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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 10, 2012.

Posted: 10 Aug 2012 14:37:48
ARB Newsclips for August 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.


Spare the Air and power alert on Friday. High temperatures
predicted for the rest of the week prompted another Spare the Air
alert for the Bay Area on Friday, as well as the summer's first
Flex Alert, which asks Californians to conserve electricity. The
Flex Alert, in effect through Sunday, asks residents to avoid
using major electronic appliances and air conditioners from 11
a.m. to 6 p.m. to avoid overwhelming the state's power grid. Last
summer saw just two Flex alerts, said Stephanie McCorkle, a
spokeswoman for California's Independent System Operator, which
oversees the distribution of electricity. Posted.


Richmond: Air quality officials say pollution detected from
refinery fire. Richmond -- Air quality regulators say they were
wrong about pollution caused by the Chevron refinery fire in
Richmond. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District originally
said that air samples taken during Monday's fire showed that
toxic air contaminants were below levels considered safe by
federal health officials. On Thursday the district said its
"initial statement was incorrect." In one of eight samples taken
throughout Richmond, levels of the toxic compound acrolein were
above the federal standard. Posted.


Chevron response to fire threat probed. Investigators looking
into the fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond suspect
that heat insulation around a leaking pipe contributed to the
disaster by masking the extent of the danger until it was too
late, The Chronicle has learned. By underestimating the size of
the leak, initially believed to be about 20 drips per minute,
officials kept operating the refinery's large crude unit, where
crude oil is separated under heat reaching 1,100 degrees. Posted.


Tracy in race to be the "coolest" California city. TRACY -- The
city of Tracy is reducing its carbon footprint one step at a
time, and its efforts have put it in the running to be one of the
"coolest" cities in the state. The city has been selected as one
of the top four in California in the "CoolCalifornia Challenge,"
a months-long program that tests Californians to see if they can
reduce things like gas emissions, water usage and energy. The
city that reduces its footprint the most at the end of a given
month is awarded $10,000 to go toward an environmental project.

Did Climate Change Spur Plants to Migrate Uphill? In a section of
Southern California’s Santa Rosa Mountains, plants appear to have
been migrating uphill in recent decades, but the reason is
controversial. An early study attributed this shift to changes in
local climate, possibly due to urbanization or natural cycles,
but akin to changes expected as a result of human-caused global
warming. But another research team set out to refute that, saying
this claim overlooked a crucial dynamic in this area: fires.

Climate change is clouding Lake Tahoe’s future say researchers.
Natural forces and human actions have impacted the legendary
clarity of Lake Tahoe as well as its physics, chemistry and
biology since 1968, according to a report Thursday from the
University of California, Davis, which has been monitoring of
Lake Tahoe. While the clarity of Lake Tahoe's famed blue waters
has long been the most visible and widely used indication of the
lake's health, a range of environmental and water quality factors
is at play, the latest report says. Posted.

Will Climate Change Wipe Out Surfing? There is already evidence
that storms driven by climate change are causing bigger
swells—which makes surfers happy. What makes surfers worry is sea
level rise. Jacob Hechter is gingerly traversing the rocks on his
way out to Rincon, in Santa Barbara. Known as the Queen of the
Coast, Rincon is a 300-yard cobblestone point that lies at a
right angle to the rest of the Southern California coast,
catching swells and sending surfers barreling down its sweeping
curve. As he navigates the rocks, Hechter, a cartographer, muses
aloud about what climate change …Posted.


Truckers charged up. Tom Howard gestured toward his big rig.
"Step inside my office," he said. With pleasure. It was 75
degrees in the cab, unlike the broiling asphalt parking lot at
the Flying J truck stop. And Howard's "office" muffled the noise
of an endless parade of trucks outside. This is the comfort and
peace that a long-distance trucker needs to get a good night's
sleep. And on Thursday, it got a lot easier to rest while
complying with no-idling laws. Posted. 

Battling Air Pollution. (VIDEO) Word tonight of a new campaign to
clean up the valley's dirty air. The Air Resources Board is
working with the Highway Patrol, inspecting big rigs traveling
through Fresno on Highway 99. It's called the "Gear up for clean
trucks" campaign. The inspections also help keep truck drivers
safer, because officers check the fuel and brake lines on all the
big rigs inspected. Posted.

Incoming Big Rigs Undergo Emissions Tests. Local air quality
control went under the hood today, making sure big rigs are not
contaminating Valley resources. The Air Resources Board ordered a
mandatory inspection, of all trucks coming into Fresno on the 99
Freeway, to determine whether their engines were up-to-code on
exhaust emissions. Chief Tony Brasil said, "What we're trying to
do, is increase awareness, by making sure that the rules are
being met, so that truck owners take the actions needed, to
reduce emissions from their existing engines." Posted.

New Detroit DT12 transmission contributes to enhanced fuel
efficiency and performance for heavy-duty trucks. Detroit Diesel
Corporation, a Daimler company, is showcasing its DT12 automated
manual transmission for heavy duty trucks. Part of the Detroit
complete powertrain offering, the DT12 combines the operational
ease of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual
transmission, resulting in enhanced fuel economy, vehicle
performance and safety. Posted. 


Maersk's new fleet raises fuel efficiency. A.P. Maersk-Mřller
A/S's planned fleet of the world's largest container vessels will
be as groundbreaking for their shape as their size. The 20 ships
will be the first cargo-box carriers with rounded hulls rather
than streamlined V-shaped ones, according to Daewoo Shipbuilding
& Marine Engineering Co., which is developing the
18,000-container vessels. The change reflects a shift by
operators away from designing ships to go as fast as possible to
instead emphasizing fuel economy. "These vessels will be the
Prius of the seas," said Lee Jae Won, an analyst at Tongyang
Securities Inc. in Seoul. "They're fuel efficient and
environmentally friendly." Posted.

Gas prices rise; officials wait to enter refinery. A fire at one
of the nation's largest oil refineries helped push West Coast gas
prices close to $4 a gallon Thursday, as the same federal team
that investigated the Gulf Coast spill waited to inspect the unit
that was knocked out by the blaze. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board
team was standing by with state and company inspectors to do
structural and environmental tests to see if it was safe to enter
the unit and determine when production might resume after the
Monday night blaze. In all, five separate investigations will be
done. Posted.

ETHANOL: USDA predicts smallest corn crop in 6 years. In a report
closely watched by the livestock and ethanol industries, the
Agriculture Department today sharply reduced its projections of
this year's corn crop in response to the drought conditions in
the Midwest. Average corn yields per acre are expected to be
123.4 bushels, down 22.6 bushels from the forecast last month and
the lowest average yield since 1995. USDA also reduced its
forecast for total corn production for the 2012-2013 growing year
by 2 billion bushels. The crop is expected to be only 10.8
billion bushels -- the lowest figure since 2006. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/08/10/2  BY


Frito-Lay to add 45 electric delivery trucks to California fleet.
Frito-Lay plans to put 45 more electric delivery trucks on
California roads in the coming months, bringing its fleet of such
vehicles in the state to 105 by the end of the year. The trucks
are made by Smith Electric Vehicles, a private manufacturer in
Kansas City, Mo., that names its truck models after famous
inventors and scientists.  Its biggest truck is the Newton while
the smaller vehicle is called the Edison. The chip company uses
the Newton, which employs Lithium-ion battery cell technology and
is designed for urban settings with heavy “stop-and-go” driving.

Newark-based Envia, backed by GM, may have electric car
breakthrough. Detroit -- A small battery company backed by
General Motors is working on breakthrough technology that could
power an electric car 100 or even 200 miles on a single charge in
the next two-to-four years, GM's CEO said Thursday. Speaking at
an employee meeting, CEO Dan Akerson said the company, Newark,
Calif.-based Envia Systems, has made a huge breakthrough in the
amount of energy a lithium-ion battery can hold. Posted.

Study: Cleaner cars helping to reduce LA pollution. Los Angeles
-- The Los Angeles area still has some of the nation's dirtiest
air, but a study released Thursday concluded cars are belching
far fewer pollution-causing fumes. The level of dozens of
volatile organic compounds in the Los Angeles basin fell about 98
percent in the past 50 years, according to a study funded by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
"The reason is simple: Cars are getting cleaner," said a
statement from study co-author Carsten Warneke of the Cooperative
Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the
University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted.



ExxonMobil, climate change deniers and global warming--follow the
money. There is a strong, vocal group of climate change deniers
out there. Even while much of the reputable research supports
climate change, there are always those out there who can refute
its existence. To truly climate change deniers, follow the money.
Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil has long been a denier of global
warming. While he recently has admitted climate change’s
existence, he still doubts the data. Posted.


NASA's 'green' planetary test lander crashes. Earlier this week
NASA safely landed a robotic rover on Mars about 150 million
miles away. But on Thursday here on Earth, a test model planetary
lander crashed and burned at Kennedy Space Center in Florida just
seconds after liftoff. The spider-like spacecraft called Morpheus
was on a test flight at Cape Canaveral when it tilted, crashed to
the ground and erupted in flames. It got only a few feet up in
the air, NASA said. NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone said it appears
that the methane-and-liquid oxygen powered lander is a total
loss. Posted.


New high-efficiency gas power plant in Lodi ready for final
testing. California's largest single consumer of electricity
plans to eliminate 80 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by
2050. A new, highly efficient power plant outside Lodi will help
make that possible. The state Department of Water Resources uses
an average of 2,000 megawatts of power each day to pump water up
and down the state. About half of DWR's power comes from its own
hydroelectric plants, but the rest is purchased from others and
includes electricity produced from burning coal, considered a
major culprit in global warming. Posted.

Milpitas is new home to what's being billed as world's largest
recycling plant. Milpitas -- With conveyor belts whirring and new
equipment gleaming, a Phoenix-based recycling and trash-hauling
company on Thursday opened what it is billing as the largest
recycling plant in the world in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Republic Services, for years known as BFI, christened the $55
million facility on Dixon Landing Road in Milpitas, adjacent to
the Newby Island Landfill, which it also operates. The
80,000-square-foot recycling plant can process up to 420,000 tons
of waste a year…Posted.


Wind advocate joins Sierra Club Foundation board. The Sierra Club
Foundation announced today that offshore wind advocate Shirley
Weese Young will join its board of directors. Young, a
Chicago-based graphic designer, leads the Illinois Sierra Club
chapter's efforts to implement offshore wind energy in Chicago
and is active in the Illinois Wind Council. "As the Sierra Club
Foundation continues to fund projects that focus on ending our
dependence on coal and oil, we must also promote the right set of
clean energy solutions to replace them," Sierra Club Foundation
Executive Director Peter Martin said in a statement. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/08/10/7  BY

Heat wave prompts call for power conservation. California's
electricity grid manager urged residents statewide to conserve
power today as an extended heat wave is predicted to tax the
system. The California Independent System Operator declared a
"flex alert" that will last through Sunday. It asked people to
reduce electricity usage from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. Today
is expected to see the highest energy consumption of the
three-day alert period, the ISO said. It forecasted that
Californians will use a total 46,800 megawatts of electricity.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/08/10/22 BY


Eugene Robinson: Global warming is the new normal. Excuse me,
folks, but the weather is trying to tell us something. Listen
carefully, and you can almost hear a parched, raspy voice
whispering, "What part of 'hottest month ever' do you people not
understand?" According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, July was indeed the hottest month in the
contiguous United States since record-keeping began more than a
century ago. That distinction was previously held by July 1936,
which came at the height of the Dust Bowl calamity that
devastated the American heartland. Posted.

You thought Monday's Chevron fire was bad, look back to the '90s.
In fact, Monday's blaze is the first refinery accident to receive
the county's most severe designation -- Level 3 -- since a
similar fire struck the same facility in 1999. From 1992 to 1999,
Contra Costa's heavy-industry facilities endured 11 Level 3
incidents, killing six workers, injuring almost 50 others and
sending more than 23,000 residents to hospitals for treatment.
Industry experts and elected officials say the industrial safety
ordinance appears to have played a major role in making accidents
such as Monday's much more rare. Posted.


Editorial: Is California getting too much CARB? Powerful
pollution bureaucracy needs auditing, but Legislature’s ruling
Democrats refuse. Democratic government is accountable
government. Voters can make informed choices only if they know
what's going on with their tax dollars. Californians recently
have been learning about $54 million that was unspent by the
Department of Parks and Recreation, and about $37 billion in
"special funds" throughout state government that is spent without
oversight. But perhaps the biggest state bureaucracy that goes
unaccountable is the California Air Resources Board, headed by
Chairwoman Mary Nichols. Posted.

Editorial: Every month, it seems, sets new weather records.
Residents of the United States have just lived — or, more
accurately, sweltered — though the hottest month in the nation's
history. The average July temperature in the contiguous 48 states
was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th century
average for the month, according to records that go back to 1895.
The previous record was 77.4 in 1936, the depths of the Dust
Bowl. That 0.2 degree may seem small to the layperson, but
climate scientist Jake Crouch of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration called it "a pretty significant
increase over the last record.” Posted. 

Auto testing won’t cut smog. I’m writing in response to the
“Pollution Solution” article. Really, emission testing to clear
the air in Cache Valley! Let’s look at some of the facts. Can I
assume our air will be as clean as the air in Salt Lake Valley,
which has already been doing emission testing? In an article
dated July 22, County Executive Lynn Lemon stated that the
council would direct the board “to adopt and promulgate (to put a
law into effect by formal public announcement) rules and
regulations” ensuring compliance with the EPA and state
requirements related to emissions. Posted.

Public is tuning back in to the debate on climate change. Richard
Muller, a self-proclaimed “skeptic” on climate change, is having
a well-publicized road-to-Damascus moment. Muller, a physicist at
the University of California at Berkeley, has declared his
conversion to the long-accepted view of most climate scientists
that global warming is real and human activity is “almost
entirely the cause.” His conclusion: “You should not be a
skeptic, at least not any longer.” Posted.

Ethanol:  How government is making your food more expensive.
Middle America is in the middle of a drought, meaning that corn
production will fall to a 17-year low, according to an
Agriculture Department report. But a drought for some is a boom
for others, as farmers who do harvest corn this year will enjoy
record high prices. Projections show that corn prices may
skyrocket to about $8 a bushel and corn futures have already
risen to $8.29 a bushel. For farmers and ranchers, low yields and
higher prices are part of the risk involved in their livelihood,
but thanks to government ethanol standards they have another big
corn consumer causing higher prices. Posted.

Cap and Trade: California's Best Secret: A new statewide poll in
California has mixed results for those of us dedicated to
fighting climate change. While the good news is actually great
news, the bad news is a call to action. Let me start on the
upbeat side, which recognizes the magnitude of the issue. The
Public Policy Institute of California's 12th annual poll on
"Californians and the Environment" found that a strong majority
of Californians, 78 percent, thinks that the world's temperature
has probably increased over the last 100 years, versus 17 percent
who said it probably hasn't. Posted.


In Richmond, concern about air pollution goes beyond Chevron
fire. Pollution and the environment have always been big issues
for Californians. A statewide survey conducted by the Public
Policy Institute of California last month showed that
approximately half the state’s residents see air pollution as a
serious threat to their health. Among African Americans and
Latinos, concern is even greater.  The majority of those polled
in these groups believe that people in lower-income areas are
disproportionately affected by air pollution. Posted.

California Heats Up and That Means Health Risks. The rest of the
nation has sweltered this summer, but California has escaped
extreme heat — until now. The National Weather Service may not
have high-end graphics, but its map tells the story. The San
Joaquin Valley, starting south of Modesto, is colored a
brownish-red and that means excessive heat warning. Temperatures
are expected to exceed 100 degrees every day until Tuesday. The
bright pink areas indicate a heat “watch” (click here if you
don’t know the difference). This kind of heat is not just a
weather story, it’s a significant health and environment story
too. Posted.

Long Lease Announced for Major Port Tenant. Dole Fresh Fruit
Company, one of the Port of San Diego’s largest tenants and the
country’s largest banana importer and second-largest pineapple
importer, is set to sign a 24.5 year lease to keep operations in
San Diego. Dole controls nearly 22 acres at the Port’s Tenth
Avenue Marine Terminal, where 95,000 containers of fruit are
unloaded from ships annually. As part of the agreement, the Port
will spend up to $7 million in shore power equipment to service
Dole vessels, as required by California Air Resources Board
regulations. Posted.

NFL at Rose Bowl would increase traffic, noise: environmental
report. Pasadena would see a significant and unavoidable increase
in noise, traffic and air pollution if an NFL team were to play
at the Rose Bowl for up to five years, but the severest results
would be temporary and manageable, according to a report released
by the city of Pasadena Thursday. The environmental report is
part of a process to prepare for the possibility of hosting an
NFL team for up to five years while a permanent stadium is built
elsewhere in the region. Posted.

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