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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 16, 2013 Posted: 16 Apr 2013 12:58:30
ARB Newsclips for April 16, 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. AIR POLLUTION Keystone Emissions Seen as Equal to 46 Coal Power Plants. The Keystone XL pipeline would increase greenhouse-gas emissions by the equivalent of 46 coal- fired power plants or 34 million vehicles, groups fighting the project said in a report. The finding, at odds with the environmental review by the U.S. State Department, said total emissions from the pipeline through 2050 would be greater than total U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions in 2011. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-16/keystone-emissions-seen-as-equal-to-46-coal-power-plants.html California pledges environmental cooperation with China province. As the pollution blanketed this southern city like a thick, toxic fog, California’s environmental protection secretary signed an accord with his counterpart in China’s most populous province to “help each achieve its low-carbon development goals.” With Gov. Jerry Brown looking on, California EPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez signed the accord Monday along with Li Chunhong, director general of the Guangdong Development and Reform Commission, vowing to work with local Chinese officials on cutting pollution. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/political/la-me-pc-california-pledges-environmental-cooperation-with-chinas-largest-province-20130415,0,790169.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedly EPA: 2 Pa. natural gas companies settle allegations over pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says two natural gas companies have agreed to improve their operations in western Pennsylvania. In a statement released Tuesday the EPA alleges that Mark West Liberty Midstream & Resources and Laurel Mountain Midstream Operating failed to comply with federal clean air regulations to prevent accidental releases of flammable substances. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/epa-2-pa-natural-gas-companies-settle-allegations-over-pollution/2013/04/16/b5fd0632-a6ac-11e2-9e1c-bb0fb0c2edd9_story.html San Joaquin Valley air district has grants for buses. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is seeking applications for a new grant program that provides up to $20,000 apiece for emission- reducing retrofits on valley school buses. Public school districts, joint powers authorities and private transportation agencies in the eight-county air basin are eligible for the program, which also assists school districts with upcoming compliance requirements of California’s Truck and Bus Regulation. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2013/04/15/2671372/san-joaquin-valley-air-district.html#storylink=misearch BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CAP AND TRADE EU lawmakers veto beefing up cap-and-trade system. European lawmakers dealt a blow to one of Europe’s flagship policies on fighting climate change when they voted Tuesday against tightening the bloc’s system of making companies pay for pollution. The European Union cap-and-trade system — the world’s biggest — was introduced in 2005 in the hope of encouraging industries to reduce emissions and invest in greener technologies. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_CARBON_TRADING?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Other related stories: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/business/global/europe-rejects-carbon-plan.html?_r=0 http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/16/eu-lawmakers-veto-beefing-up-cap-and-trade-system/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/eu-lawmakers-voting-on-tightening-cap-and-trade-system-to-make-carbon-pollution-more-expensive/2013/04/16/963b578a-a67b-11e2-9e1c-bb0fb0c2edd9_story.html http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_23034382/eu-lawmakers-set-vote-cap-and-trade-system?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/04/16/3259826/eu-lawmakers-set-to-vote-on-cap.html#storylink=misearch CLIMATE CHANGE ‘Messy’ U.S. climate policy is kinda working. A national climate change plan is nowhere in sight from Congress, and last week the Obama administration pushed back a deadline to crack down on power plant emissions. But despite those — and many other — familiar setbacks, a new report has found that the U.S. is nonetheless inching ahead on climate action. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/messy-us-climate-policy-is-kinda-working/ EPA annual US GHG inventory shows 1.6% drop in 2011 from previous year; transportation CO2 down 1.1%. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 18th annual report of overall US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions showing a 1.6% decrease in 2011 from the previous year. Recent trends can be attributed to multiple factors including reduced emissions from electricity generation, improvements in fuel efficiency in vehicles with reductions in miles traveled, and year-to-year changes in the prevailing weather, EPA said. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/04/epaghg-20130416.html DIESEL EMISSIONS Study: Altered farming could lower nitrous oxide emissions. Changes in agricultural practices could reduce soil emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide and the atmospheric pollutant nitric oxide, according to a new study by UC Davis scientists. “Agriculture is the main source of nitrous oxide globally, so this study is a starting point to help us understand how to manage and control it,” said professor of soil biogeochemistry William Horwath, whose lab conducted the study. The work was published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Posted. http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/ag-environment/study-altered-farming-could-lower-nitrous-oxide-emissions/ FUELS Obama administration renews aviation biofuel program. The Obama administration on Monday renewed an interagency agreement that backs the development of biofuels for the aviation industry and reiterated its support for embattled federal renewable fuel targets. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signed a pact extending a program that has worked with the private sector and rural communities to create an alternative to fossil fuels for aviation. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/15/usa-biofuels-aviation-idUSL2N0D218J20130415 To Reinvigorate Production, Alaska Grants a Tax Break to Oil Companies. Hoping to reverse two decades of declining oil production in Alaska, the State Legislature in Juneau has granted oil companies an estimated $750 million in annual tax relief to increase investment in the giant North Slope oil field. The tax change, approved on Sunday, was a major victory for Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and BP, which had lobbied for years to repeal a tax system put in place by former Gov. Sarah Palin in 2007 that made state oil taxes among the highest in the nation. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/business/energy-environment/alaska-grants-a-tax-break-to-oil-companies.html?ref=earth Lawmaker proposes office to investigate possible gas-price fixing. Think you are being ripped off at the gas pump? One California lawmaker wants to give the public a place to contact with complaints of price manipulation or other shenanigans. Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has proposed creation of an Office of Fuel Price Investigation and Manipulation Prevention at the California Energy Commission. Leno said the new office would develop anti-fuel price manipulation standards, investigate potential incidents of illegal activity and recommend ways to reduce the volatility of gas prices in California…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/political/la-me-pc-gas-prices-20130415,0,5168183.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedly REFINERY Feds: Chevron fire sign of weak oversight. The fire that destroyed part of Chevron's Richmond refinery happened because weak state regulations allowed the company to monitor rather than simply fix potential problems, federal investigators said Monday. "The bottom line," Rafael Moure-Eraso, chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, "is that Chevron had resources, time and technical expertise to know the risks. However, there was no effective intervention before the major accident occurred. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Feds-Chevron-fire-sign-of-weak-oversight-4436548.php#ixzz2QdysWp3K VEHICLES California Regulator Scolds Carmakers on EV Petition. Automakers are undermining the progress they’re making in expanding the market for electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles by petitioning against California’s mandates, a state regulator said today. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month to block California’s requirement that 1.4 million electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles be sold by 2025. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-16/california-regulator-scolds-carmakers-on-ev-petition.html http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130416/AUTO01/304160396/1361/California-air-board-asks-auto-lobbying-groups-to-back-off-zero-emissions-fight Fiat 500E lease deal charges up price competition for electric cars. There’s nothing like competition to bring down the price of a product, even expensive electric cars. Chrysler Group said it will be offering a special deal on its first electric car, the Fiat 500e, when it goes on sale this summer. While the sticker price will be $32,500 before various government incentives, California residents can lease the car for $199 a month, plus tax, and a $999 down payment. It is a 36-month lease. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-fiat-ev-lease-deal-20130415,0,3425132.story HIGH-SPEED RAIL Bullet train bidder had overruns. Builder blames past issues on governments changing specs. The lowest-bidding partnership for the first segment of California’s high-speed rail line includes a firm with a history of cost overruns and costly lawsuits. The California High Speed Rail Authority on Friday announced that the American joint venture of Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons was the “best apparent value” with a low bid of $985 million — below the $1.09 billion bid by the next-lowest bidder. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/15/high-speed-rail-bidder-overruns-tutor/?utm_source=feedly GREEN ENERGY Blowin' in the wind: California jumps to 2nd in U.S. in wind power. California installed so many new wind turbines in 2012 that it vaulted into second place behind Texas in the amount of wind power it produces, according to a new annual report from the American Wind Energy Assn. California also ranks second in the U.S. in the amount of employment associated with the wind industry, with more than 7,000 jobs, the AWEA said. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-hy-blowin-in-the-wind-california-jumps-to-2nd-in-us-in-wind-power-20130411,0,6358698.story http://grist.org/news/wind-producing-twice-the-power-of-nuke-plants-in-california/ RENEWABLE ENERGY: Desert plan to be discussed. San Bernardino County supervisors have scheduled a study session on a seven-county land-use plan that aims to identify which parts of the desert should be developed with renewable energy and which should be set aside for wildlife and other natural resources. The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at the County Government Center, 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/topics/topics-environment-headlines/20130415-renewable-energy-desert-plan-to-be-discussed.ece MISCELLANEOUS California Senate looks at statewide plastic bag ban. A drive to ban most stores from handing out single-use plastic bags got an important boost Monday when the California Grocers Assn. announced its support for a bill. The measure by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) would prohibit the bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning on Jan. 1, 2015. Shoppers would be urged to bring their own reusable cloth or plastic bags or would have the option of paying the actual cost of a paper bag, estimated at 10 cents or less. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-senate-looks-at-statewide-plastic-bag-ban-20130415,0,6464630.story Flame retardants to be removed from nap mats. A Minnesota company has pledged to remove flame-retardant chemicals from the children's nap mats it sells in California as part of a lawsuit settlement announced Monday by the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland. Peerless Plastics will pay $25,000 to the environmental health organization, which sued the corporation and dozens of others for selling products with chlorinated Tris, a recognized carcinogen in California. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Flame-retardants-to-be-removed-from-nap-mats-4436828.php#ixzz2QdyNIRoC OPINIONS California High Speed Rail: Part One, Arguments For. Fox & Hounds has given me a huge opportunity— a three part series on California high speed rail (HSR). HSR is so complex and important that the blank canvas—wonderfully large— is still inadequate, but I’ll do my best. I will assume basic knowledge of the facts. In Part One, I’ll argue a Republican-conservative case for HSR. In Part Two, I’ll argue against HSR. And in Part Three, I’ll attempt a synthesis. Posted. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2013/04/california-high-speed-rail-part-one-arguments-for/ U.S. needs a better disaster plan. The goal should be to use federal money for prevention, not just clean-up. If the highest goal of fiscal reform is to reduce spending and better the lives of Americans, here's an idea that fits the bill: Improve the way the federal government responds to the growing number of natural disasters. Natural disasters have become increasingly costly to the United States, both in terms of the toll they take on American communities and in the direct costs of mounting a federal response. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-conrad-disasters-20130416,0,6173190.story EarthTalk / 4-step plan for U.S. to ease global warming. Dear EarthTalk: What would you say are the most important steps we need to take as a nation to counter the impacts of climate change? Ned Parkinson Chino, Calif. Americans care more about the environment than ever before, and the overwhelming majority of us acknowledges that climate change is real and human-induced. But still we continue to consume many more resources per capita than any other nation and refuse to take strong policy action to stave off global warming -- even though we have the power to do so. Posted. http://www.westport-news.com/opinion/article/EarthTalk-4-step-plan-for-U-S-to-ease-global-4438530.php#ixzz2Qe19k35T BLOGS Jerry Brown says environmental law overhaul unlikely for now. Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged Tuesday he likely won't be able to overhaul California's signature environmental law in the current legislative session, citing overwhelming opposition from fellow Democrats. The California Environmental Quality Act, Brown told reporters here, "is supported by some key groups within the Democratic Party, and I think it would be difficult for the Legislature to move that process forward." Posted. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/04/jerry-brown-says-ceqa-overhaul-unlikely-for-now.html#storylink=cpy Shakeup at Plug Power, along with deadline for stock price. Plug Power of Latham announced Tuesday that its chief financial officer has resigned and that a new board member has been appointed. The news comes as the company revealed that it has been warned – for the last time – that it is in danger of being delisted from the Nasdaq stock market for having its stock price trading below $1. Plug Power, which makes hydrogen-powered fuel cells for use in fork lift trucks, has been suffering through financial difficulties due to problems with its equipment. Posted. http://blog.timesunion.com/business/shakeup-at-plug-power-along-with-deadline-for-stock-price-to-reach-1/56481/ Washington State may impose $124 fine on EV spot stealers. Park your gas-powered car in an electric-vehicle-designated spot in the Emerald State and you could find yourself Cashless in Seattle. The Washington State legislature has approved a bill that would impose a $124 fine on conventional-vehicle drivers busted for parking in spots slated for plug-in vehicles, the Associated Press reports. Legislators approved the bill by a seven-to-one margin. The bill now needs approval from Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2013/04/16/washington-state-may-impose-124-fine-on-ev-spot-stealers/