevail in Asia through to
December. Posted.

Ohio farmers grow concerned over dry conditions. Farmer John
Hoffman hopes forecasts of more hot temperatures and extremely
dry weather across the state the next few weeks will change, but
he doesn't hold out a lot of hope for much of his corn crop. And
he's not alone. Concerns are growing among Ohio's farmers as
abnormally dry conditions, considered among the worst in the last
decade, and triple-digit temperatures scorch already parched
fields, stunting much of the corn and soybean crops. Posted. 

Extreme climes producing more insurance claims: report. With
climate change, the number of extreme weather events, such as
severe thunderstorms, is expected to increase. According to
Telling the Weather Story, a report prepared for the Insurance
Bureau of Canada last month, Canada's climate is warming and
getting wetter. "These changes to the climate are likely
responsible, at least in part, for the rising frequency and
severity of extreme weather events in Canada, …Posted.


Cat pays $510K for shipping, selling uncertified equipment in
California.  Caterpillar will pay a fine of $510,000 to the
California Air Resources Board (CARB) for shipping more than
590,000 on-road and off-road engines that did not have legally
required emissions controls installed.  The investigation of
these violations was conducted with the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice based on
similar conduct outside of California. The settlement calls for
the Illinois-based company to pay a total of $2.55 million in
penalties nationwide for violations of the Clean Air Act. 


Ethanol: Beloved by farmers, detested by Big Oil, endlessly
debated by Congress.  In 2007, Congress finalized a new policy
mandating the integration of renewable source fuels into
America’s gasoline. In other words, biofuels — gasoline
substitutes/additives that could be used by existing vehicles but
that were both renewable and resulted in less harmful emissions.
Here’s the EPA’s overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),
as it’s known.  Posted. 

Is fracking polluting Pennsylvania groundwater or not? 
ProPublica has been at the forefront of examining the possible
negative impacts of fracking. Yesterday, they posted a story
titled, “New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping
Into PA Drinking Water.” Here’s how it starts: New research has
concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath
Pennsylvania’s natural gas fields are likely seeping upward
thousands of feet into drinking water supplies.  Posted. 


Oregon’s ‘electric highway’ a boon for plug-in drivers on the
West Coast. It may not be long before electric car owners on
America’s Pacific coast can drive all the way from Canada to
Mexico using quick-charge stations. Thanks to Oregon’s new
‘electric highway,’ it’s now possible to charge an electric car
every 25 miles down a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 5. That,
says an NBC News video, makes it the longest stretch of electric
highway in the country. It’s set to improve even further, as the
state has funding for another 35 quick-charge stations. Posted.


Challenges remain for Calif. high-speed rail plan. Sacramento,
Calif. California lawmakers may have given their OK to what could
be the nation's first high-speed rail line, but the project is
still a ways from leaving the station. Even with prominent
supporters such as President Barack Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown,
bullet train backers must still overcome a number of challenges,
including environmental concerns, clashes with local leaders over
land use, a $68 billion overall price tag with no funding
guarantees, and an increasingly disenchanted public. Posted.

Brown, LaHood stump for Calif. Project. Oakland, Calif. --
California will find the money to build its high-speed rail line,
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and California Gov.
Jerry Brown (D) said yesterday at the Port of Oakland.
Politicians had the $68.4 billion statewide rail project on their
minds yesterday, even though the Oakland event was to mark an
unrelated federal award to the port's rail system. The state
high-speed rail authority's recently installed CEO, Jeff Morales,
was also in attendance. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/07/10/9  BY


Chevrolet steps up promotions to boost sagging market share.
Chevrolet will allow buyers to return their cars for a full
refund as long as they have less than 4,000 miles driven and no
damage. The offer is part of a new marketing program that
includes no-haggle pricing and is meant to increase Chevrolet
sales and reverse a market-share slide for the brand this year.
The “Love it or return it” program is good on new 2012 or 2013
model-year vehicles. Any returns have to be within 30 to 60 days
of the purchase date. The promotion runs through Sept. 4 and may
help Chevrolet sell off its remaining inventory of 2012 vehicles
as it transitions to the new model year. Posted.


UPDATE 1-Japan aims for $628 bln green energy market to boost
economy. TOKYO, Japan will aim to create a $628 billion green
energy market by 2020 through deregulation and subsidies to
promote development of renewable energy and low-emission cars, a
draft of the government's growth strategy showed. The government
will also work with the Bank of Japan to ensure the country exits
deflation and achieves stable price growth, according to the
draft obtained by Reuters on Tuesday. Posted.

Apple's withdrawal from "green" certification program surprises
purchasers.  After establishing itself as an environmental leader
among consumer electronics companies, Apple's (AAPL) abrupt
withdrawal from a prominent "green" product registry has set off
a furor in the blogosphere and could modestly cut into the
company's computer sales.  Apple's decision may be tied to the
design of the new MacBook Pros, which have batteries glued into
the case and can't be disassembled for recycling -- a violation
of the green certification standards of EPEAT, a nonprofit
product rating group backed by many manufacturers and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.  Posted. 


Legislature takes long view on high-speed rail. By approving the
first stretch of track for a bullet train system, Sacramento has
made a landmark choice, one that comes with vision, boldness and
sizable risks. California needs this transportation link in its
future - along with tough-minded management to make it happen.
The concept of 200-mph trains linking the northern and southern
population centers makes sense, as voters agreed in passing a
$9.9 billion bond measure in 2008. But poor oversight, rising
costs and a dose of NIMBY sniping have raised questions, not all
of them answered. Posted.

DYER: Wild weather can't prove global warming, but bet on it. It
was 107 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Louis, Missouri, last weekend,
about the same as in Saudi Arabia. Along the U.S. Atlantic Coast,
it was cooler, but not much: 105 degrees in Washington, D.C.,
just short of the city's all-time record. And 46 Americans were
already dead from the heat wave. In Britain, it was incredibly
wet. Almost 2.3 inches of rain fell on Saturday in parts of
southern England, and over 20 flood warnings and 100 flood alerts
were in effect. The wettest April ever was followed by the
wettest June (more than double average rainfall), and July has
started the same way. Posted. 

Editorial: Ban leaf blowers, or at least limit their usage.  The
subject blows into town every now and again, and we're hearing
its low roar once again--residents are complaining about the
noise and air pollution caused by gas-powered leaf blowers.  We
heard about it in a letter to the editor a couple of weeks back
from Tony Fiorentino, a 40-year Los Gatos resident, and now we've
heard about it again from longtime community volunteers Valerie
and John Hopkins in a letter responding to Fiorentino's original
correspondence.  Posted. 


Green Groups Plan Legal Challenge to Arctic Drilling. A coalition
of about a dozen environmental groups is preparing to file a
lawsuit as early as Tuesday seeking greater protections as Shell
prepares to begin drilling exploratory wells off the North Slope
of Alaska this summer, spokesmen for the groups said. The groups
— including Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council,
the Sierra Club, Oceana and the National Audubon Society — will
challenge the Interior Department’s approval of Shell’s plans for
responding to a potential spill. Posted. 

'Thank God' for high-speed rail funding, Gov. Jerry Brown says.
"It's a jobs creator, and thank God we got it," Gov. Jerry Brown
said of funding for high speed rail, narrowly approved by the
Legislature last week. He and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray
LaHood were at the Port of Oakland on Monday to take a victory
lap. The state Senate barely passed $8 billion in state and
federal spending on the bullet train and related transportation
projects on Friday, sending the bill to Brown for his signature.
The federal funding was contingent on the state allocating money.

Review: Insteon remote-control LED light bulb. The dream of a
fully technology integrated and automated home can make a tech
geek downright giddy: coffee machines that grind coffee and brew
at a set hour, power sockets with built-in USB outlets, steaks
cooked medium rare thanks to a Bluetooth thermometer. For every
person who thinks a thermostat that learns personal temperature
preferences is excessive, there's a tech geek who calls that
cool. Take the new LED bulb by Insteon. Released a couple of
weeks ago, this bulb can be turned on, off or dimmed by remote
control (included with bulb) or by iOS and Android apps. Posted.

Panasonic, Energizer, P&G Promise to Ramp Up Battery Recycling.
Panasonic, Duracell (Procter & Gamble), Energizer and Rayovac
today have announced an ambitious nationwide commitment to the
recycling of household batteries. Under the umbrella of the
Corporation for Battery Recycling (CBR), these four companies and
other stakeholder groups envision an industry-led voluntary
program that changes how American consumers dispose of household
batteries. CBR’s push is important because battery recycling is
still a pesky problem for manufacturers, retailers and
municipalities. Posted. 

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