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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 3, 2012

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 11:58:50
ARB Newsclips for January 3, 2013. 

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.


WILDOMAR: Air district tests homes. Technicians collected air
samples Wednesday from three abandoned homes in a Wildomar tract,
the first official action in the neighborhood since several
residents told authorities that something in the houses might
have contributed to ailments that had stricken their families.
Tests ordered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District
will screen for about 50 types of chemicals, including
hydrocarbons associated with industrial sites, district spokesman
Sam Atwood said during a visit to the Autumnwood tract on
Wednesday, Jan. 2. Posted.

Utah adopting Calif.-style rules for air pollution. Utah could
lose federal highway funds if it doesn't start reducing pollution
along the urban corridor by December 2014. The new regulations
will force California-style changes in consumer products, with
spray pumps replacing aerosols or aerosols switching to
environmentally friendly propellants. Likewise, regulators are
tightening limits on volatile organic compounds in paints,
coatings and solvents - local factories and car-repair shops will
have to buy reformulated products or install special emissions
controls. Posted.

Secrecy and San Onofre. Nuclear safety regulators have dismissed
objections to a nondisclosure agreement that would seal from
public view some documents related to faulty steam generators at
the San Onofre nuclear plant and an application to restart the
facility.Open government activist Ray Lutz of El Cajon filed the
objections to an agreement made in early December between San
Onofre operator Southern California Edison and Friends of the
Earth, an international environmental and nuclear watchdog group.

Air Pollution Levels Incite Environmental Quality Experts.  The
Bay Area Air Quality Management District is recommending that
residents do not burn wood in their fireplaces or woodstoves on
Thursday, Jan. 3, to prevent air quality from becoming unhealthy.
 A Winter Spare the Air Alert is NOT in effect on Thursday and
wood burning is not illegal, but strongly discouraged. Winter
Spare the Air Alerts were issued on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

EIP "Toxic 10" Report: Power Plants Emitting Most Mercury Account
For Nearly a Fifth of All Such Pollution.  Even though mercury
and other hazardous air pollution from U.S. power plants are
declining, the progress at the coal-fired power plants are
uneven, leaving in place a significant remaining risk to the
health of the public and environment, according to a new report
by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).  Posted. 

Air quality officials ask Bay Area residents not to burn wood on
Thursday.  Despite those frigid nights, now is not the time to
burn wood in fireplaces.  Officials with the Bay Area Air Quality
Management District are asking residents not burn wood in their
fireplaces or woodstoves on Thursday to prevent air quality from
becoming unhealthy.  A winter Spare the Air alert is not in
effect on Thursday and wood burning is not illegal, but strongly
discouraged.  Posted. 



Cost of combating climate change surges as world delays –study. 
An agreement by almost 200 nations to curb rising greenhouse gas
emissions from 2020 will be far more costly than taking action
now to tackle climate change, according to research published on
Wednesday.  Quick measures to cut emissions would give a far
better chance of keeping global warming within an agreed U.N.
limit of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times to
avert more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels. 

California implements cap and trade system to reduce carbon
emissions.  California is on the verge of implementing a new cap
and trade system that will require some 350 companies to begin
paying for the carbon dioxide they emit.  Companies will receive
allowances for their emissions, but those allowances will
decrease over the years — in hopes companies will feel pushed to
reduce their emissions to stay off buying more emission credits. 

Calif., Quebec begin joint effort to enforce cap-and-trade rules.
 In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Quebec and
California on Tuesday became the first North American
jurisdictions to enforce compulsory cap-and-trade regulations. 
By setting limits on companies' greenhouse gas emissions,
California's goal is to return to its 1990 emissions levels by
2020. By that same year, Quebec's government hopes to reduce its
emissions by even more -- 25 percent below the province's 1990
levels. In 2015, Quebec will extend the plan to include vehicle
fuel distributors.  BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY.  Posted. 

Environmental cap-and-trade regulations in force.  On Tuesday,
Jan. 1, Quebec and California became the first jurisdictions in
North America to enforce compulsory cap-and-trade regulations to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The idea was pushed by former
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Quebec
premier Jean Charest, within the Western Climate Initiative,
which includes seven states and four provinces — Quebec, Ontario,
Manitoba and British Columbia.  Posted. 

Climate change may drastically alter region.  Lake Tahoe is "the
fairest picture the whole earth affords," Mark Twain once wrote.
Its crystal blue waters, surrounded by stunning snowy mountains,
define one of California's crown jewels as an American landmark.
It attracts 3 million skiers, boaters, campers, hikers and other
visitors each year.  Posted. 


Elias: Hydrogen fuel plan still tilts toward corporations. Six
months after pulling back about $12 million worth of grants to
help build refueling stations for the hydrogen fuel cell cars due
to debut by 2017, the California Energy Commission is ready to
take applications for new grants.The problem: Revised rules
issued by the commission appear at first glance to cut out the
favoritism that sullied last spring's stymied grants, but the new
rules still seem likely to place all or almost all the money in
the same hands that would have received the canceled grants. They
also encourage a modicum of pollution over completely clean air.

Greuel faults DWP for bypassing bids on lobbying contracts.  The
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power repeatedly bypassed its
competitive bidding process when it awarded $480,000 in contracts
to lobby Sacramento decision-makers, according to a report issued
by City Controller Wendy Greuel.  DWP executives issued four
no-bid contracts for state lobbying over the last two years, two
of them to Mercury Public Affairs, a firm that includes former
state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez as one of its partners. 

Buffett Like Icahn Reaping Tank Car Boom From Shale Oil: Freight.
 Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn are reaping the benefits of
surging demand for railroad tank cars to haul shale oil from
beyond the reach of existing pipelines.  Buffett’s Union Tank Car
Co. is working at full capacity and Icahn’s American Railcar
Industries Inc. has a backlog through 2014. Trinity Industries
Inc., the biggest railcar producer, began converting wind-tower
factories last year to help meet demand for train cars that can
transport the petroleum product.  Posted. 

Will Asset Sales Drive This Energy Giant Higher in 2013?  Plains
All American (NYSE: PAA) recently announced that it will acquire
Chesapeake's (NYSE: CHK) crude oil and condensate gathering
assets in the Eagle Ford shale; the acquired assets comprise
throughput capacity of 50,000 barrels per day and 450,000 barrels
of storage capacity in a deal worth $125 million.  Posted. 


Warren Buffett to build world's largest solar energy project. 
MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Mr Buffett’s
Berkshire Hathaway investment company, has struck a deal with
SunPower to acquire and build two projects in California’s
Antelope Valley.  The deal, which will see MidAmerican pay
between $2bn to $2.5bn, marks the third time in little over a
year that Mr Buffett has ploughed cash into solar energy.  He
last year created a unit within Mid American to support an
increasing number of solar and wind investments.  Posted. 

Other related stories:


Tax break extension breathes new life into U.S. wind power.  The
U.S. wind industry is powering up once again after Congress
extended a critical tax credit that wind companies say will save
tens of thousands of domestic jobs and allow more clean energy
projects to ramp up this year.  About half of the sector's 75,000
jobs in the United States had been expected to disappear if the
wind production tax credit had been allowed to expire at the end
of last year, according to trade group the American Wind Energy
Association.  Posted. 

Congress renews wind energy credit. Kern's wind energy industry
got the tax credit renewal it was looking for -- and with a
welcome twist. Congress voted late Tuesday to extend the credit
through Dec. 31 as part of a wide-ranging measure that avoids the
tax increases and spending cuts that had been dubbed the "fiscal
cliff." Posted.


Rebecca Tarbotton, Environmental Activist, Dies at 39. Rebecca
Tarbotton, an environmental activist who helped persuade big
banks to stop financing mountaintop removal mining and who helped
persuade Disney to reduce its use of paper made from trees cut
down in rain forests, died on Dec. 26 in a swimming accident in
Mexico. She was 39 and lived in Oakland, Calif. Posted.


The Wind Industry Gets To Draw Another Breath. In the last-minute
tax maneuvering in Congress this week, wind power came out
well.Wind not only got an extension of its tax credit in the
federal budget compromise, but the rules were also restructured:
while the extension runs for only one year, the nature of the
deadline has changed. Projects do not need to be finished and
feeding electricity to the grid by next New Year’s Eve;
construction only needs to be started. Posted. 

Climate Change Made Some Noise in 2012.  While Bebbo is
unconvinced that the pop culture prowess of "Gangnam Style" can
make us forget our climate is in crisis, that doesn't mean 2012
provided no hope for our fight against global warming. It appears
the U.S. -- Earth's second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter -- has
treated this year's extreme weather (most notably Hurricane
Sandy) as a wake-up call.   Posted. 

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to "calibrate" environmental rules.  An
early environmental leader as California's governor nearly four
decades ago, Jerry Brown is now easing restrictions for oil
companies and talking about overhauling the state's landmark
environmental law to boost the economy.  As detailed in The
Times, that strain of pragmatism has run throughout Brown's
current governorship — and flummoxed many allies — and nowhere is
it more apparent than on the issue of the environment.  Posted. 

California’s Cap-and-Trade Debut.  Cap-and-trade?
Cap-and-dividend? CARB? AB32? Carbon tax? Confused? 
Cap-and-trade legislation began as a simple idea – setting limits
on pollution and having companies buy or trade offsets. A
greenhouse cap-and-trade bill was passed in the U.S. House of
Representatives in 2009. But the Senate bill, which ballooned
into an incomprehensible 1,400 pages, was ultimately abandoned. 
Soon after, a cap-and-dividend bill was proposed in the Senate,
requiring companies to pay a “dividend” to consumers, funded by a
purchase of carbon shares by the polluting companies. This bill
has not progressed through the Senate.  Posted. 

2012 was the hottest year in history in New York, D.C.,
Louisville, Philadelphia …  It’s not yet official, but 2012 was
the hottest year in American history. Recorded history, that is;
we’ll allow climate change deniers the possibility that the
United States was hotter when it was a still-forming Pangeal mass
of semi-solid lava. Beyond that, though: hottest ever.  This led
to a bumper crop of “hottest year ever!” stories in local media
last week. Here’s a Google News search for “hottest year.” Among
the areas noting that accomplishment: Lexington, Richmond,
Topeka, New Jersey, Cleveland and Columbus, Philadelphia, New
Orleans, Burlington, Louisville, and New York City.  Posted. 


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