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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 17, 2012.

Posted: 17 Aug 2012 14:46:55
ARB Newsclips for August 17, 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.


EPA signs rule to cut haze in Big Sky Country. Federal regulators
have approved a new measure meant to help turn Montana's Big Sky
Country into Clear Sky Country by forcing industrial plants to
cut pollutants that make hazy skies over national parks and
wilderness areas. The Environmental Protection Agency rule has
been criticized by industry as too costly and by conservationists
and other federal agencies as not tough enough. The goal is to
restore visibility to natural conditions in national parks and
wilderness areas from Idaho to North Dakota. Posted.


Air pollution expected to be unhealthy today in foothills. Bad
air pollution is being forecast in three locations today by the
Butte County Air Quality Management District. The pollution will
be very unhealthy in Concow/Yankee Hill, unhealthy in Paradise,
and unhealthy for sensitive groups in Forest Ranch. Sensitive
groups are children and older adults and those with heart or lung
problems. They should reduce exertion in Forest Ranch, avoid it
in Paradise, and avoid all outside physical activity in
Concow/Yankee Hill. Posted.

Hot air makes hard breathing. A heat wave finally broke
Wednesday, Aug. 15, when daytime high temperatures in Tracy
dipped below the 100-degree mark for the first time since Aug. 9.
But the effects of the high temperatures are likely to linger.
According to Anthony Presto, spokesman for the San Joaquin Valley
Air Pollution Control District, the heat wave created the perfect
crucible for poor air in the Central Valley, combining stagnant,
hot conditions with emissions from tailpipes, fires and other
organic compounds. Ozone, “a corrosive gas that damages lung


AP IMPACT: CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low.  In a
surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being
released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically
to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the
biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led
many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.
Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the
drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of
market forces rather than direct government action against carbon
dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.







Forecast: US drought lingering but leveling off. The worst
drought in the U.S. in decades may be leveling off or even be
easing ever so slightly in some lucky locales, federal weather
forecasters announced Thursday in a report of little comfort for
farmers and ranchers who already have begun tallying this year's
losses. While the latest forecast from the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center calls for
the drought to linger in the nation's breadbasket …Posted.

Climate change driving Australian fish south.  Australian
scientists said Friday there was now "striking evidence" of
extensive southward migration of tropical fish and declines in
other species due to climate change, in a major ocean report
card.  Compiled by more than 80 of Australia's leading marine
experts for the government science body CSIRO, the snapshot of
global warming's effects on the island continent's oceans warned
of "significant impacts".  "Climate change is already happening;
widespread physical changes include rapid warming of the
southeast and increasing flow of the east Australia current," the
report said.  Posted. 

Impact of U.S. drought on crops may be peaking, Vilsack says. 
The severity of the worst U.S. drought in 56 years may be
peaking, while its effects on corn and soybeans, the nation’s two
biggest crops, may not be known until the harvests, Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack said.  The steadying of weather conditions
may limit food inflation next year, which the U.S. Department of
Agriculture predicted last month would be 3 percent to 4 percent,
Vilsack said yesterday in an interview at the Iowa State Fair in
Des Moines. It may also ease pressure to relax federal
requirements for the use of corn to make ethanol, he said. 

How climate change is changing forests in the Northeast – report.
The northeastern United States could be a much different place by
the end of the 21st century, with insects, animals and even trees
shifting to accommodate higher temperatures and increasingly
conflicting weather patterns, according to a new report by U.S.
and Canadian scientists. The report, titled "Changing Climate,
Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the
Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada," is a
cross-disciplinary synthesis of existing research, drawing on the
expertise of 38 scientists to give a holistic picture of forest
health under a changing climate. Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/17/6 BY

Canada's greenbelt stores vast amounts of carbon, report says. A
report by the David Suzuki Foundation released Wednesday aims to
quantify the role of Canada's greenbelt in mitigating the effects
of climate change. "It's a massive carbon storehouse," said
Faisal Moola, the Suzuki Foundation's director of science. The
forests, farms and wetlands of the greenbelt span from Rice Lake
to the Niagara River, covering 1.8 million acres. All that
vegetation pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during
photosynthesis and stores it in its biomass. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/17/8 BY


Shipping terminals to reduce diesel emissions. The Yang Ming and
Yusen shipping terminals will be equipped with electrical power
generators as part of an ongoing effort to reduce diesel
emissions from cargo ships docking at the Port of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners on Thursday awarded
a $31.2 million contract to Santa Fe Springs-based Cupertino
Electric to install the Alternative Maritime Power equipment at
Berths 121-126 and 212-216.AMP technology allows container ships
to "plug in" to a generator and operate on electrical power while
docked, rather than idling on its diesel engine. Posted.

RB advises reefer unit owners to purchase their compliance
options soon.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB)
recommends taking immediate action to plan and order compliance
options to ensure model year 2005 transport refrigeration units
(TRUs or reefer units) comply by the end of 2012.  Purchase
orders must be placed soon for in-use TRU compliance technology
to qualify for a compliance extension. The TRU Airborne Toxic
Control Measure (ATCM) allows compliance extensions if delivery
or installation is delayed.  Posted. 


UPDATE 1-U.S. Automakers, refiners lose challenge to new ethanol
mix. Trade associations for automakers, refiners and other
industries may not challenge new rules from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approving the introduction
of an ethanol blend known as E15, a U.S. appeals court ruled on
Friday. The 2-1 ruling from the court in Washington, D.C.,
dismissed challenges brought by the trade associations because
the court said they do not have standing. Posted.

In Drought, a Debate Over Quota for Ethanol. Washington — Three
big intertwined but rival agribusinesses — corn farmers, meat and
poultry producers, and biofuel refineries — are in a political
fight to protect their interests as a drought ravages corn
producers and industrial consumers alike. At issue is whether to
suspend a five-year-old federal mandate requiring more ethanol in
gasoline each year, a policy that has diverted almost half of the
domestic corn supply from animal feedlots to ethanol refineries,
driven up corn prices and plantings and created a desperate
competition for corn as drought grips the nation’s farm belt.

California gas prices may have peaked. Last week's refinery fire
sent fuel prices soaring, but 'Southern California gas prices
have actually only risen by about 2 cents since Sunday,' an Auto
Club spokesman says. The rapid rise in gasoline prices, sparked
by a refinery fire last week, has slowed and may have peaked,
according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Since
the fire at Chevron Corp.'s Richmond Refinery in the Bay Area on
Aug. 6, the average retail price of a gallon of regular gasoline
in California has shot up 25.8 cents. At one point, it jumped 5
cents overnight. Posted.

Duck farm taps waste product to create methane. There's solar
power and wind power. Now Culver Duck Farms is taking the move
toward use of renewable energy resources a step further — it
plans to use the duck parts that don't make it to the dinner
plate to help power the facility. Duck offal would be put into
what's called an anaerobic digester to produce methane, making
Culver Duck one of a select group of ag operations nationwide
using such technology. Posted.

Novozymes cuts prediction of U.S. ethanol production because of
drought. Novozymes, the world's biggest supplier of enzymes used
in biofuels, cut its forecast for U.S. ethanol production because
of the ongoing drought's impact on corn prices and availability.
The Danish company, which commands more than 60 percent of the
biofuels enzyme market in the United States, forecast yesterday
full-year ethanol production of 13.4 billion gallons, down 6
percent from its previous forecast of 14.2 billion gallons.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/08/17/7 BY

Appeals court tosses E15 lawsuit on lack of standing. A federal
appeals court today dismissed a lawsuit brought by oil, auto and
food industries against U.S. EPA for its approval of E15, or
gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol. In its decision, the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled
that none of the petitioners has standing to bring the action
against EPA. "Because we hold that no petitioner has standing to
bring this action, we dismiss all petitions for lack of
jurisdiction," Chief Judge David Sentelle wrote in his opinion.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/08/17/1  BY

Fracking bills derailed in committee. Legislation designed to
regulate hydraulic fracturing in California died in committee
yesterday, leaving the Golden State one of the most unregulated
fracking hot spots in the country for now. The two bills -- a
moratorium and a chemical disclosure requirement -- did not make
it past the Senate Appropriations Committee. The moratorium, from
state Rep. Betsy Butler (D), would ban the issuance of permits
for new wells using the process that shoots chemical-laced water
and sand underground to release trapped oil and gas. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/print/2012/08/17/2  BY


Anti-smog device. May 22, 1960: UCLA researchers Richard D. Hopa,
left, and Hiroshi Kimura demonstrate a new anti-smog device
developed for automobiles. This image accompanied a May 23, 1960,
L.A. Times story that reported: The Board of Supervisors was told
yesterday of the development of a new device which sponsors aver
will prevent up to 80% of nitrogen oxides, major ingredients of
smog, from entering the air when attached to automobiles. Posted.

Success of Japanese EVs at the hill climb race.  Applications for
clean energy vehicle subsidies (CEV) registered after February
2012 can be submitted to the Japanese Next Generation Vehicle
Promotion Centre until 7 March 2013. Buyers of electric cars
benefit from tax exemptions as well as from the clean energy
vehicle subsidies, for which a budget of Ą3.7 billion (~€38
million) remained as of 20 July 2012. Also eligible for the
subsidies are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and clean diesels.
Posted.  http://cars21.com/news/view/4859 


Top executives say no thanks to U.S. cleantech jobs. U.S. solar
and biofuel companies are struggling to find new top executives
after a string of departures over the past year, demonstrating a
lack of faith among executives that the sector can recover from a
supply glut that has hammered share prices. Almost all the top
U.S.-listed solar companies, including First Solar Inc., SunPower
Corp, Canadian Solar Inc. and JA Solar Holdings Co, have seen
either their CEO or CFO leave over the past year. Posted.

Mass. clean energy economy growing, report says. The growth of
Massachusetts' renewable energy economy is outpacing the overall
economy nearly tenfold, according to a new report that measures
clean energy sector employment and the number of businesses that
use clean energy practices. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
announced Thursday that its annual report found an 11.2 percent
growth in the sector's economy from July 2011 to July 2012.
Renewable energy leaders say they expect the growth to continue,
and industry employers who were surveyed said they expect to hire
more workers in the coming year. Posted. 

GE 'Skypump' charges electric cars with wind power. Almost a year
after they officially announced it, GE and vertical axis wind
turbine company Urban Green Energy have announced the
installationsource of the Sanya Skypump, a wind-powered charging
station capable of recharging an electric car on wind energy.
Last year, GE and vertical axis wind turbine company Urban Green
Energy announced the launch of the Sanya Skypump, a wind-powered
charging station capable of recharging an electric car on wind
energy alone. Posted.


Free Workshop on California High Speed Rail.  Citizens for
California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) will host a
free educational and informational workshop concerning the
proposed Fresno-Bakersfield section of the California High-Speed
Rail at First Baptist Church of Hanford from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
on Saturday, August 25th. The church is located in Hanford,
California.  This is the second Environmental Impact Report
(EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) workshop the Kings
County-based nonpartisan advocacy group has hosted.  Posted. 


End the Ethanol Mandate. Record-high corn prices should be
sending a clear message to policy makers in Washington: Requiring
people to put corn-based fuel in their gas tanks is a bad idea.
Since 2005, the U.S. government has mandated that gasoline
contain ethanol, almost all of it derived from corn. The policy,
ostensibly aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on foreign
oil and at improving the environment, has been a bonanza for
farmers. Posted.

Urban growth means hotter summers; white paint can help. It’s hot
out there. Hotter than it would be if instead of what I see
outside my sliver of window --  roads, buildings -- there was
grass and vegetation. Hotter, too, than it would be if the
buildings were all covered with white paint, a la a Greek island.
This is the “heat island effect,” and it happens because the
materials used to make roads and structures absorb a lot more
heat from the sun than does vegetation.  They slowly release that
heat through the night, keeping everything not-so-nicely cooking.

Letters: Who pays for cleaner trucks? Re "Cracking down on
diesel," Opinion, Aug. 14 Carl Pope makes a good case for
retrofitting trucks with diesel filters, which costs about
$10,000 a truck, to reduce deadly air pollution. But the benefit
is to the public. Why should the truck owner bear the burden
while getting no direct benefit? I suggest that the retrofit be
subsidized by taxpayers because they receive the benefit. Among
the advantages of this approach is that the retrofits will be
done sooner and the savings from costly enforcement programs can
be used to actually get the job done. Posted.

OPINION: Texas claims a victory over the EPA. Monday was "I told
you so" day for some top Texas officials. A three-judge panel of
the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the state in a
legal battle with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
"This decision is a big win for jobs and a big win for Texas,"
said Gov. Rick Perry in a statement released after the ruling. He
said the appeals court finding "affirms that states have the
right to develop permitting processes that balance the priorities
of protecting the environment and allowing our industries to
thrive." Texas brought the case after the EPA, in 2010,
disallowed the Texas Flexible Permit Program, the state's plan
for air quality control at industrial plants. State officials had
a right to gloat about the ruling. Posted.

EDITORIAL: We will ship some coal and growth to India. As Vice
President Joe Biden told a supporter in the 2008 campaign, "No
coal plants here in America. Build them, if they're going to
build them, over there." Biden was referring to China, but
India's economy is growing, too. And so it has come to pass.
Officials in Kentucky and West Virginia announced Wednesday a $7
billion deal with the Abhijeet Group that will result in the
shipment of 9 million tons of Appalachian coal a year to India
for 25 years. The abundant, affordable domestic energy source the
Obama administration has so recklessly devalued will benefit
India instead. Posted.

EDITORIAL: A methane mess of Ada County's making. Strange but
true: Methane gas is now such a coveted commodity that a company
is preparing to take Ada County to court over it. But from the
looks of it, Ada County commissioners brought this methane mess
on themselves -- all in the process of trying to cut a dubious
deal with Dynamis Energy, the latest company to seek to turn
county landfill trash into clean energy. Hidden Hollow Energy
faces a bind, resulting in part from the Dynamis dealings. Hidden
Hollow, which has produced energy from landfill methane gas since

Don't let polluters weasel out California environmental law. Re
"Clean energy law drives innovation, creates jobs, attracts
investments" (Viewpoints, Aug. 16): Predictably, polluters are
attempting to weasel out of abiding by California's
groundbreaking clean energy law. Cries of an economic slowdown
are mere fear-mongering on the part of industry. Assembly Bill
will promote innovation by bringing even more clean-energy
investment to the state, simply shifting jobs from dirty energy
to clean. It's a win-win situation for Californians: cleaner air
and more jobs. Posted.

California's cap and trade system spells economic doom. Re ""Air
board may ease carbon credits" (Page A1, Aug. 13): If people
wonder what the California economy will look like in 2015 and
beyond, they should consult the ominous warnings described by
this article. As the article mentions, the California Air
Resources Board will soon begin operating a cap and tradeť
system, estimated to cost California industry $1 billion in new
operating expenses in 2013, but up to $6 billion in 2015. Posted.

California Resources Board Amnesia.  A rouge agency runs amok
with unchecked powers and a dubious agenda.   Inquiries about are
met with political dodges or an outright refusal to disclose. 
Secrecy and obfuscation are used by the agency to thwart further
investigation.  Undaunted, the hero presses on against the
unsettling conspiratorial silence and what it conceals.  It
sounds like a plot taken from a political thriller, like the
Manchurian Candidate or the Bourne Identity movie franchise. 
Instead, it is life imitating art.  This is what has been
happening at the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  Posted. 


The Physics of Tidal Energy. As my colleague Jess Bidgood
reported in Friday’s paper, a tidal energy project is moving
ahead in Maine, with high costs but high hopes too. But the
180-kilowatt unit that the Ocean Renewable Power Company hopes to
put under water next week is really just a first step. The big
question is, how well will it withstand the force of the rushing
water? The region, the Bay of Fundy, is famous for strong tides,
but the company has picked a spot called Cobscook Bay, where the
current is relatively slow, an average of 5.8 knots, or 6.7 miles
an hour. Posted. 

Trucks Continue to Idle in West Oakland.  Diesel truck idling
persists at the Port of Oakland posing a health hazard to workers
and the surrounding community. With California’s strict idling
limits long in place and a positive recent enforcement report
from the state Air Resources Board, you would think that truck
idling is no longer a problem. Yet Webcam views at the port
reveal repeated long lines at one port terminal, leaving drivers
to wait for hours exposed to the fumes and contributing to hazy
conditions for everyone.  Posted. 

2013 Nissan Leaf will go 25% further, could cost a lot less.
Months ago, we heard that the U.S. version of the 2013 Nissan
Leaf would go farther per charge in cold weather thanks to a
better heater. This was about the Leaf that will be made in
Smyrna, TN starting later this year. A new report on Inside EVs
(based on the Japanese language Sankei Biz site) says that the
new Leaf, at least the version destined for sale in Japan, will
have its range extended to over 250 kilometers (155 miles) in any
weather. Posted. 

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