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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 27, 2012

Posted: 27 Jul 2012 11:40:36
ARB News Clips for July 27, 2012

This is a service of the California Air Resources Boardís Office
of Communications.  You may need to sign in or register with
individual websites to view some of the following news articles.

Years into grant to reduce emissions in Santa Cruz, meager
returns realized. In 2008, a regional agency aimed at reducing
air pollution awarded a $120,000 grant to get Santa Cruzans to
team up during commutes, reducing traffic and helping the
environment. The award had lofty goals - cut vehicle emissions by
16 tons over the five-year life of the grant by getting 1,900
carpoolers to sign up through the Regional Transportation
Commission, an agency comprised of local elected officials that
plays a big role in local transportation issues. Posted. 

EPA expands comment period on power plants rule. Federal
officials considering new air-quality requirements for three
Arizona power plants are giving the public more time to comment
and more places to do so. At issue are proposals to require
additional pollution controls at the Apache Generating Station
near Cochise, the Coronado Generating Station near St. Johns and
the Cholla Power Plant near Holbrook. The Environmental
Protection Agency extended the public comment period by about two
weeks to Sept. 18. And it's adding public hearings in August in
Holbrook and Benson to one already scheduled in Phoenix. Posted. 


Strong storms threaten ozone layer over U.S., study says. Strong
summer storms that pump water high into the upper atmosphere pose
a threat to the protective ozone layer over the United States,
researchers said Thursday, adding that the risk of damage may
increase as the climate warms. In a study published online by the
journal Science, Harvard University scientists reported that some
storms send water vapor well into the stratosphere -- which is
normally drier than a desert -- and showed how such events could
rapidly set off ozone-destroying reactions with chemicals that
remain in the atmosphere from CFCs, the now-banned refrigerant
gases. Posted. 


Ethanol Makers' Long Hot Summer. Record corn prices and sluggish
gasoline demand are squeezing profits for U.S. ethanol companies,
prompting some producers to idle plants or slow production.
Valero Energy Corp., VLO +0.98% Abengoa Bioenergy US Holding Inc.
ABG.MC +4.30% and Nedak Ethanol LLC have idled plants since
mid-June, citing poor market conditions for the corn-based fuel
additive. And Archer Daniels Midland Co., ADM +0.74% the biggest
U.S. ethanol producer by capacity, said that its ethanol margins
had eroded to a loss of well over 20 cents a gallon. Posted. 

3 obstacles remain for Shell's offshore plans. With the clock
ticking on a short season for Arctic drilling, Shell Oil Co. is
facing a triple threat of complications in its quest to explore
for oil this year off Alaska's northern coast. Sea ice is
lingering a bit longer than usual. A problem with a permit
regulating air pollution on one of its drill ships remains
unresolved. And an oil spill containment barge still isn't ready.
Shell remains confident it will be able to work in its Arctic
drilling sites this year, said Pete Slaiby, the Shell vice
president who oversees Alaska. Posted. 


July auto sales look strong despite economic jitters. The
economic news remains mixed, but that hasnít slowed car buyers
down in July. With another weekend to go, industry analysts say
sales remain comparatively strong and it is consumers who are
fueling the industry. No, this isnít the roaring market of decade
ago, but it is healthy by post-recession, sluggish-growth
standards. Market research firm J.D. Power & Associates estimates
that new-vehicle retail sales will reach about 969,200 units this
month. While thatís a slight dip from June it still represents an
18% gain from a year ago. Posted. 


China-Europe Relations Tested in Solar Dispute. Chinese solar
panel manufacturers Thursday called on Beijing to begin talks
with the European Union to prevent what they said would be the
largest trade dispute in the history of China-Europe relations.
Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co., Suntech Power Holdings Co., STP
+2.56% Trina Solar Ltd. TSL +3.65% and Canadian Solar Inc. CSIQ
-3.73% said in a joint statement that an investigation into
dumping allegations could trigger a trade war between China and
the EU, "which would cause huge losses for both parties." Posted.

China solar panel makers say dispute with EU risks trade war,
urge Beijing to pursue talks. Chinese solar panel makers are
urging Beijing to seek talks with the European Union over a
dispute they say threatens to escalate into a trade war. Four big
solar panel manufacturers issued a joint statement Thursday
appealing for both sides to resolve the disagreement over
allegations they receive illegal subsidies and dump their
products in the European market. Posted. 

Christie vetoes clean energy bill again. New Jersey Gov. Chris
Christie has vetoed legislation again that would have kept the
state in a multistate clean air program. The bill required New
Jersey to remain a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
(RGGI), a regional pact to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and
fund clean energy projects. The veto came as no surprise since
Christie pulled New Jersey from the 10-state pact in December and
vetoed a similar bill last August. The governor says the program
amounted to a tax on electricity use without reducing carbon
emissions. Posted. 

5 High-Tech Summer Energy-Efficiency Boosts for Your Home.
"Green" technology can turn the hot weather baking much of
America this summer from a drag on your home's air-conditioning
bill to a source of free solar energy -- if you know what
improvements to make. "Green upgrades can give you a good return
on investment, a lifestyle that's more pleasant and let you feel
good about what you're doing to help the environment," says
Harvey Sachs, senior fellow at the American Council for an
Energy-Efficient Economy. Posted. 


Marine Highway opening. Barge M580-A lay quietly at her new home
Thursday, tied up at the east end of the mile-long dock on Rough
and Ready Island. Capable of carrying up to 9,000 tons of cargo,
the massive, rust-colored hulk, whose life work until now had
been hauling logs along Northwest waterways, is the last major
piece of the Port of Stockton's Marine Highway project, arriving
Wednesday night. Posted. 

LIBERTY QUARRY: Supervisors feuding over revised plan. A rift has
developed between two Riverside County supervisors over
re-submitted plans for the Liberty Quarry. Supervisor John
Benoit, who represents desert cities, is supporting efforts to
fast track plans for the Temecula-area open pit gravel mine. But
Supervisor Jeff Stone, who represents Temecula and has been one
of the boardís leading quarry opponents, said Benoit should not
try to fast-track projects in his district. Posted. 


China's Canadian Energy Play. President Obama may not want to
exploit the energy buried in Canada's Alberta oil sands, but
China sure does. Think of Monday's $15.1 billion offer by China's
state-owned Cnooc to buy Canadian energy giant Nexen as a
post-Keystone XL Pipeline bid to replace the U.S. as Canada's
biggest energy investor and market. Nexen offers Cnooc a sweeping
North American energy footprint, with assets from heavy oil and
shale gas in Alberta to offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dirty but essential -- that's coal. Standing in the dispatch
office of the North Antelope Rochelle Mine near Gillette, Wyo.,
Scott Durgin pointed at a flat-panel display. The regional vice
president for Peabody Energy smiled. The most productive coal
mine in the world was on target. Since midnight, about one train
an hour had been loaded, each carrying about 16,000 tons of coal.
I asked Durgin how long Peabody could continue mining in the
region. Easily for five more decades, he replied. "There's no end
to the coal here." Posted. 

Today in coal: Americans hate it, India hates it, Siberia hates
it. Three updates on the coal industry. If you canít be bothered
to read the whole thing, hereís a summary. Coal: Ugh. Americans
see more future in renewables. A poll from Rasmussen Reports
indicates that Americans see investment in renewables as a better
plan than investment in fossil fuels like coal. A new Rasmussen
Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% say investing in
renewable energy sources like solar and wind is a better
long-term investment for the United States than investing in
fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil. Posted. 


Court Rejects a Ban on Local Fracking Limits. A Pennsylvania
court on Thursday struck down a provision of a state law that
forbade municipalities to limit where natural gas drilling can
take place within their boundaries. The law, known as Act 13 and
approved in February, required that drilling be allowed in all
zoning districts, even residential areas, although with certain
buffers. The law had been sought by drillers who have been
fracking in the Marcellus Shale and wanted uniformity in rules on
where they could drill. Posted. 

Hydrogen fuel cells may get a shot at batteries after all. He'll
never use the word "fracking," but thanks to that new drilling
technique, the U.S. Secretary of Energy now admits he's changed
his mind about hydrogen fuel cells. That's because the abundance
of natural gas now being retrieved from shale also provides an
enormous source of hydrogen that, when coupled with new reforming
technology, produces energy with a low carbon footprint. When
Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, was named Secretary
of the Department of Energy in the Obama Administration, he
quickly redirected much of the Department's automotive research
efforts into battery electric vehicles. Posted. 

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