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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for January 24, 2013.

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 11:51:44
ARB Newsclips for January 24, 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.


China says major pollutant levels dropping, but hard task ahead.
China's environment minister said on Thursday that emissions of
four major pollutants dropped last year and should fall by a
similar level this year, but admitted the country faced a tough
task in trying to end chronic air pollution. This winter's
pollution, especially in northern China, has been so severe that
even usually pliant state media has criticized government
inaction, partly because it can't be hidden from the public
unlike other sensitive subjects such as high-level corruption.

MORENO VALLEY: Sierra Club rebuked for delaying development.
Council members also said the South Coast Air Quality Management
District’s demand for the city to exceed air quality standards is
unfair and unreasonable. In a Dec. 14 letter, the district asked
city officials to look at the cumulative consequences of several
planned warehouse projects and how they affect the risk of cancer
and other health problems. The district, citing correspondence in
which city officials contend they have no ability to reduce
emissions from trucks, accuses Moreno Valley of not adopting
strategies other Southern California communities use to cut
pollution from trucks. Posted.

Former plant site, area wells tested. Officials have been
conducting testing at and near the former Hercules plant to
determine whether contaminants have spread into surrounding
neighborhoods. Testing is being conducted by officials with the
state Department of Environmental Quality, the Environmental
Protection Agency and Ashland Inc., Hercules' parent company at
wells within a half-mile radius of the former chemical plant as
well as onsite. Willie McKercher, with MDEQ's Groundwater
Assessment and Remediation Division, said samples were being
taken from test wells to understand where contaminants are

SD Supreme Court upholds refinery permit.  The South Dakota
Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the approval of an air quality
permit that would allow a Texas company to begin constructing a
proposed $10 billion oil refinery.  Opponents sued the Board of
Minerals and Environment, saying the board erred when it approved
the Hyperion Energy Center permit because its study did not
include a full-scale environmental impact statement.  Attorneys
for Dallas-based Hyperion and the board contend that an
environmental impact statement was not required and that board
members took into account all relevant environmental issues. 

Supervisor Adam Hill passed over on air-quality board
chairmanship.  Brushing aside complaints that they were
politicizing a panel that was created to protect public health,
the county’s air pollution control board on Wednesday declined to
move Supervisor Adam Hill from the vice chairmanship to the
chairmanship — a normally routine advancement that some
characterized as almost ceremonial.  The move to make Hill
chairman of the Air Pollution Control District board failed on a
6-6 vote. In a subsequent vote…Posted. 


Greenland ice less vulnerable than feared to thaw: study.
Greenland is less vulnerable than expected to a runaway melt that
would drive up world sea levels, according to scientists who
found that only a quarter of the ice sheet thawed in a warm
period more than 100,000 years ago. The study, involving 300
experts from 14 nations, implied that Antarctica at the other end
of the planet would contribute at least as much or more to the
kind of sea level rise that threatens coasts and cities from
Mumbai to Miami. Posted.

COLUMN-Zero carbon prices beckon, no disaster: Gerard Wynn. The
European Commission can win significant gains from defeat on its
carbon market reform if it can extract concessions for a more
ambitious scheme from 2020. The European Parliament energy and
industry committee on Thursday rejected the Commission's planned,
modest boost to carbon prices, spotlighting the mountain it has
to climb. The vote saw carbon prices tumble as much as 40 percent
on the day before they recovered a little. Posted.

Kerry says global climate change is threat to U.S. Sen. John
Kerry pointed to climate change as among the top international
threats facing the United States at his nomination hearing
Thursday, cheering environmentalists and dismaying oil industry
officials, who have been watching how his confirmation could
affect the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. In his opening
statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the
Massachusetts Democrat said that American foreign policy “is
defined by life-threatening issues like climate change,” along
with political unrest in Africa and human trafficking across the
globe. Posted.

With climate change bill unlikely, lawmakers want Obama action.
Conceding that any climate change legislative efforts would face
overwhelming opposition in Congress, the authors of one of the
most high-profile climate change bills are now pinning their
hopes on administrative action from President Barack Obama.
"Congress has not been interested in acting, particularly in the
House, in the last two years, so we're calling on the president
to develop a plan for the administration to take action without
Congress and he has an enormous amount of authority to do that,"
Representative Henry Waxman…Posted.


California trucking group will keep challenging CARB reg. A
California trucking organization will continue its legal fight
against one of California’s toughest emissions regulations. The
California Construction Trucking Association, or CCTA, appealed a
recent ruling made in its nearly two-year lawsuit against the
California Air Resources Board over its Truck and Bus Regulation.
The California association filed a notice of appeal on Jan. 16
with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Posted.


Gas at the gates of oil's transport fuel citadel. Crude oil's
supremacy in motor fuels is pricing it out of power and industry,
leaving it stuck in low-growth transport and vulnerable to a
revolution that could favour natural gas. International oil
company BP predicts worldwide oil demand growth of just 0.8
percent a year up to 2030 - slower than for any other energy type
and only half the projected total energy demand growth rate over
the same period. With cheaper fuels already pushing it out of
industrial and power generation use, any extra oil demand now has
to come from vehicles, shipping and aircraft. Posted.

UPDATE 2-U.S. 'disappointed' with proposed EU duties on ethanol.
The United States on Wednesday objected to proposed European
Union import duties on U.S. ethanol that EU officials said are
intended to offset subsidies given to American producers. "We are
disappointed in this outcome," said Nkenge Harmon, a spokeswoman
for the U.S. Trade Representative's office. "I will add that we
have serious concerns about certain procedural and methodological
aspects of the investigation." Posted.


Toyota, BMW to research lithium-air battery. Toyota Motor Corp
(7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and BMW AG
(BMWG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will jointly
research a lithium-air battery expected to be more powerful than
the lithium-ion batteries used in many hybrid and electric
vehicles, the two firms said. The two companies will also work on
a fuel cell vehicle system, which includes a hydrogen tank and
motor, by 2020, they said on Thursday. Posted.
Can personal vehicles use electric-vehicle charging stations on
base? Question: What is the base policy on charging personal
vehicles at electric-vehicle charging stations? I’ve seen some
available on base, but they’re locked. Answer: At this time,
charging personally owned vehicles at charging stations installed
using appropriated funds is not allowed by law. Essentially, it
would be similar to allowing you to gas your car at the
government vehicle fuel station. Posted.

The buzz on the newest electric cars from Consumer Reports.  More
and more car companies are coming out with cars that are
all-electric, no gas needed.  Several claim the equivalent of 100
miles per gallon or more. The government tax credit of up to
$7500 could have you thinking about getting an electric vehicle. 
Ford calls the Ford Focus Electric the most fuel-efficient
compact car in America.  Consumer Reports finds it can get the
equivalent of 107 miles per gallon. The engineers compared it
with other all-electric cars, including the smaller sub-compact
Mitsubishi i-MiEV.  Posted. 


California rail: We don't need cash – yet.  California’s landmark
high-speed rail line won’t require cash from Congress for at
least two years. But at some point, it will.  That’s the message
the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s leadership team is
sending to Washington about the massive $68 billion project set
to break ground this year.  The planned statewide system is short
about $60 billion, some of which will undoubtedly need to come
from Congress. Posted. 


Ikea to double its spending on renewable energy to $4 billion.
The investment boost is part of Ikea's plan to get all the energy
used at its stores and by subcontractors from renewable sources
by 2020. Ikea Group, the world's biggest furniture retailer, will
double its investment in renewable energy to $4 billion by 2020
as part of a drive to reduce costs as cash-strapped consumers
become more price sensitive. The additional spending on projects
such as wind farms and solar parks…Posted.


The battle for CEQA. California’s core environmental protection
law, a 43-year-old statute frequently denounced by developers and
business interests as a tangle of red tape, is on a Capitol hit
list once again. But the political dynamic this year is unusual:
Those pushing hard for change are Democrats, including Gov.
Brown, the Senate and Assembly leaders and a farm-belt lawmaker.
At issue is the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA,
which requires builders and others to detail their projects’
potential impacts over time on the environment and offer ways to
fix them…Posted.

Green groups oppose easing NY dairy pollution regs. Environmental
groups are pushing back against the Cuomo administration's plan
to support a growing yogurt industry by easing regulations on
large-scale dairy operations. The Greek yogurt industry is
growing so fast in New York that the state doesn't have enough
cows to meet the demand for milk. At a "yogurt summit" in Albany
last August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Greek yogurt one of the
best entrepreneurial opportunities in a generation. Posted.


Funding the Climate Change Battle. Thomas Lovejoy’s alarm call
(“The climate change endgame,” Views, Jan. 22) points to two
critical dangers confronting the whole human population. He is
right to highlight the “massive and accelerating” biodiversity
and ecosystem loss, as well as climate change. A pity then that
there was not space to explore in more detail the threat to
remedial efforts from “inadequate funding.” Posted.

Viewpoints: Sacramento must resolve to kick its unhealthy
addiction to sprawl. What is commonly called "sprawl" reduces the
availability of affordable farmland, open space and habitat. Its
associated lifestyle increases greenhouse gas emissions, reduces
air quality, lessens needed physical activity, and usually gives
the municipal governments a negative return on investment, adding
to the strain on local government budgets. When we stop
sprawling, we free up huge amounts of capital to invest in our
existing neighborhoods. Posted. 

Letter: Benefit to following clean air laws. While reading a news
article ("'Don't Light Tonight' extended," Jan. 18, 2013), I
recalled that when I headed the Environmental Health Division of
the U.S. Air Force hospital in Ankara, Turkey, 35 years ago, I
had the opportunity to visit with a renowned Turkish doctor who
was heavily involved in trying to correct the air pollution
problem in the city. We talked at length about the seriousness of
the problem and its causes, the types of pollutants and what
effects it had on the population. Believe me, it was and
continues to be a serious problem. Posted.


Why India’s Waste-to-Energy Industry Won’t Catch Fire. The
unfortunate part is that the plant is in Malaysia, not India,
where the process was invented. Mr. Sivaprasad, an energetic
80-year-old, went abroad after repeatedly trying to build his
project in India but finding that the system was stacked against
him, he says. India tosses more than 188 million tons of garbage
each day, but is falling behind other Asian nations in early
efforts to turn it into electricity. Posted.

President unlikely to get support from Congress on climate
change.  In his second inaugural address, President Obama
promised to “respond” to the threat of climate change, saying the
failure to do so would betray future generations.  "Some may
still deny the overwhelming judgment of science," said the
president, "but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging
fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms."  But
President Obama shouldn’t expect any comprehensive legislation
from Capitol Hill.  Posted. 

America's High Speed Rail Quest Limps Along As Amtrak, Other
Carriers Consider Train Options.  High speed rail development
here in the United States, particularly California, continues to
limp along. Even as China recently opened its longest high-speed
rail line as part of a growing industry there which is both
helping that nation’s economy as well as looking overseas for
possible projects, we continue to move in the slow lane. Outside
of China other places such as Spain are also leaving us behind in
this green technology focus.  Posted. 

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