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newsclips -- Newsclips for July 23, 2012

Posted: 23 Jul 2012 11:11:40
ARB News Clips for July 23, 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.


APNewsBreak: EPA reviewing rule on toxic air pollution; standards
for future plants targeted.  The Environmental Protection Agency
is reviewing part of a controversial rule that sets the first
federal standards to reduce toxic air pollution from power
plants.  The rule, issued in December, is aimed at curbing
mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power
plants. The Obama administration calls the rule a sensible step
to reduce pollution, but Republicans have denounced it as a part
of a “war on coal.” The rule could force hundreds of the nation’s
oldest and dirtiest power plants to clean up or shut down. 

Spin cycle begins anew as EPA takes second look at mercury rule. 
Industry representatives and environmentalists are scrambling to
make sense of U.S. EPA's announcement of a plan to take another
look at portions of a mercury rule for new power plants.   In a
letter to petitioners Friday, EPA air chief Gina McCarthy painted
the reconsideration as limited in scope.  EPA would review some
provisions of the mercury and air toxics rule that it finalized
in December that deal with how toxics from new power plants would
be measured, McCarthy wrote. The reconsideration may lead to
changes in the rule, she said, but they will be "largely
technical in nature"(Greenwire, July 20).  Posted.  SUBSCRIPTION
ONLY.   http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/07/23/1 

Department of Pesticide Regulation Air Monitoring Shows
Pesticides Well Below Health Screening Levels.  The California
Department of Pesticide Regulation issued the following news
release: Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) Director Brian
R. Leahy announced today that air monitoring of nearly three
dozen pesticides in California for the past year shows residues
well below levels established to protect human health and the
environment.  "We're pleased the results indicate a low health
risk to residents of the communities where monitoring stations
are located," Leahy emphasized. "This information is essential to
help us evaluate whether our restrictions on pesticide
applications are protective over the long term."  Posted. 

Beijing's smog-cutting efforts significantly cut emissions.  As
the London Olympics near, lessons can be learned from 2008, when
Beijing hosted the games, on how to cut the environmental
footprint of the world's foremost international athletic event, a
recent study suggests.  Large numbers of trucks and cars were
ordered to stay out of the city before Beijing hosted the
Olympics four years ago. The city made the move largely in an
effort to avoid tainting air that athletes would breathe and
possibly to avoid negative press.  Posted.  SUBSCRIPTION ONLY. 

Where the breathing isn't easy.  As the relentless wind stirs up
piles of dust and dirt and creates a gigantic funnel of haze in
the vast, sweltering Imperial Valley, children like Marco
Cisneros battle to breathe.  Marco wheezes and coughs and reaches
desperately for his inhaler, but the medication doesn't always
give him the relief he needs. Often, his mother has to call 911. 
Since being diagnosed with severe asthma six years ago, Marco,
who lives in this border town east of San Diego, has visited the
hospital nearly 50 times. He has been airlifted on several
occasions. The illness has affected much of his childhood,
preventing him from playing sports, going to friends' houses and
attending school for days at a time. Posted. 


For Ecuadorian village, a struggle to adapt to changing climate. 
Frosts aren't on time for the 960 people living in this tiny,
remote village, hidden on a chilly, windswept mountain ridge in
South America.  A minor problem? Maybe for some. But in the
Andean community, 8,800 feet above sea level, frosts - and their
impact on crop cycles - are kind of a big deal.  In this
agricultural community, crops are planted during the full moon, a
tradition meant to help ensure a full harvest. But these days,
the harvests aren't as full.  Village residents say it's the mark
of climate change descending upon the Ayaloman people.  Posted. 


Driving on borrowed time: Nonprofits deal with new emission
standards.  New Beginnings Christian Church's 1979 Peterbilt only
has a couple of years to live. Whether it will be sold for parts
or left to rot in a junkyard isn't yet known, but one thing is
certain: In 2015, the big shiny semi won't be on the road
anymore.  Most people don't think twice about the trucks used to
haul goods, but nonprofit organizations in Bakersfield are coming
to terms with the fact that come 2015, they may no longer be able
to use the vehicles they have depended on for years.  Posted. 


Experts: Some fracking critics use bad science.  In the debate
over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones
accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents
sometimes mislead the public, too.  Critics of fracking often
raise alarms about groundwater pollution, air pollution, and
cancer risks, and there are still many uncertainties. But some of
the claims have little - or nothing- to back them.  For example,
reports that breast cancer rates rose in a region with heavy gas
drilling are false, researchers told The Associated Press.  Fears
that natural radioactivity in drilling waste could contaminate
drinking water aren't being confirmed by monitoring, either.  And
concerns about air pollution from the industry often don't
acknowledge that natural gas is a far cleaner burning fuel than
coal.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:





Rowland Unified gets millions in grants for green school buses. 
Rowland Unified School District is taking steps to turn its big
yellow school buses green.  The district recently received $2.5
million in grants to buy cleaner buses. The new buses are fueled
by compressed natural gas, known as CNG, eliminating the dirty
diesel that powered the old buses.  Rowland Unified sees the
buses as one more step in its green initiative. Studies show CNG
buses emit significantly less pollutants such as carbon dioxide,
carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.  Posted. 

How to standardise EV charging payment systems?  Despite the more
than 10, 000 installed public charging stations, finding a
charging station where you can actually plug-in can be
challenging in the San Francisco Bay Area. Why? Because many
different services currently exist for EV charging, and each has
a different payment system. Below cars21.com reviews the most
popular ones.  Up until now the most common charging payment
system was to subscribe to a charging company operating charging
stations (such as Ecotality or ChargePoint). Using this system
subscribers receive a Radio-frequency identification (RFID) card
that works only at the charging points operated by the company
with which they have a service contract. This means that if you
drive to a city where your company has no charging point you
might get stuck.  Posted.  http://cars21.com/news/view/4798 

Why Do Zipcar Users Abuse the Cars? 4 Lessons For the Access
Economy.  The access economy could easily become a theme for a
new season of In Treatment with its ongoing trust and behavioral
issues. This week it lay on the couch while two researchers tried
to figure out why consumers don’t take good care of their
Zipcars. Ultimately Prof. Fleura Bardhi and Prof. Giana Eckhardt
hoped to learn how consumer-object and consumer-to-consumer
relationships work in the sharing economy overall. For starters,
they found that although Zipcar attempts to build a brand
community, consumers currently do not want this type of
engagement.  Posted. 


'Green' homes sell for 9 percent more, study says.  California
homes that meet environmental standards, such as energy
efficiency and proximity to public transportation, are selling at
higher prices than homes that don't, according to a new report. 
The study, conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley and UCLA,
looked at homes that were labeled green by LEED, GreenPoint Rated
and Energy Star - rating systems that give green label
certifications to homes. To be certified, each rating system has
a list of criteria homes must meet, including well-insulated
ceilings and walls and energy-efficient lighting.  Posted. 

County protects farmland from solar development.  The Kern County
Board of Supervisors approved a compromise plan Tuesday that will
guide solar project developers who want to build large-scale sun
farms on valley farmland.  Some solar power developers and
farming interests grudgingly supported the policy, developed by
the Kern County Planning Department, which would set up a pathway
for developers and planners to follow to determine what farmland
is best to build solar power plants on.  The "pathway," said
Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt, would use Department of
Conservation classifications of farmland in Kern County to
determine whether a development would require stiff mitigation or
could be developed without special consideration.  Posted. 


We’re All Climate-Change Idiots.  CLIMATE CHANGE is staring us in
the face. The science is clear, and the need to reduce
planet-warming emissions has grown urgent. So why, collectively,
are we doing so little about it?  Yes, there are political and
economic barriers, as well as some strong ideological opposition,
to going green. But researchers in the burgeoning field of
climate psychology have identified another obstacle, one rooted
in the very ways our brains work. The mental habits that help us
navigate the local, practical demands of day-to-day life, they
say, make it difficult to engage with the more abstract, global
dangers posed by climate change.  Posted. 

AB32's downside.  Two recent studies have confirmed that
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) will have
devastating effects on the state’s economy.  It was a big red
flag when the California Air Resources Board, which enforces the
law, estimated in 2010 that it would reduce the state’s economic
output by 0.2 percent.  Now, studies conclude the economic harm
will be staggering from enforcement of the act. AB32 ironically
threatens to worsen what it ostensibly was created to correct,
fuel shortages and an increase in global emissions.  Posted. 

Why is the U.S. government so bullish on coal predictions?  U.S.
energy policies prop up coal consumption in a variety of ways,
some clear and some less so. For example, the Bureau of Land
Management has lately come in for a drubbing for leasing public
lands to coal mining companies at comically low rates, and to the
detriment of taxpayers.  Official bullishness on coal extends to
other government agencies too, such as the Department of Energy,
which produces the nation’s energy forecasts. If you sift through
the new coal projections in the Energy Information
Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2012, you’ll find
something rather curious: The U.S. government has a more
favorable outlook for coal than virtually any other major
forecasting institution.  Posted. 

Our View: How to choke California's economy.  Two recent studies
conform California's Global Warming Solutions Act will have
devastating effects on the state's economy, and even be
counterproductive in its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 It was a big red flag when the California Air Resources Board,
which enforces the law, estimated in 2010 that it would reduce
the state's economic output by 0.2 percent. It should have raised
more eyebrows than it did when bureaucrats and regulators tasked
with putting the best face on its consequences admitted it will
have a negative economic effect.  Posted. 


Climate Change and the American Political Agenda.  Just as the
movie massacre in Colorado reminds us that the assault weapon ban
has not been discussed in the presidential campaign, the intense
storms and heat this summer remind us that climate change is a
phrase that seems to have been banned on the campaign trail. The
ability of powerful economic interests to control America's
political agenda is not news, but the degree to which facts and
science are willfully denied seems to be getting worse.  Posted. 

E.P.A. to Consider Relaxing an Air Pollution Rule.  The
Environmental Protection Agency announced on Friday afternoon
that it would review its new standards for mercury, soot and
other emissions for a handful of proposed new coal-burning power
plants.  The review will delay the implementation of the
regulation for the new plants for at least three months while
experts determine whether the emissions limits may safely be
relaxed.  The agency said the action was a “routine”
reconsideration of technical standards based on new information
received after the adoption of the so-called mercury rule late
last year. The review will affect five planned power plants in
Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Utah.  Posted. 

When Beijing Cleared the Air.  As the Olympic Games draw near in
London and some fret about the environmental impact, it might be
instructive to look back on the measures taken when Beijing
played host in 2008.  It’s not likely that the organizers in
Beijing were thinking about climate change when they ordered
large numbers of cars and trucks to stay out of the city before
the games began. One suspects that they were more worried about
harm to the country’s image, if the world watched athletes
struggling to compete while inhaling dirty air.  Posted. 

Solar Power: China Might Be Stepping Up Its Green Energy Game. 
China, it appears, might be ready to step up and do its part in
deploying more of the vast solar photovoltaic capacity it is
producing. Will it be enough to make everything OK in the
beleaguered solar manufacturing sector? No, but it sure won’t
hurt.  Earlier this month, China’s renewable energy division put
out word that the country would boost its target for solar energy
installation to 21 gigawatts in the current five-year plan, which
runs through 2015.  Posted. 

Scalers Union Tells Clean Harbors to Clean Up its Act.  ILWU
Local 56 Scalers Union and other labor demonstrators held a press
conference outside the Clean Harbors Environmental Services
facilities in Gardena as a warning to clean up their act. A long
history of environmental violations trail the Massachusetts based
environmental services company, ranging from the Department of
Toxic Substances Control, California Air Resources Board, and the
state’s Water Resources Board.  “We’re here to warn the harbor
community that Clean Harbors has a spotty record when it comes to
protecting workers and the public,” said Ruben Hurtado, Business
Agent and Dispatcher at Local 56.  Posted. 

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