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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 8, 2013

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 14:26:03
ARB Newsclips for July 8, 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.


European, U.S. Climate Policies Trail California’s.  As
California pushes forward on a wide range of aggressive goals to
curb its contribution to climate change, the same solution that’s
the centerpiece of the state’s effort — a cap-and-trade market
for carbon emissions — is moving forward in a big way on the
international stage.  The European Union voted Wednesday to
strengthen the role of the continental cap-and-trade system. 


Colorado eying air pollution rules for drilling. Air quality is
the next frontier in Colorado's oil and gas debate, as state
health officials consider new rules to deal with an industry that
emits at least 600 tons of contaminants a day. Those emissions
are now the main source of volatile organic compounds in Colorado
and the third-largest source of nitrogen oxides…Posted.


To clean the air, Dutch scientists invent pavement that eats
smog. What if the solution to smog was right where the rubber
meets the road? Scientists in the Netherlands have found that
installing special air-purifying pavement on city streets can cut
air pollution nearly in half. Researchers at Eindhoven University
of Technology outfitted one block in the city of Hengelo,
Netherlands, with paving blocks sprayed with titanium oxide,
which has the ability to remove pollutants from the air and turn
them into less harmful chemicals.

Thermo King pays air pollution penalty. The California Air
Resources Board says Bloomington, Minn.-based Thermo King Corp.
has paid a $213,200 penalty in connection with violating state
air pollution laws. ARB said the temperature-control systems
manufacturer sold diesel particulate filters after conditional
verification expired in 2011. The filters are used to reduce
emissions from auxiliary power units…Posted.

Firefighters warn of extreme fire danger in Fresno County
foothills.  Nineteen of the country's best firefighters died last
week in Arizona defending Yarnell, population about 700 — "where
a desert breeze meets the mountain air," as the town's entrance
sign reads.  It also is where urban living meets wildlands.
Firefighters dig in to protect people and property in places like
this all over the arid West. Sometimes, nature suddenly takes
their lives.  Posted. 

Toxic hotspots revealed on state map. Barrio Logan, a port
community at the intersection of freeways and industry, is the
crossroads of pollution risk for San Diego County, according to
CalEnviroscreen, a new state program that ranks communities by
their environmental health. The California Environmental
Protection Agency recently rolled out the program to highlight
areas most affected by pollution. Posted.

State program ranks pollution hot spots. Barrio Logan, a port
community at the intersection of freeways and industry, is the
crossroads of pollution risk for San Diego County, according to
CalEnviroscreen, a new state program that ranks communities by
their environmental health. The California Environmental
Protection Agency recently rolled out the program to highlight
areas most affected by pollution. Posted.


Water Warming to Boost Hydro, Nuclear-Power Costs: Study.
Waterways warmed by climate change will increase electricity
prices by as much as a third in southern Europe as producers
struggle to cool power stations, a study showed. Countries from
Romania to Bulgaria and Slovenia face the biggest price
increases, according to research today from the Laxenburg,
Austria-based Institute for International Applied Systems
Analysis. Posted.

Microbes will joust for survival in Earth's warming climate. The
meek shall inherit the Earth, and that may not be a good thing,
if the meek are cyanobacteria. It turns out that the ancient
microbes lowest on Earth's food chain are sensitive sorts.
Familiar strains of these organisms that provide "biological
services" essential to complex life are about to lose the
competition for a viable niche in a world turned warmer and more
carbon-rich, according to two new studies. Posted.

Industry panning Obama's climate change push. President Barack
Obama's push to fight global warming has triggered condemnation
from the coal industry across the industrial Midwest, where state
and local economies depend on the health of an energy sector
facing strict new pollution limits. But such concerns stretch
even to New England, an environmentally focused region that long
has felt the effects of drifting emissions from Rust Belt states.

Study challenges king crab 'invasion' as climate change threatens
Antarctica. A study published last week challenges the popular
academic claim that crabs may have disappeared from Antarctica
millions of years ago only to return thanks to warming seas, and
one of the authors believes the finding indicates how unprepared
scientists are to track the effects of global warming on
Antarctic species. Posted.


Natural Gas Futures Rise on Outlook for Hotter U.S. Weather.
Natural gas futures gained in New York for the fourth time in
five days on speculation that hotter weather may spur demand for
the power-plant fuel. Gas rose as much as 3.5 percent as
forecasts showed above-normal temperatures from the Northeast
into central and western states through July 22, according to MDA
Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Posted.

Fracking near Shafter raises questions about drilling practices.
One afternoon last fall, Tom Frantz cradled a video camera in his
hand and pointed it at an oil well on the edge of this San
Joaquin Valley farm town. Workers shuffled amid trucks and
drilling equipment, preparing the site for hydraulic fracturing –
fracking, for short – the controversial drilling method that has
the potential to spark an economic boom in California and perhaps
even free the state from foreign oil. Posted.

Fervent foes devote their lives to fracking fight. Big energy
companies have been trying for five years to tap the riches of
the Marcellus Shale in southern New York, promising thousands of
new jobs, economic salvation for a depressed region, and a cheap,
abundant, clean-burning source of fuel close to power-hungry
cities. But for all its political clout and financial prowess,
the industry hasn't been able to get its foot in the door.
Posted.  Posted.

Refineries slide down GHG priority list. As U.S. EPA begins a
long process to cut carbon from the country's electricity, a
promise to reduce emissions from oil refineries lies in limbo.
EPA missed its November 2011 deadline to propose standards for
oil refineries. In the 20 months since, there has been little
public discussion from the agency or the environmental groups
that asked for the standards in the first place.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059983973/print BY

More churches embracing greener faith. The Boston-based United
Church of Christ (UCC) has become the first national religious
denomination in the United States to sweep its investment
portfolio of companies profiting from fossil fuels in what
activists say marks a historic divestment from carbon-heavy
energy. The resolution passed last week will deny new investments
from fossil fuel companies and unwind existing ones over the
course of five years. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059983970/print BY


In Europe, Greener Transit on Existing Infrastructure.  Vienna is
employing some old-fashioned technology to run shiny new electric
buses wending their way through the narrow inner-city streets.
The Austrian capital is switching from buses powered by liquefied
petroleum gas to a novel, first-of-its-kind fleet of electric
buses that run unplugged, go anywhere, and recharge their
batteries using the overhead power lines of older trams. Posted.

Elements of Omnitrans' SBX rapid-transit line project taking
shape. Officials at the public bus agency Omnitrans are touting
the latest in their efforts give future riders of its developing
transit service a better look at how that service will be
different than regular bus service. Crews in the last month have
been installing electronic ticket vending machines, security
cameras, arrival/departure signs and emergency call lines at the
Cal State San Bernardino station of the SBX rapid-transit line, a
dedicated route bus service planned to go from CSUSB to Loma
Linda. Posted.


China Seeks EU Solar-Panel Export Cap to Avoid Duties, SSN Says.
China is proposing to limit exports of solar panels to the
European Union to 10 gigawatts a year to avoid antidumping
tariffs, the Shanghai Securities News said. China is asking the
EU to reduce or remove duties on panels within the limit and
pledged to keep prices at or above 50 euro cents ($64 U.S. cents)
a watt, the newspaper said, citing Wang Sicheng, a researcher at
the Energy Research Institute, an adviser to the government.

Biomass company excited to be headquartered in Sacramento.
Situated amid homes in a quiet, leafy section of midtown
Sacramento is the headquarters of one of the nation's leading
biomass energy firms. "We're probably No. 4 or 5 in the country
right now, but we want to be the largest," says Hugh Smith,
president and CEO of Greenleaf Power LLC. Given what Greenleaf
has done in short order in the comparatively young biomass power
industry, Smith's words don't come off as an idle boast. Posted.

Geothermal industry poised to heat up. Harnessing heat from the
Earth's core often gets buried down the list of U.S. clean energy
priorities, according to geothermal industry leaders. President
Obama noted in his new climate plan that the United States has
doubled the amount of electricity generated from wind, solar and
geothermal energy over the last four years. The policy calls for
doubling the amount of renewable electricity generation again.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059983975/print BY


Glendale tired of butts: 'Smokers will be fed to the bears' "Do
not throw cigarette butts on the ground. Our squirrels are
getting cancer," reads one sign on the north end of the Catalina
Verdugo Trail in Glendale. Yes, it's a real sign installed by the
Smoking is banned on city trails and parks, but traditional
outreach hasn't prevented cigarette butts from piling up and
there aren't enough code enforcement officials to patrol every
trail. Tired of having stodgy signs ignored, city officials are
giving humor a try. Posted.

Solar powered plane finishes journey, lands in NYC.  A
solar-powered aircraft completed the final leg of a
history-making cross-country flight Saturday night, gliding to a
smooth stop at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. 
The Solar Impulse touched down at JFK at 11:09 p.m., completing
the final leg of the cross-continental journey that started in
California in early May. For Saturday's final leg, the aircraft
left Dulles International Airport a little before 5 a.m.  Posted.


State approves key railyard cleanup plan; owner objects. After
years of rewrites and delays, state environmental officials on
Wednesday approved a long-awaited plan for toxic cleanup of the
central shops section of the downtown Sacramento railyard. The
state authorization is seen as a key step in readying the
240-acre railyard for development as an extension of downtown
with housing, offices and stores, as well as a major railroad
technology museum. Posted. 

Development Plan For Railyards Still Unclear as City Continues
Infrastructure. Railroad tracks have been moved. Two bridges have
been built with plans for connection to 5th and 6th streets. But,
within walking distance of that progress are 200 acres of land in
various stages of environmental cleanup. The California
Department of Toxic Substances Control has approved three of five
remediation action plans for long-time owner Union Pacific to
clean up the land, which is now owned by Inland American Real
Estate Trust. Posted.


Climate change is not the main cause of forest fires. The July 3
news article “Climate change, development and budget cuts fuel
upward trend in wildfires” did not fully explore the main cause
of this trend. We are feeling the effects of wildfire-suppression
policies going back a hundred years. Forest management decisions
by the U.S. Forest Service and other federal and state agencies
created the unnaturally dense and uniform forests that now cover
the western United States. Posted.

Dan Walters: California oil could boom again. When the
Legislature's 2013 session began, one of its hottest topics – as
indicated by the number of bills – was hydraulic fracturing, a
technique to extract oil from shale thousands of feet below the
earth's surface with high-pressure injection of water and
chemicals. "Fracking," as it's popularly termed, has ignited an
oil boom in other states and California is believed to have the
nation's largest shale oil deposits in the Monterey Shale…Posted.

Editorial: California needs comprehensive oil and gas rules. This
is the moment of truth for California and extraction of fossil
fuels. As The Bee's Tom Knudson reported last Sunday, the oil
industry is gearing up to exploit "an enormous buried treasure
called Monterey shale," a deep deposit that runs from Los Angeles
to Modesto and is thought to contain more than 15 billion barrels
of oil. There's nothing wrong with that. Refineries in the Golden
State receive most of their crude oil from the Middle

Editorial: A bold goal to cut toxic waste in California. The best
way to avoid having to find somewhere to dump hazardous waste is
to reduce how much must be put in landfills in the first place.
So it should not be lost that accompanying the state's
contentious decision last week to grant preliminary approval for
expanding the West's largest toxic waste landfill is a new
commitment to cut the amount of hazardous waste disposed in
California in half by 2025. Posted.

Editorial: Upside of heat wave: Smog levels are lower.  It may
seem like a small comfort after seven consecutive days of
triple-digit temperatures, but residents of the Sacramento region
are breathing easier this summer than they did during
California's last major heat wave.  A combination of preferable
weather conditions and federal, state and local efforts to reduce
ozone emissions have paid off for people who care about their
respiratory systems.  Posted. 

Obama amiss again, this time on climate change. The economy
stagnates. Syria burns. Scandals lap at his feet. China and
Russia mock him, even as a "29-year-old hacker" revealed his
nation's spy secrets to the world. How does President Barack
Obama respond? With a grandiloquent speech on climate change.


Disruptions: How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities.  By now,
seeing one of Google’s experimental, driverless cars zipping down
Silicon Valley’s Highway 101, or parking itself on a San
Francisco street, is not all that unusual. Indeed, as automakers
like Audi, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz make plans for self-driving
vehicles, it is only a matter of time before such cars become a
big part of the great American traffic jam. Posted.

Is ridesharing the future of public transit systems, or the
failure of them? Businesses aren’t the only interested parties in
the guidance that public utilities regulators will provide about
ridesharing services such as Uber, Sidecar and Lyft. Transit
policy experts, advocates and environmentalists are watching what
happens too. They’re divided about what impact ridesharing will
have on the market for mass transit, and by extension the market
for fossil fuel-combusting cars, the kind that still dominate the
auto industry. Posted.

FIREWORKS: Celebratory displays add to pollution woes. Like many
Americas, my wife and I joined some friends on the evening of
July 4 for a municipal fireworks show. We toted lawn chairs to
Riverside’s newly completed Bonaminio Park and watched as the
colorful displays exploded over Mount Rubidoux. Posted.

BLYTHE AREA: BrightSource gives up on big solar project.  The
Oakland-based BrightSource Energy Co. has officially pulled the
plug on its Rio Mesa project, a 500-megawatt solar plant that was
sought for a desert plateau near the Colorado River in eastern
Riverside County, according to reports by KCET blogger Chris
Clarke and the Desert Sun’s K Kaufmann.  On July 1, the company
filed a notice with the California Energy Commission to withdraw
the project’s certification application, which ended company’s
quest to develop the project. Posted.

How to Talk to Your Parents About Climate Change.  Maybe it will
turn out that human intelligence won't be favored by selection,
and we'll soon grow ourselves into oblivion. But no matter what
our eventual fate, I think it would do our souls good to at least
try to slow down our self-destruction. After all, just because a
penchant for murder and Kardashians seem to be inherent human
flaws doesn't mean we shouldn't do our best to minimize them. 

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