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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 1, 2012.

Posted: 01 Aug 2012 12:24:22
ARB Newsclips for August 1, 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.


Hopewell plant fined, improving pollution controls. A Hopewell
chemical plant has agreed to pay a $175,000 fine for alleged air
pollution violations. Under the agreement with federal officials,
Hercules Inc. has also agreed to add $200,000 in pollution
controls. The Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/Ol73hJ)
reports that the plant did not adequately limit emissions of
chemical pollutants and it had an inadequate system for detecting
leaks. Posted. 

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Liberty Quarry closer to fast-track approval.
Riverside County supervisors voted for a streamlined approval
process for the new Liberty Quarry application following a
daylong hearing featuring impassioned comments from members of
the public and elected officials alike. Their voices rising at
times, supervisors Tuesday, July 31, voted 3-2 to ask county
staff to begin the process of adding surface mines, such as the
quarry, to the list of projects eligible for fast-tracking, a
process that allows certain developments to bypass the Planning
Commission and head straight to the Board of Supervisors for
approval. Posted. 

Quebec plans to adopt air-quality policy. Quebec Environment
Minister Pierre Arcand has been a busy man over the last nine
days. As the clock ticks down to an expected election call
Wednesday, Arcand has criss-crossed the province, holding press
conferences to announce everything from the expansion of a
national park to increased funding for compost-treatment centres
to better-than-expected results from a campaign to reduce
plastic-bag use in Quebec. Posted. 

Air District Reaches Settlement with EPA on Challenge to Dust
Rules.  The Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (Air
District), together with the California Department of Parks and
Recreation (Parks), have entered into a settlement agreement with
the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will
resolve the Air District’s and Parks’ pending litigation in the
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Air
District and Parks had challenged EPA’s July 8, 2010 limited
disapproval of the Air District’s Regulation VIII fugitive dust
rules. Posted. 


California weighs giving away more CO2 permits.  In an effort to
dissuade companies in key industries facing new carbon costs from
leaving the state, California is considering giving them millions
of dollars’ worth of additional free greenhouse gas allowances,
state's air regulator said on Monday.  California's cap-and-trade
program seeks to emulate tactics used in the European Union and
Australia to address emission "leakage" - a term describing the
exodus of employers from a state or country in order to sidestep
environmental costs.  Posted. 

Planners mull report on climate change.  As California grows
warmer, nowhere will the increased temperatures be starker than
its arid Central Valley, where farmers will have to consider
whether the crops grown today will survive in a harsher
environment.  Rising sea levels will also flood coastal airports
and municipal sewage systems, while earlier springs will hasten
snow melt and reduce the state's capacity to generate
hydroelectric power in the summer months when it's needed most. 

California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate. 
Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for
California is bleak, according to new state-sponsored studies. 
Released Tuesday, the studies warn that California can expect
more scorching heat waves, severe wildfires and strain on the
electric grid as the Earth warms and sea levels rise along the
state's 1,100-mile long coast.  Higher temperatures in the coming
decade mean that many more of the state's 37 million people will
depend on air conditioning -- increasing demand for electricity
by up to 1 gigawatt during hot summer months. Posted.  

Calif. leaders brace for threats from air, land, sea. California
must start preparing now for a future that will be hotter and
drier because of climate change, state officials said yesterday.
Warmer temperatures are producing a number of threats, leaders
said, including accelerated sea-level rise, dangers to the power
supply and perils to the agricultural industry. "Climate change
is here now in California," said Ken Alex, director of the
state's Office of Planning and Research. "We need to adapt." The
assessment came as the California Energy Commission and Natural
Resources Agency released more than 30 studies on the effects of
climate change. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2012/08/01/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION

Texas, Calif. to face more climate-induced downpours – report.
Houston -- Climate change is causing heavier rainstorms to occur
more frequently across Texas and Southern California, according
to separate versions of a new report released yesterday. In
mid-July, the Houston area and much of the southeastern part of
the state received torrential downpours over successive days.
Manhole covers popped up onto some downtown streets where sewer
systems were overwhelmed, and in this city's northwest corner,
one of the hardest-hit areas, 100 homes were flooded when Cypress
Creek spilled over its banks. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/01/7 BY

Scientists examine California's vulnerability to climate change.
Fish biologist Peter Moyle says most native fishes, like this
cutthroat trout, will suffer population declines and some face
extinction from climate change. As climate change threatens to
reshape California’s landscape, University of California, Davis,
researchers are helping to inform policymakers about the state’s
vulnerability and provide strategies for adaptation. The UC Davis
research appears in a report, “Our Changing Climate,” released
today by the California Natural Resources Agency and the
California Energy Commission. Posted.
New study links wildfires and climate change. New study has found
a strong link between climate change and wildfire. It appears to
explain long-term changes in the frequency of fire over many
centuries, and it may explain what's been happening in the West
in recent years. "Climate ultimately drives fire," said Mitchell
Power, assistant professor of geography at the University of Utah
and curator of the Garrett Herbarium at the Natural History
Museum of Utah. Power is lead author of the new study which
explored lake-bottom sediments in hundreds of locations around
the world. Posted.

U.S. Drought and Climate Change: Science Points to Link. The
drought that’s turned most of the United States into a dessicated
hotbox may be a symptom of climate change, a brutal blowback from
carbon pollution. Climate scientists, who prefer to speak in
terms of probabilities and trends rather than single events, are
reluctant to point fingers at any one cause — but signs point to
human influence making a natural dry spell unnaturally severe.


Shell Oil scales back Arctic drilling plan. Shell Oil Co. is
downsizing its plan for off-shore drilling in the Arctic this
year amid delays completing a spill containment barge required by
the federal government, a spokesman said Tuesday. Shell now hopes
to complete two wells in 2012 instead of five. One would be in
the Beaufort Sea off the northern Alaska coastline, and the other
in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast between Alaska and
Russia. Posted. 


As Fleet Sales Stall, Automakers Report Mixed Results. Automakers
reported mixed results for their July sales in the United States,
as both General Motors and Ford posted declines due in part to
lower sales to rental fleets and other business customers. G.M.,
the nation’s largest automaker, said it sold 201,000 vehicles in
the month, down 6.4 percent from the same period a year ago. The
company said sales to retail customers increased slightly, but
fleet sales dropped 41 percent. Ford said its overall United
States sales declined 3.5 percent during the month to 166,000
vehicles. Ford also cited lower fleet sales as the prime reason
for the decrease. Posted. 

AUTOMOTIVE: Smaller Prius is gas stingy. Not counting plug-in
cars, the 2012 Toyota Prius c is the most gasoline-stingy auto on
the U.S. market, with a combined city/highway rating of 50 miles
a gallon, according to the federal government. Better yet, the
starting retail price of $19,710 means the Prius c has the
second-lowest base price of any gasoline-electric hybrid in the
country. No wonder the 2012 Prius c small hatchback with
four-cylinder engine mated to two electric motors and battery
pack is a compelling offering for budget-minded consumers and
environmentalists who want to reduce oil usage and air emissions.


High-speed rail will shift Highway 99 through Fresno. Caltrans
estimates that it will cost about $226 million and take up to
three years to relocate a stretch of Highway 99 through Fresno to
make way for high-speed train tracks. The estimate by the state's
transportation department includes acquiring the private property
needed to shove the freeway west by about 100 feet between Ashlan
and Clinton avenues in central Fresno, as well as building new
traffic lanes and demolition of the old highway, according to a
report to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Posted.


NE governors, Canadian counterparts talk energy. New England
governors and their eastern Canadian counterparts, who are eager
to export a growing overabundance of hydroelectric and wind
power, promised Monday to work together to increase the use of
clean energy throughout the region. During their 36th-annual
meeting, governors, eastern Canadian provincial leaders and their
representatives talked about the need to share energy resources
across state, provincial and international boundaries. Posted. 


Editorial: The challenge in reversing climate change denial. For
some people climate change is proving a godsend. Quebec wine
producers are glorying in a manifestly warming climate in the
province with a third consecutive warmer and drier summer
underway. This is boosting the yield of their vines and favouring
the production of vintages said to be exceptionally rounded and
full-bodied. Quebec’s environment ministry reported this week
that the province’s average temperature has risen by 1.6 degrees
Celsius between 1961 and 2010. Posted.  

Climate change takes back seat on campaign trail.  It’s been a
summer of discontent, with much of the country broiling under a
heat wave like few before. Out West, parched wildlands burn. In
the Midwest, farmers are sweating out another year of drought and
wilted crops.  Consumers are feeling it, too, as they fume over
rising food prices and muse about what’s behind the scorching
temperatures. Many scientists and environmentalists, and some
politicians, are sure of what’s at least partly to blame: climate
change.  Posted. 


A Glimpse of the Alternative Fuel Future. While a variety of new
fuel technologies are advancing, policymakers can be assured that
the internal combustion engine will remain dominant for decades,
the National Petroleum Council told the Department of Energy on
Wednesday in a report. The report from the council, an advisory
agency, was drawn up in response to requests from the Energy
Department for counsel on how to accelerate the adoption of new
fuels and technologies, from compressed natural gas to fuel cells
to biofuels, between now and 2050. Posted. 

India’s Long Struggle for Power. India’s power outages this week
were the nation’s largest, but they reflect a long-standing
national problem. “India has long struggled to provide enough
electricity to light its homes and power its industry around the
clock,” Vikas Bajaj wrote this April. “In recent years, the
government and private sector sought to change that by building
scores of new power plants,” he wrote, but that campaign “is now
running into difficulties because the country cannot get enough
fuel — principally coal — to run the plants.” Posted. 

White House honors California high-speed rail leader for
innovation. Although polls have shown that a majority of
California voters have soured on the state’s bullet-train
project, there is at least one place where it still has
overwhelming  political support: the White House. On Tuesday,
President Obama, whose high-speed-rail initiative has come off
the tracks in several parts of the country, named Dan Richard,
chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, a
“Transportation Innovator Champion of Change.” Posted. 

GE says WattStations not to blame for Nissan Leaf charging
problems. It's not us. That's what General Electric is saying
after reports surfaced that some charging stations – namely, its
GE WattStations – were causing the on-board charger in some
Nissan Leafs to be damaged. General Electric says it's a software
issue specific to Nissan's electric car, as proven by the fact
that no other types of electric vehicles suffered charger damage
after using a WattStation. Posted. 

In the light of day, that solar plan looks like cap-and-trade.
When it comes to global warming, I always thought it would be a
cold day in hell before I found myself agreeing with the Daily
Kos. But I found myself in agreement with what that liberal
website’s D.S. Wright had to say about our governor’s signing of
that solar-energy bill last week. In an article headlined “GOP
Keynote Speaker Bails out Solar Industry, Says Government Creates
Jobs,” Wright cited Chris Christie’s boasting of that bill’s
job-creation potential. Posted.

Connecting the Dots on Climate Change.  On Wednesday, the Senate
Environment and Public Works committee takes up the important
issue of climate change science and adaptation.  Hopefully, it's
a first step toward some real solutions to address record heat,
drought, storms and other effects of climate change that we're
now all experiencing first-hand.  When it comes to connecting the
dots between climate change and extreme weather, the lines are
now clear. What's also clear is that we can do something -- a lot
of things, actually -- to prevent more of the climate-change
related weather disasters we're experiencing.  Posted. 

Global Warming Debate Heats Up, Again.  A firestorm is raging
across the Internet after The New York Times ran an op-ed piece
by University of California Berkeley scientist Richard Muller. In
it, he explains why he turned from climate-change skeptic to
accepting the central role that humans play in warming the
planet.  Muller claims that a careful reanalysis of the data
collected from temperature stations led him to conclude that the
average global temperature "has risen by two and a half degrees
over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half
degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears
likely that essentially all of this increase results from the
human emission of greenhouse gases."  Posted. 

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