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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 2, 2013.

Posted: 02 Apr 2013 12:53:03
ARB Newsclips for April 2, 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.


Justices reject challenge to EPA air pollution rule. The Supreme
Court on Monday rejected a challenge by the oil lobby disputing a
Environmental Protection Agency air pollution rule. Various
industry groups, including the American Petroleum Institute,
originally challenged the 2010 regulation, which set a tighter
Clean Air Act standard for short-term spikes in nitrogen dioxide
pollution near roads. The Supreme Court's decision not to take
the case means the rule remains intact. Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2013/04/01/13  BY

Air Pollution Linked to 1.2 Million Premature Deaths in China.
Outdoor air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths
in China in 2010, nearly 40 percent of the global total,
according to a new summary of data from a scientific study on
leading causes of death worldwide. Figured another way, the
researchers said, China’s toll from pollution was the loss of 25
million healthy years of life from the population. Posted.

To Fight Gridlock, a City Synchronizes Every Red Light. Mayor
Antonio R. Villaraigosa, who pledged to complete the system in
his 2005 campaign, now presents it as a significant
accomplishment as his two terms in office comes to an end in
June. He argued that the system would also cut carbon emissions
by reducing the number of times cars stop and start. “I am proud
that we are the first big city in the world to synchronize all of
our traffic signals,” Mr. Villaraigosa said in an e-mail. “By
synchronizing our traffic signals, we spend less time waiting,
less time polluting.” Posted.

Houston gets iPhone app with up-to-date smog data. Houston
residents now can have in their pocket the answer to whether
ozone levels in the city are too high for their asthmatic child
to play soccer. A new app available for iPhones and Android
smartphones collects data from 74 air and wind monitors
throughout the Houston area, giving residents nearly real-time
data on smog. The app was developed by the Houston Air Alliance,
the University of Houston and the American Lung Association.


Global warming means seas freeze more off Antarctica: study.
Global warming is expanding the extent of sea ice around
Antarctica in winter in a paradoxical shift caused by cold plumes
of summer melt water that re-freeze fast when temperatures drop,
a study showed on Sunday. An increasing summer thaw of ice on the
edges of Antarctica, twinned with less than expected snowfall on
the frozen continent, is also adding slightly to sea level rise
in a threat to low-lying areas around the world, it said. Posted.

World Bank chief says global warming threatens the planet and the
poorest.  World Bank president Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday called
global warming “a fundamental threat” to world economic
development and announced plans to put the issue at the center of
bank planning.  In a call for action to end extreme poverty among
hundreds of millions of people worldwide by 2030, Kim said that
central to that aim is ensuring that global temperatures don’t
rise faster than expected.  Posted. 

Nobody is declaring a state of drought in California, but ...
Surveyors in the Sierra find only half the snowpack that is
normal for the date. But it could have been worse, considering
the last three months have been the driest January-March period
on record. When snow surveyors headed into the Sierra Nevada on
Thursday for the most important measurement of the season, they
found only about half the snowpack that is normal for the date.
It could have been a lot worse — considering that the last three
months in California have been the driest of any
January-through-March period on record, going back to 1895.

A carbon market takes root in California.  When California held
its first-ever auction of greenhouse gas emission allowances last
fall, allowances sold for $10.09, just pennies above the $10
floor price set by state regulators. Some observers warned that
the low price meant the state's new cap-and-trade program
wouldn't work and was a sign that companies were not
participating.  But in the second auction last week, the
allowances sold for $13.62 each, higher than many analysts had
expected.  Posted. 


California Air Resources Board reps get earful from north-state
truckers, growers in Chico. Truckers and growers frustrated by
California air emission laws got a chance to vent Thursday to
representatives of the California Air Resources Board. 
In an event organized by Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Loma Rica, more
than a dozen speakers begged for changes to the state's laws,
pointing out flaws with the regulations and how the heavy-handed
guidelines are making it impossible for small firms to stay in
business, especially in the north state. Nearly every hand raised
when Logue asked for a show of business owners in the
standing-room-only City Council chambers. Posted.


U.S. fracking helped kill off German solar firms: Bosch. Bosch,
one of the world's largest auto parts suppliers, blames the U.S.
fracking boom in shale gas for hurting demand for
energy-efficient green technologies, its chairman told a German
newspaper. The Stuttgart-based company recently decided to
discontinue its photovoltaic solar energy activities at the cost
of roughly 3,000 jobs - due largely, but not entirely, to a glut
in capacity built up in China. "Photovoltaic is going through a
unique transition. Posted.

Israel Taps an Offshore Natural Gas Field. Israel moved closer to
its goal of energy independence on Sunday as natural gas from a
large offshore field began flowing into the country, a harbinger
of important change that will benefit the country strategically
and economically, officials said. “We are taking an important
step toward energy independence,” Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said in a statement after the natural gas started
flowing Saturday from the Tamar reservoir in the Mediterranean
Sea to a terminal in the Israeli port of Ashdod, a journey that
officials said would take 24 hours. Posted.

Northeast drilling boom threatens forest wildlife. Hawks swoop in
and gobble up songbirds. Raccoons feast on nests of eggs they
never could have reached before. Salamanders and wildflowers fade
away, crowded out by invasive plants that are altering the soil
they need to thrive. Like a once-quiet neighborhood cut up by an
expressway and laced with off ramps, northeastern forests are
changing because of the pipelines crisscrossing them amid the
region's gas drilling boom, experts say. Posted.

European industry flocks to U.S. for cheaper natural gas. The
sprawling chemical plant in this city along the Rhine River has
been a jewel of Germany's manufacturing-led economy for more than
a century. But the plunging price of natural gas in the United
States has European companies setting sail across the Atlantic to
stay competitive.
German chemicals giant BASF, which operates the plant here, has
announced plans for wide-ranging expansion in the United States

Oil industry, lawmakers say EPA fuel rule would hike prices at
the pump. Oil industry representatives and congressional
Republicans accused the Obama administration Friday of
effectively jacking up gas prices across the country after the
Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a plan to clean up
gasoline and automobile emissions. The proposal, released Friday
morning, aims to reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60
percent in 2017. The agency claimed the change would save lives
and cut down significantly on respiratory ailments by making the
air cleaner. Posted.

Could 'raging fireball' be the key to carbon-neutral fuel? Even
before it was studied as a potential biofuel-producing agent, the
microorganism Pyrococcus furiosa had a great deal to recommend it
to scientists. Capable of surviving in boiling water and doubling
in number every 37 minutes, the microorganism is something of a
poster child for the heat-loving organisms known as
hyperthermophiles. Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/01/7 BY


Tesla soars to all-time high after CEO says company is now
profitable. Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) leapt to an all-time
high Monday after the electric-car maker said it would show a
quarterly profit for the first time in its 10-year history -- and
Wall Street expects even more good news Tuesday. The announcement
about the company's financial performance puts to rest, for now,
those who questioned Tesla's ability to sell enough cars to
create a viable business, especially as other automakers report
disappointing EV sales and one, Fisker Automotive, is looking for
partners to keep operating. Posted.

Tahoe's Heavenly Mountain Resort fined over environmental
violation. Heavenly Mountain Resort on Lake Tahoe's south shore
has been fined more than $90,000 for several violations of
California environmental laws. The violations stem from a 2010
inspection of the ski resort and its upper maintenance shop,
California Department of Toxic Substances Control officials said.
The resort was accused of failing to have controls to prevent
spillage of a used-oil tank, failing to have the tank assessed
and inspected…Posted.

New vehicle apps help drivers dial in on better fuel economy.
Getting better fuel economy is about more than building better
engines and powertrains; it's also about how people drive and
choosing the right car for a given lifestyle. Today, new
technology is allowing drivers to tap into these once elusive
efficiency gains. The Department of Energy yesterday announced
the winners of the "Apps for Vehicles Challenge," which asked
developers and entrepreneurs to develop smartphone apps that
harness open vehicle data to improve vehicle safety and fuel
efficiency. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/02/4 BY


Calif. lawmakers scrutinize high-speed rail plan.  California
officials are using a standard bidding process for their plan to
speed construction of the state's $68 billion high-speed rail
line, but there are still outstanding questions about the
inspection process that the Legislature should investigate,
lawmakers heard Tuesday at a hearing on the plan.  Tuesday's
joint Senate hearing was billed as an opportunity to safeguard
the public's interest…Posted. 


A Building Not Just Green, but Practically Self-Sustaining.  When
an office building here that bills itself as the world’s greenest
officially opens later this month, it will present itself as a
“living building zoo,” with docents leading tours and
smartphone-wielding tourists able to scan bar codes to learn
about the artfully exposed mechanical and electrical systems.
Tenants have already begun moving into the six-story Bullitt
Center, in advance of its grand opening on Earth Day, April 22.

Davis company finishes solar project in Gridley. Davis-based Blue
Oak Energy, which designs, builds and maintains photovoltaic
systems in the United States, said today that it has completed
installation of a 4.2-megawatt solar facility in the Butte County
community of Gridley. The electricity generated by the facility
will be directed to two members of the Northern California Power
Agency through separate energy meters: the city of Gridley and
Bay Area Rapid Transit. Posted.

New England renewable energy a hard sell in region. Establishing
a New England market to buy renewable energy seemed a laudable
goal when governors committed last year to bulk purchases of wind
and solar power to knock down the price while reducing the
region's reliance on fossil fuels. Consumers could benefit from
price stability, even from costlier wind and energy power. But
putting together details about what types of renewable energy the
six states will buy in the groundbreaking deal is snared in a
patchwork of rules, state laws and disagreements over how even to
define alternative energy. Posted. 

Utilities challenge net metering as solar power expands in Calif.
 A program that pays California residents for electricity made by
their rooftop solar panels is under scrutiny, and supporters fear
it could be weakened. The California Public Utilities Commission
(CPUC) is examining the costs and benefits of net energy
metering, a system that allows households and businesses with
green power to earn credit for surplus electricity fed into the
grid. Advocates say it's driven expansion of rooftop solar and
locally based energy, also known as distributed generation.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/02/1 BY

L.A. ditches coal for 'cleaner' power source. The Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power announced it will phase out the
electricity it imports from the Navajo Generating Station in
Arizona and Intermountain Power in Utah. The two coal plants
provide 39 percent of the city's power. "The era of coal is
over," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement. "By
divesting from coal and investing in renewable energy and energy
efficiency, we reduce our carbon footprint and set a precedent
for the national power market." Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/01/10 BY


Fowler physician certified for state air board.  Fowler physician
Dr. Alexander Sherriffs was confirmed as the newest member of the
California Air Resources Board that creates policies to mitigate
air pollution in the state.  Sherriffs, who has worked as a
physician in Fowler since 1983, was appointed to the board by
Governor Jerry Brown last March for his long-standing commitment
to air quality issues.  Posted. 

California environmental groups seek ban on rice pesticide.
California environmentalists say a proposal by state pesticide
regulators to allow spraying of a controversial pesticide on rice
fields in the Sacramento Valley could harm aquatic organisms and
honeybees.  Groups submitted a comment letter to the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation on Thursday, asking the agency
to withdraw the proposal for approving clothianidin for use on
rice. The chemical is already registered in the state for uses on
cotton, grapes and other plants. Posted.

Free smog emission tests. Motorists can test their smog emissions
and receive vouchers for hundreds of dollars in free repairs at
an event Saturday. The latest Tune In & Tune Up event is set for
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. Arrive
early and expect a two-hour wait, organizers said. Each car will
be tested for smog emissions. Owners of cars that fail the test
will be eligible for $500 repair vouchers at participating shops,
while supplies last. Posted.

San Onofre Operator Requests to Restart Reactor. The operator of
the San Onofre nuclear power plant, Southern California Edison,
has submitted a draft request for a license amendment to restart
the plant at 70 percent power this summer. The Nuclear Regulatory
Commission meets this week to consider the request. It’s the next
step in the long-running saga of whether to restart the San
Onofre nuclear power plant, which has been shut down for more
than a year since a small radiation leak was detected in one of
its new steam generators. Posted.


Is the valley air district forgetting its mission? The San
Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District staff is saying
that Hydrogen Energy California project is acceptable because:
"we need electricity," "it is good for our finances," and the
height of the factory stack will carry the emissions out of our
valley. Has the air district forgotten that its mission is to do
good for the air and the people, not the corporation? Posted.


The public’s interest in climate change is waning.  The global
warming conundrum has been on full display over the past 24
hours. Even as one of the nation’s most prominent climate
scientists has decided to retire in order to become a full-time
activist, a new Pew Research poll suggests public interest and
intensity with the issue is waning.  James E. Hansen, who directs
the Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York City, has been
warning policymakers about the threat of climate change since
1988. Posted. 

NASA’s most famous climate scientist is retiring. Here’s a look
back at his work.  One the country’s most prominent climate
scientists is leaving the government to become a full-time
climate activist. James E. Hansen says he will step down as head
of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies this week after 46
years at the agency.  “He plans to take a more active role in
lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments over their
failure to limit emission… Posted. 

Canada’s Latest Climate Change. Despite the ruling Conservative
government’s claim that it had opted out because too little of
its contribution was going toward actual anti-drought programming
— branding the U.N. convention a “talkfest” in the process — many
critics were quick to say the move fits a patten of a
conservative party that has opposed environmental regulation.

New EPA gas regs won’t help California.  When it comes to
gasoline, California is a world unto itself. And you pay for it. 
The Golden State has America’s strictest environmental
regulations for gas. Adopted in 1996, those rules have helped
clear the air in California’s smoggy cities. But by and large,
only refineries located in California make the fuel.  Posted. 

Superior Court judge rules fast-track law on CEQA challenges
unconstitutional. Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch has
ruled that a provision of AB 900 is unconstitutional, meaning
environmental challenges to certain large-scale development
projects must start in the lower courts. The provision thrown out
by Judge Roesch changed the rules for legal challenges to certain
developments under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Under the law, anyone suing to block a large-scale project that
developed renewable energy or met green building

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