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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for September 6, 2012.

Posted: 06 Sep 2012 14:45:55
ARB Newsclips for September 6, 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.


REGION: New environmental screening tool stirs debate. A state
plan to rank communities by the cumulative effects of pollution
on residents has raised objections among local business leaders,
who say it would kill job development in areas identified as
disadvantaged. The proposed California Communities Environmental
Health Screening Tool would use existing environmental, health
and socioeconomic data to score areas by ZIP code. Posted.

EPA proposes new refinery rules, but not for greenhouse gases.
U.S. EPA yesterday sent the White House a package of proposals
that would limit emissions from oil refineries, but the
long-awaited New Source Performance Standard for greenhouse gas
emissions was not among them. In late 2010, EPA pledged as part
of a settlement agreement with environmentalists that it would
craft an NSPS rule for greenhouse gas emissions from refineries
(Greenwire, Dec. 23, 2010). Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/09/06/3  BY


U.S. Emissions Reach 20-Year Low, but its not time to
congratulate ourselves just yet! Climate scientists are getting
their fair share of surprises this year, from the record-breaking
ice melt in the Arctic to the fact that first-quarter U.S. carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions have hit their lowest point since 1992.
CO2 emissions from energy consumption for the January-March
period fell to 1.34 billion metric tons, down 8 percent from a
year ago. While the depressed economy and rising renewable energy
generation have contributed to emissions reductions in the past
few years…Posted.


Shell Places a Not-So-Green Bet on Natural Gas. Outside Royal
Dutch Shell’s research laboratories here, a stack of tubes, tanks
and dials four stories high percolates 24 hours a day. This
bewildering-looking apparatus is a tiny prototype of one of
Shell’s crown jewels: the huge Pearl gas-to-liquids plant in
Qatar. Now gradually increasing production, Pearl sucks in huge
volumes of natural gas from the gargantuan North Field under the
aquamarine Gulf and — in a feat of seeming alchemy — transforms
the gas into jet fuel and diesel and other liquids far more
valuable than natural gas these days. Posted.

Officials urge NY Gov. Cuomo to OK gas drilling. Town officials
and landowners eager for shale gas drilling to begin in southern
New York are pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve an
environmental review that's been four years in the making. "This
issue has been going on for four years," Town of Binghamton
Supervisor Tim Whitesell said Thursday. "We understand the
politics involved. But at the same time we are in a position
where our residents are looking for this. It's very frustrating
that we see this economic boom just south of us in Pennsylvania
and we're not able to take part in it." Posted.

Chevron: Small flash fire preceded massive Aug. 6 blaze at
Richmond refinery. Richmond -- A "flash fire" was extinguished
about 10 minutes before a massive blaze erupted Aug. 6 at
Chevron's refinery here, the company revealed in a 30-day report
on the accident that it submitted to Contra Costa County
officials Wednesday. The revelation of the flash fire, which was
not publicly known previously, is crucial to the investigation
into the blaze caused by a leaking 8-inch pipe, said Contra Costa
County Hazardous Materials Chief Randy Sawyer. "There was a small
fire that their fire department put out very quickly," Sawyer
said. Posted.


California ISO marks 1,000-megawatt solar milestone. California
surpassed a major milestone during a recent heat wave, hitting
more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power generation. That's equal
to the output of two large, gas-fired power plants. The threshold
- driven by heavy air-conditioning use during recent,
blistering-hot days - was surpassed multiple times, according to
the Folsom-based California Independent System Operator Corp.,
which operates the state's wholesale transmission grid. Posted.

NM regulators to consider clean energy standard. New Mexico
regulators have set the stage for a discussion that could result
in a novel program aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions from
power plants. The Public Regulation Commission on Thursday agreed
to schedule workshops to consider a proposal that would allow
electric utilities to voluntarily opt to reduce carbon emissions
from their generating stations by 3 percent a year starting as
soon as 2014.The proposal was filed with the PRC by Western
Resource Advocates on behalf of 33 environmental groups. Posted.


Few environmental bills make it out of the California
Legislature. Environmental groups and their supporters hoping for
a new wave of green laws from the Legislature this year ended up
with barely a ripple. From a statewide effort to ban plastic
bags, to limits on foam food packaging, most of the top
environmental bills of the 2012 session died. Environmental
groups did score a few wins. They beat back an effort by industry
to rewrite the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, the
landmark law that requires environmental studies of major
projects. Posted.


Our View: Lawmakers push global warming cash grab. Among bills
awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature are at least four deserving
vetoes because they would do more economic harm than good, at a
time the state least needs it. Among legislation identified by
the California Chamber of Commerce as "job killer bills" are four
approved by the Legislature, which ended its 2011-12 session on
Friday. The chamber's characterization is apt. But these bills
would do more than kill jobs at a time when California
unemployment is 10.7 percent, more than twice the rate during the
summer of 2006. Posted. 

Soot standard would improve our air, save lives. Most of us don’t
need to look far to find someone we know and love who has lung
disease. Perhaps it’s a grandmother with chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD) or a child with asthma. For all of these
people, particle pollution makes breathing even more difficult.
On days when air is bad, those with COPD may need supplemental
oxygen. People with asthma may need to take extra medicine and
stay indoors. Poor air quality days can send those with lung
diseases to emergency rooms. Posted.

Support strong air quality rules. The recently announced gas
mileage standards by the Obama administration will double fuel
efficiency in cars and thus help reduce air pollution. However,
we still have a ways to go for cleaner air. The air New
Hampshirites breathe should not inflame our lungs or increase our
chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Yet, air in the
United States is still polluted with particles like soot from
coal-fired power plants, which makes it toxic for us to breathe.


The Baffling Nexus of Climate Change and Health. In 2004, a rare
tropical fungus caused a string of respiratory failures and
neural disorders along the Pacific Northwest coast, baffling the
health community. That same year, Alaskan cruise ship passengers
dining on local oysters fell sick with a gastric virus typically
found in warm water estuaries. Now Texas, after an unusually wet
spring and dry summer, is battling what may become the country’s
worst recorded outbreak of West Nile virus. Meteorological and
ecological shifts driven by climate change are creating a slow
and often…Posted.

Climate Change and the Food Supply. A small bit of good news
about food prices from the Food and Agriculture Organization, a
United Nations agency in Rome: The price spiral seen earlier this
summer as markets reacted to droughts and other bad news has
leveled off, with the agency’s closely watched index of global
food prices essentially unchanged in August compared with July.
Prices are still up sharply from earlier in the year and remain
high by historical standards, the F.A.O. said Thursday, but they
have not reached the peaks seen in 2008 and 2011. Posted.

Shifting Views on Climate Change. President Obama and his
Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have spelled out their views
on climate change in a bit more detail than they usually do on
the campaign trail in response to questions from a group of
scientific organizations.  In written statements posted on
Tuesday at the Web site of Sciencedebate.org, the candidates
added some clarity to their views on global warming, but in a way
that also raised some questions about their consistency. Posted.

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