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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 8, 2012. Posted: 08 Aug 2012 12:02:12
ARB Newsclips for August 8, 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 APNewsBreak: EPA sets rules for Navajo power plant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued its final rule aimed at cleaning up the largest single source of haze-causing pollutants in the country. Rather than mandate that the Four Corners Power Plant take one avenue to reducing nitrogen oxide emissions, the EPA is giving the plant's operators a choice, regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Arizona Public Service can either upgrade the five units at the northwestern New Mexico plant or go with its own plan to shut down three units and install controls at the two others. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/APNewsBreak-EPA-sets-rules-for-Navajo-power-plant-3771861.php RICHMOND REFINERY FIRE Residents near refinery fire heckle Chevron execs. A major fire at one of the country's biggest oil refineries that sent hundreds of people to hospitals with complaints of breathing problems will push gas prices above $4 a gallon on the West Coast, analysts said Tuesday. The fire, which sent plumes of black smoke over the San Francisco Bay area, erupted Monday evening in the massive Chevron refinery about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco. It was out early Tuesday. The West Coast is particularly vulnerable to spikes in gasoline prices because it's not well-connected to the refineries along the Gulf Coast, where most of the country's refining capacity is located, analysts say. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5htmfaAwPfdaugoy5MlWbS7BRHvVg?docId=94131f5fa89345d7a0d5c01f53d71ae4 OTHER RELATED STORIES http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/07/2942331/residents-near-refinery-fire-heckle.html#storylink=misearch http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/analysts-calif-refinery-fire-will-push-gas-prices-past-4-a-gallon-on-west-coast/2012/08/07/b58b1b7c-e0ef-11e1-8d48-2b1243f34c85_story.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/08/chevron-response-to-refinery-fire-under/#ixzz22yJ1Rj73 http://www.nctimes.com/business/chevron-response-to-refinery-fire-under-criticism/article_290de67b-f120-5d13-8bcc-5025e29259b6.html http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120808/WIRE/120809602 http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21260082/richmond-furious-crowd-confronts-chevron-refinery-government-officials Richmond: Air quality determined safe after Chevron refinery fire. The air quality in western Contra Costa County has been determined safe after test results for 23 petroleum-related pollutants were analyzed Tuesday after a fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond on Monday night, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The air quality has been tested and determined not to be a significant health concern, with potentially toxic pollutants found to be well under levels that could impact sensitive populations, the air district said in a statement. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21262924/richmond-air-quality-determined-safe-after-chevron-refinery CLIMATE CHANGE Ouch! July in US was hottest ever in history books. This probably comes as no surprise: Federal scientists say July was the hottest month ever recorded in the contiguous United States. The average temperature for the Lower 48 last month was 77.6 degrees. That breaks the old record from July 1936, during the Dust Bowl, by two-tenths of a degree. Records go back to 1895. Last month also was 3.3 degrees warmer than the 20th century average for July. The first seven months of 2012 were the warmest on record for the nation. And August 2011 through July this year was the warmest 12-month period on record. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_21263327/ouch-july-us-was-hottest-ever-history-books California Air Resources Board Maps Polluters. On the new Google Earth map are 625 facilities that each produce more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually. The map breaks down facilities by industry, air district, zip code and by types of emissions. Stanley Young with CARB says the information is the foundation of the state's Cap and Trade program, "The reason why the accuracy and stringency of the reporting is important is because that helps us establish their compliance obligation -… Posted. http://www.capradio.org/articles/2012/08/07/california-air-resources-board-maps-polluters http://www.equities.com/news/headline-story?dt=2012-08-08&val=355516&cat=materia http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/08/8 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY U.N. Climate Change Goals: U.S. Reaffirms Support After Criticism. The United States reaffirmed support for a U.N. goal of limiting global warming after criticism from the European Union and small island states that Washington seemed to be backing away. "The U.S. continues to support this goal. We have not changed our policy," U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said in a statement on Wednesday. Almost 200 nations, including the United States, have agreed to limit rising temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times to avoid dangerous changes such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/un-climate-change-goals_n_1754657.html DIESEL EMISSIONS Report: Pollution levels at Port of Long Beach show significant drops. The air in and around the Port of Long Beach is cleaner today than it was six years ago, according to an emissions inventory report released by harbor officials this week. The report showed significant drops in air pollution from 2005, including a 75 percent decrease in airborne diesel particulates, a 50 percent drop in nitrogen oxides, an 80 percent decrease in sulfur oxides and a 23 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions. It is the fifth straight year the port has shown improved pollution numbers, which port officials have attributed to its clean-air programs. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_21258887/report-pollution-levels-at-port-long-beach-show FUELS Mustard goes from sandwiches to biofuel to fertilizer. You can slather it on a ham sandwich, fuel up your pickup, maybe even kill the bugs in your garden. Ken Kimes has high hopes for mustard. Kimes is president of Farm Fuel Inc., which was founded in 2007 with the aim of growing mustard for biofuel. Five years later, the company is marketing mustard seed meal as an organic fertilizer and is looking into its potential to replace chemical fumigants in the production of strawberries and other crops. "It's showing good promise at knocking back soil diseases," said Kimes. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/08/4704779/mustard-goes-from-sandwiches-to.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/08/2942700/mustard-goes-from-sandwiches-to.html#storylink=misearch VEHICLES No support for low-speed electric vehicles in China. According Su Bo, the vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), based on the “Energy-Saving and New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan (2012-2020),” low-speed electric vehicles will not be the focus of China’s development of new energy vehicles. Low-speed electric vehicles will not be the path followed by China’s EV industry. Low-speed electric vehicles usually use lead-acid batteries, which are can cause pollution in some cities. MIIT requires that low-speed EVs improve their product quality to must meet safety standards and national standards. Posted. http://cars21.com/news/view/4848 Offsetting Emissions at the Pump In California. It is now possible to offset carbon emission at the pump while refueling for Fullerton, California residents who wishes to do so. Propel Fuels has become the first company to enable consumers to offset their driving emissions at the pump any time they fill their tank. Propel's flagship fuel station in Fullerton, Calif. offers customers the option to offset their carbon emissions by funding clean air projects through the Carbonfund.org Foundation. Since Propel launched CarbonOffset in May, customers have chosen to contribute $1 per fill to fully offset the emissions from their purchase more than one thousand times. Posted. http://www.hybridcars.com/news/offsetting-emissions-pump-california-49654.html HIGH-SPEED RAIL Merced City Council OKs time to plan high-speed rail station. The Merced City Council recently approved $50,000 in staff time over three years to help move ahead with plans for the construction and development of Merced's high-speed rail station. The funding is to be used in conjunction with a $600,000 grant from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, for hiring a consultant on the project. A request for proposals will be out by September, and the project should be under way by the start of next year. The final planning documents will be put together with significant input from the community, said Elaine Post, development manager for Economic Development Department. Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/08/07/2463286/merced-city-council-oks-time-to.html GREEN ENERGY Black Hills to close 2 Wyo. coal-fired power units. Black Hills Corp. plans to close two coal-fired power units in Wyoming by early 2014 because the company says it would be too expensive to bring them in line with new Environmental Protection Agency pollution rules. The Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/QfecwE ) reported Wednesday that the units slated for closure are the Osage plant and one of six power stations at a complex in Gillette. The Osage plant has been idle since October 2010 but Black Hills has continued to maintain it. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Black-Hills-to-close-2-Wyo-coal-fired-power-units-3772165.php Garbage drops as CA's recycling goal grows. Californians have slashed the amount of stuff they throw away each day, pushing per capita disposal rates down to a record low last year even though the economy picked up steam. It’s a good showing — but residents aren’t doing nearly as well as they might have thought, and state officials are asking for help to dramatically boost waste reduction and recycling by 2020. That likely will result in a suite of new rules, programs and fees designed to improve reuse of materials and minimize the need for more landfills. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/aug/05/how-can-california-boost-recycling/ SD council struggles with green grades in 2011. Environmental groups on Thursday issued their annual report card for the San Diego City Council and mayor. Only a couple of leaders got the kind of grades they would want to show their parents. Council members Marti Emerald and Todd Gloria each pulled in a B grade. David Alvarez, chairman of the council’s natural resource committee, was given a C-plus. Otherwise, it was D's and F's. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/aug/02/sd-council-struggled-green-grades/ Bill Clinton comparing US foreign green energy use. Former President Bill Clinton says U.S. renewable energy efforts lag behind those in other countries, and he says action, cooperation and "thinking big" are needed to change the future. Clinton also told an audience at the fifth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on Tuesday that government can help. He says tax incentives are important, and countries like Germany and China have used them to become leaders in solar power around the world. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/07/bill-clinton-comparing-us-foreign-green-energy/#ixzz22yKAatQK Mitt Romney's green-jobs criticism carries risks. Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has been savaging what it calls President Barack Obama's "unhealthy" obsession with "green jobs." The Republican challenger criticizes the government program that propped up solar manufacturer Solyndra, and he mocks Obama's vision of a boom in employment, citing a European study to argue that new solar or wind-energy positions would destroy jobs elsewhere. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/07/romneys-green-jobs-criticism-carries-risks/#ixzz22yKuBfWQ MISCELLANEOUS California Air Resources Board to host mobile Ag regulation workshops. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will host the first public workshops to discuss In-Use Self-Propelled Off-Road Mobile Agricultural Equipment Regulation (mobile Ag regulation) on Sept. 6 in the Central Valley and via webcast. The workshops will discuss how to reduce oxides of nitrogen emissions and particulate matter from in-use off-road diesel agricultural equipment. Posted. http://www.californiaagnet.com/pages/landing_news?California-Air-Resources-Board-to-host-m=1&blockID=625529&feedID=2523 OPINIONS The Silver Lining in the Drought. FROM where I sit on the north end of America’s grain belt, I can almost hear the corn popping to the south of me. The drought threatens to drive up global corn prices beyond their level in 2007-8, when food demonstrations broke out around the world. But such crises often lead to change — and transformation is what is needed to make our food system less vulnerable. We have become dangerously focused on corn in the Midwest (and soybeans, with which it is cultivated in rotation). This limited diversity of crops restricts our diets, degrades our soils and increases our vulnerability to droughts. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/opinion/the-droughts-alert-for-corn.html?_r=1 Tobacco companies fight to keep smoke in our eyes -- and lungs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control had some good news for the health of the American public this week: Its graphic commercials showing the ravages of smoking-related illness are having a dramatic effect on people's desire to quit, according to a story published this week by USA Today. It's hard to ignore a real-life throat-cancer patient who speaks in a barely comprehensible rasp as she dons her wig, her false teeth and an artificial larynx for the day. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-smoking-cancer-commercials-20120807,0,3406673.story FORUM: How to gain energy independence. Many people are heading to the beach or mountains this summer. I decided to break out of the usual vacation routine this year. I went to Washington, D.C., so I could talk to members of Congress about climate change and energy policy. That may not sound like much fun but I had a blast, and in the process I discovered that there is hope for a better future if enough of us engage in a meaningful conversation with our government. A little background: In 1977, Jimmy Carter was president. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/forum-how-to-gain-energy-independence/article_efc7c24f-6fa4-5625-b49b-789a4d7171d0.html Opinion: Thomas L. Friedman: Getting natural gas right. We are in the midst of a natural gas revolution in America that is a potential game changer for the economy, environment and our national security -- if we do it right. The enormous stores of natural gas that have been locked away in shale deposits across America that we've now been able to tap into, thanks to breakthroughs in seismic imaging, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," are enabling us to replace much dirtier coal with cleaner gas as the largest source of electricity generation in America. And natural gas may soon be powering cars, trucks and ships as well. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_21255766/opinion-thomas-l-friedman-getting-natural-gas-right For the Next Audit—The Air Resources Board. Last week, the Department of Finance concluded a quick audit of the Special Funds portion of the budget that, whether sufficient to look into the situation or not, hopefully will start a trend in performing audits on government program revenues and costs. Next in line should be an audit on the California Air Resources Board, which the Joint Legislative Audit Committee is considering in a hearing today. Many in the business community are concerned with the lack of transparency on CARB’s responses to information regarding the use of administrative fees charged to California businesses under AB 32, the landmark greenhouse gases law. Posted. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2012/08/for-the-next-audit-the-air-resources-board/ The U.S. keeps passing more and more renewable energy milestones. So there’s this new television show on NBC called “Power Off” or something that’s been heavily advertised during the Olympics. (That’s not it’s name, but I can’t be bothered to look it up. If you want to, go nuts.) The premise appears to be that the world loses all of its power. It’s not clear why. So everyone runs around fighting with bows and arrows, because I guess guns use electricity now. I raise that TV show both to make fun of it and to assuage any concerns that it might have prompted. Don’t worry, America. We’re getting better and better at making electricity. Posted. http://grist.org/news/the-u-s-keeps-passing-more-and-more-renewable-energy-milestones/ BLOGS Sparing Sewers All That Restaurant Grease. Every hour of every day, plants across the United States treat the waste that flows through the nation’s sewers. The process is energy-intensive. Wastewater treatment plants often consume more electricity than any other service a city provides — sometimes even as much as 30 to 40 percent of its overall energy consumption, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In a push to produce more of its own energy, a wastewater treatment plant in Gresham, Ore., is turning to an unlikely source to generate power: the gray-white grease-filled wastewater that flows out of restaurants and other places where food is prepared. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/sparing-sewers-all-that-restaurant-grease/ Senate committee approves $2,500 federal tax credit for electric two-wheelers. Last week, the Senate Finance Committee approved a federal tax credit worth 10 percent of the price of electric bikes and motorcycles, up to a maximum of $2,500. If the bill passes, it would end an existing electric vehicle tax credit for golf carts that can't be taken on public highways, unlike electric bikes. The committee approved the amendment by a voice vote as part of a broader package of tax measures after a debate over whether e-bikes are worth it. Creating more U.S. jobs, and not losing them overseas, was cited as a reason for supporting it. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/08/07/senate-committee-approces-2-500-federal-tax-credit-for-electric/ Federal vehicle fleet larger, but more fuel-efficient. Federal agencies have been making their vehicle fleets more fuel-efficient in recent years but the number of those vehicles has been growing, a study for Congress has found. The Government Accountability Office reported that the percentage of agency fleet vehicles using alternatives to conventional gasoline or diesel fuel rose from 14 to 33 percent over 2005-2011. That increase followed a series of laws and directives stretching back 20 years aimed at reducing the government’s fuel consumption. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/federal-vehicle-fleet-larger-but-more-fuel-efficient/2012/08/07/18d84a98-e0bd-11e1-a19c-fcfa365396c8_blog.html New Tool Maps California’s Biggest Greenhouse Gas Emitters. Wondering where all the petroleum refineries are located in California? Curious about which industries in your area emit the most greenhouse gases? Or which counties have the most big industrial polluters, and which don’t have any at all? A new interactive map from the California Air Resources Board taps the versatility of Google Earth software to transform eye-glazing spreadsheet data into a visual, if wonky, feast. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/08/07/new-tool-maps-californias-biggest-greenhouse-gas-emitters/ http://isun.blogs.mydesert.com/2012/08/07/check-out-greenhouse-gas-emitters-in-the-coachella-valley Chevron Refinery Fire: Health Impact. Since Monday’s fire erupted just after 6pm, more than 600 people have been treated in emergency departments at Kaiser in Richmond and Doctors Medical Center in nearby San Pablo for symptoms caused by the Chevron refinery fire. One of them was Point Richmond resident Cheri Edwards. “The smoke was kind of like an oily smell, it was an oily smell, and I have asthma really bad. And right now I’m at the bus stop trying to go to Kaiser because I have been having respiratory problems.” Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth/2012/08/07/chevron-refinery-fire-health-impact/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FStateOfHealth+%28KQED%27s+State+of+Health%29