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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 21, 2014. Posted: 21 Jul 2014 14:08:57
ARB Newsclips for July 21, 2014. 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. CAP AND TRADE Cap-and-trade could aid preservation of California farmland. Abandoning the farm that he had worked for three decades, and that his wife’s family had owned for over a century, was never an option for Dan Port. Port and his family had continued to squeeze a profit out of their 180 acres near the small town of Ione, raising grass-fed beef to sell through farmers markets. Determined as he was to keep the farm running, Port said he recognized the constant pressure on farmers to give their land over to developers. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/19/6568511/cap-and-trade-could-aid-preservation.html Utilities already regulated under cap-and-trade urge Brown to hold fast. Utilities urge Brown to hold fast on cap-and-trade. Oil industry groups and some utilities are on opposite sides in the intensifying debate over expanding California’s cap-and-trade program to vehicle fuels in 2015. The oil industry has called on Gov. Jerry Brown to delay the expansion. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/18/6566822/the-buzz-utilities-already-regulated.html#storylink=cpy Climate plan faces new challenge: Gas prices. Fear of a gasoline price spike is creeping into Sacramento as California’s gasoline and diesel producers prepare for the first time to pay for the air pollution their products create. State clean air regulators are getting ready to extend a cap on greenhouse gas emissions to motor fuels in the transportation sector on Jan. 1, 2015. Fuel producers are likely to pass on costs for acquiring necessary pollution allowances to consumers at the gas pump, though at what price is uncertain. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jul/16/capandtrade-faces-political-test/ Most Americans Support Carbon Tax When Revenue Is Earmarked. A new study shows the public doesn’t trust government to use money effectively without direction. A survey released Monday reveals most Americans – across all political parties – support a tax on carbon emissions if the money it raises is directly spent on a specific cause, such as research into renewable energy. Posted. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/07/21/most-americans-support-carbon-tax-when-revenue-is-earmarked AIR POLLUTION U.S. Seen as Weak on Global Research Collaboration. Amie K. Lund’s long-distance collaboration with a researcher in France was a modest one. They published a paper together, exchanging drafts by email. But Dr. Lund, who studies the effect of air pollution on the heart and brain, wanted to learn an innovative cell-culture technique that her colleague had developed in his lab, and, as she said with a laugh, “you can’t just email a protocol.” Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/us/us-seen-as-weak-on-global-research-collaboration.html?_r=0 FBI issues warning about air conditioner coolant. As the U.S. tries to phase out a polluting refrigerant that is used in millions of air conditioners across the country, unapproved coolant is popping up on the market — with potentially dangerous consequences. The FBI is warning people to be on alert for refrigerant substitutes that have not been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/FBI-issues-warning-about-air-conditioner-coolant-5631525.php Utah gears up for new efforts to clear air. A Utah lawmaker is bringing back a failed effort to clear soot from Utah's skies. Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, proposes that Utah allow state regulators to set pollution standards that are stricter than their federal counterparts'. The state's mountains, weather and other factors combine in winter to create an air pollution problem unique to the state, Edwards told a legislative panel Wednesday. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Utah-gears-up-for-new-efforts-to-clear-air-5633659.php UC RIVERSIDE: Researchers study smog-eating roof tiles. The UC Riverside student researchers found a titanium dioxide compound removes up to 97 percent of smog-causing nitrogen oxides. A little bit of titanium may go a long way toward reducing air pollution. Student researchers from UC Riverside have found that specially coated roof tiles have potential smog-eating capabilities, prompting questions about where else the coating could be applied for more smog-fighting results. Posted. http://www.pe.com/articles/smog-697772-tiles-engineering.html Project at Ky. coal plant to trap carbon dioxide. Kentucky elected officials and representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy will visit a central Kentucky coal power plant to tout a project that will capture and store carbon dioxide emissions. They will be breaking ground Monday on the carbon capture pilot system at the E.W. Brown Generating Station in Harrodsburg. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2014/07/21/3448735/project-at-ky-coal-plant-to-trap.html#storylink=cpy Court won't reconsider EPA's decision not to regulate mine emissions. A federal appeals court on Friday declined to reconsider a ruling upholding U.S. EPA's decision against regulating coal mine emissions under the Clean Air Act. At issue is a petition from environmentalists asking the agency to crack down on coal mine emissions and set performance standards. In response, EPA expressed being open to the idea but said it didn't have time to act on it. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1060003209/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Judges reject Volvo's bid to overturn $72M EPA penalty. Federal judges on Friday upheld a $72 million penalty imposed on a non-road heavy-duty engine maker for violating U.S. EPA air standards. Volvo Powertrain Corp. had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overturn the penalty, arguing that the engines were manufactured by a sister company -- Volvo Penta -- and therefore did not violate the terms of a previous settlement agreement. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1060003213/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE First six months of 2014 were warmest in California's history. The first six months of 2014 were the hottest ever in California, according to the National Weather Service. The period was nearly 5 degrees warmer than the 20th century average and more than a degree hotter than the record set in 1934, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-warmest-weather-california-20140721-story.html DROUGHT California drought will only get worse, experts say. California is probably headed into a deeper drought this summer, making it harder to escape in the future, an expert says. With more than 80% of the state in an extreme drought, dry conditions will probably continue and won't improve much in the next few months, said climatologist Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-california-drought-worsen-20140718-story.html California’s new water-waste penalty also applies to government, but who will enforce it? When California water officials last week passed new regulations making wasting water a crime, they also handed a new tool to government watchdogs. In a little-noticed provision of the regulations adopted Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board declared that public agencies – in addition to individuals and businesses – can be prosecuted for a criminal infraction and fined $500 per day for certain categories of water waste. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/21/6569749/californias-new-water-waste-penalty.html#mi_rss=Our%20Region#storylink=cpy Drought hinders California's clean energy goals. Already locked in its third dry year, an ongoing drought could complicate California's battle against global warming and make it more expensive, officials said. For years, dams have been one of California's main sources of clean energy, generating power without spewing greenhouse gases into the air. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Drought-hinders-California-s-clean-energy-goals-5634164.php California drought: Are swimming pools a waste of water? “Swimmin’ pools, movie stars.” The notable refrain from the “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song describes it best. Not everyone who moves to California can become a movie star. But if you have enough money, you can get a house with a swimming pool. Pools are the aquamarine line between affluent and low-income Los Angeles. Getting a house with a pool was a status symbol for the TV Clampetts…Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20140718/california-drought-are-swimming-pools-a-waste-of-water California drought: High-bidding farmers battle in water auctions. Rumors drifted across the parched Central Valley that a bidding war for water might push auction prices as high as $3,000 an acre-foot, up from $60 in a normal year. Yet, Ray Flanders needed water to keep his orchards alive. So this spring he sealed his bid in an envelope, climbed into his truck and drove 70 miles to hand-deliver it to the Madera Irrigation District, which had water saved from 2013. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_26181042/high-bidding-farmers-battle-water-auctions Agriculture chief visits water-starved families. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited drought-stricken homeowners on Friday in Central California, saying drought and climate change would require major investment to secure future water supplies. Vilsack also announced $9.7 million in new emergency drought aid to help rural Californians hurt by the state's three-year drought. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Agriculture-chief-visits-water-starved-families-5631563.php Stanislaus County irrigation districts pumping record amounts of groundwater. Despite widespread concerns about declining groundwater levels, some Stanislaus County irrigation districts have dramatically increased well pumping this year. Modesto Irrigation District wells pumped 311 percent more groundwater this January through June than they did during the same months last year. Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/07/19/3755726/stanislaus-county-irrigation-districts.html In the battle against the drought, O.C. residents might be part of the problem. If you’re annoyed with last week’s move by the state to fine people up to $500 a day for wasting water, you might want to consider your own use – or your neighbor’s. It turns out that Southern California, Orange County residents in particular, are very much part of the problem when it comes to saving water. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/water-629340-state-california.html California Emergency Regulations Mandate Water Conservation. In response to the ongoing severe drought, the State Water Resources Control Board approved an emergency regulation to ensure water agencies, their customers and state residents increase water conservation in urban settings or face possible fines or other enforcement. Posted. http://www.sonomacountygazette.com/cms/pages/sonoma-county-news-article-2886.html Despite California's Drought, Taps Still Flowing In LA County. This January, after the driest calendar year in California history, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. He called on residents to reduce their water intake by 20 percent. But downtown Los Angeles doesn't look like a city devastated by the state's worst drought in decades. The city is green with landscaping, and fountains are running.. Posted. http://www.npr.org/2014/07/20/333019977/despite-californias-drought-taps-still-flowing-in-la-county USDA offers $9.7M in emergency funds for rural Californians. The Agriculture Department is offering close to $10 million to 25 California public utilities and water districts in need of emergency drought assistance. The Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants are triple the amount the department committed to the state earlier this year and will help 73,000 residents, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/stories/1060003143/ BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DIESEL EMISSIONS BASF Mobile Emissions Catalysts Plant Open for Business. BASF has inaugurated its €150 million ($203 million) production plant for mobile emissions catalysts — the company’s largest emissions catalysts plant in Europe — in Sroda Slaska, a Special Economic Zone near Wroclaw, Poland. The emissions catalysts produced in Sroda Slaska will be used by manufacturers of light duty gasoline vehicles and light and heavy duty diesel vehicles to meet more stringent Euro 6/VI emissions regulations. Posted. http://www.environmentalleader.com/2014/07/21/basf-mobile-emissions-catalysts-plant-open-for-business/ FUELS China Boosts June Net Diesel Exports to Highest in Four Years. China raised its net diesel exports to the highest level in four years as domestic demand trailed output growth amid a slowing economy. Overseas sales of the fuel in the world’s largest energy consumer exceeded imports by about 440,200 metric tons in June, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s the highest since May 2010. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-21/china-boosts-june-net-diesel-exports-to-highest-in-four-years.html Movement targets fossil fuel divestiture. When she learned of an international campaign to divest from the fossil fuel industry, Wanda Guthrie didn't wait long to join in. As environmental justice committee chair of the Thomas Merton Center — a faith-based social activist group in Bloomfield — she has been urging religious and other groups to use their investment decisions to promote a halt in the burning of carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Movement-targets-fossil-fuel-divestiture-5632655.php Feds approve oil exploration off US Eastern Coast. The Obama administration has sided with energy developers over environmentalists, approving the use of underwater blasts of sound to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in federal Atlantic Ocean waters. The regulatory decision is the first real step toward what could be an economic transformation in East Coast states, potentially creating a new energy infrastructure, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Feds-approve-oil-exploration-off-US-Eastern-Coast-5632273.php Prospect of higher gas prices causes concern. Fear of a gasoline price spike is creeping into Sacramento as California’s gasoline and diesel producers prepare for the first time to pay for the air pollution their products create. State clean-air regulators are getting ready to extend a cap on greenhouse gas emissions to motor fuels in the transportation sector on Jan. 1, 2015. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jul/21/tp-prospect-of-higher-gas-prices-causes-concern/ FRACKING California reviews fracking water disposal amid contamination concerns. California on Friday said it would review wells where oil drilling waste water from the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is disposed to ensure they are not contaminating drinking water. The move comes after the state ordered oil companies to shut down 11 wells on July 1 in Kern County, an area in the state’s Central Valley that is home to the bulk of its crude oil production. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/19/us-california-fracking-idUSKBN0FO02Y20140719?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews State allows two oil field injection wells to resume operation. State oil regulators announced Friday they have lifted emergency shutdown orders on two of the 11 Kern County injection wells closed last week out of concern they may have contaminated protected groundwater. One of the wells allowed to resume operation belongs to Longbow LLC, and the other is owned by Pace Diversified Corp., according to the agency that closed the wells July 7, the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Posted. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/business/kern-gusher/x855029576/State-allows-two-oil-field-injection-wells-to-resume-operation VEHICLES Tesla idles Fremont production line for Model X upgrade. Tesla Motors shut down its production line Monday as part of a long-scheduled plan to retool the factory to increase production of the Model S sedan and prepare for the introduction of the Model X crossover SUV. "We'll be back at regular production Aug. 4," Simon Sproule, Tesla's vice president of communications, said in an interview. "We'll be down for 128 hours of regularly scheduled production time." Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_26188834/tesla-shuts-down-its-fremont-plant-retool-production GREEN ENERGY How Does Your Energy Bill Compare To Others? Americans will be wiping sweat off their foreheads this month, so get ready to crank up those air conditioners. July tends to be the hottest month of the year in the contiguous U.S., and as a result it has the highest energy consumption. With mercury rising, consumers can expect the heat to drain not only their energy supply but also their wallets. In the United States, 7.1 percent of the average consumer's total income is spent on energy costs, including fuel, natural gas and electricity. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/How-Does-Your-Energy-Bill-Compare-To-Others-5632518.php Solar cooking conference extols virtues of cookers to developing world. Hundreds of people Saturday cooked using only the power of the sun – a practice little used in the United States, but considered a liberating tool for women in developing countries that also helps curb greenhouse gas emissions. The solar cooking event at William Land Park capped a three-day conference by Sacramento-based Solar Cookers International. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2014/07/20/3447293/solar-cooking-conference-extols.html#storylink=cpy MISCELLANEOUS Global conference in Nevada focuses on mountains. More than 170 scientists from around the world gathered in Reno for what organizers billed as a first-of-its-kind conference to discuss global monitoring systems for mountain environments. The four-day gathering, which ended this weekend after being hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno, also drew sociologists, political scientists, economists and anthropologists. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/20/6569793/global-conference-in-nevada-focuses.html#storylink=cpy New Peru law weakens environmental safeguards. Dozens of international groups, the United Nations, and even Peru's own citizen ombudsman are objecting to a new law that weakens environmental protections in the Andean nation even as it prepares to host international climate talks this year. The law, aimed at increasing investment, strips Peru's six-year-old environment ministry of jurisdiction over air, soil and water quality standards, as well as its ability to set limits for harmful substances. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/New-Peru-law-weakens-environmental-safeguards-5633522.php OPINIONS The Pentagon's War Against Climate Change. U.S. conservatives make at least two arguments against action on climate change: We don’t have enough conclusive evidence to prove it is happening, and even if we did, the cost of cutting our carbon emissions would be too high. The U.S. military has been quietly rebutting both those arguments. Posted. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-07-18/the-pentagon-s-war-against-climate-change Water and Climate Change. Any blueprint for grappling with climate change must simultaneously factor in the water use involved in the technological options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a fact inadequately addressed in the United Nations report cited by Mr. Porter. Electricity technologies are no exception. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/19/opinion/Water-and-Climate-Change.html?_r=0 Op-Ed: The carbon taxes we're already paying. In June, a decades-long open secret hit the media like a typhoon: Climate change is the fundamental economic challenge of our time. The bipartisan troika of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, hedge fund mogul Tom Steyer and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson funded the report, titled "Risky Business," which estimated that on its current trajectory, climate change could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by 2050. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-schapiro-high-costs-of-climate-change-20140717-story.html#page=1 Coalition forms to manage California's groundwater. So let me get this straight: The state government is telling us we can't hose down the driveway and should feel guilty about watering the lawn. But it's OK for somebody to pump all the groundwater he wants? The policy-makers are padlocking flush toilets and shutting off showers at some state parks. But they're too lazy or cowardly to regulate people's wells? http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-cap-ground-water-20140721-column.html Climate-change deniers living in fantasy world. If Michael Grant (June 19, "Global Warming scam keeps rich above peasantry") bothered to read some of the vast body of sound science now available that confirms current climate change is man-made, he would see that this time things are different. The rapidity of change including temperatures, atmospheric CO2 levels, the melting of ancient glaciers…Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Climate-change-deniers-living-in-fantasy-world-5629283.php A plan to prevent copper pollution in waterways is fatally flawed. As early as next month, the State Water Resources Control Board could take up the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board’s recommendation for the maximum level of copper particulates allowed in Marina del Rey, one of the largest man-made harbors in the world. This sounds fairly simple, but the proposal is so flawed that it’s destined for failure. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/19/6566734/viewpoints-a-plan-to-prevent-copper.html Spending on the Delta a sticking point in the water bond. If Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers want voters to weigh in this year on a multibillion-dollar water bond – a big if – they will need to compromise on what may seem like an arcane point: Who controls the money earmarked for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta? http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/21/6566904/editorial-spending-on-the-delta.html Opinion: We're the ones to blame for water cops, ticket books. There are some people who if told it's a bad idea to kick a rattlesnake they would go ahead and do it anyway, because, by god, no one is going to tell them what to do. Many of them are 2-year-olds, some perform in Monty Python's Flying Circus but the vast majority are otherwise sane adults living here in California. Posted. http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/home/2014/07/20/ones-blame-water-cops-ticket-books/12925809/ BLOGS One in seven trucks will be alt-fuel by 2035. More natural gas. Less diesel. That's a quick synopsis of a study by Navigant Research on future fueling trends for trucks. Powertrains that are either plug-in or run on natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (i.e. propane or autogas) represent a small minority of global medium- and heavy-duty trucks but will account for 14 percent of those trucks (about one in seven) by 2035. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2014/07/20/one-seven-trucks-alt-fuel-2035/ The Week Ahead: EPA's McCarthy to Testify on Carbon Rules for Power Plants. On July 23, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during a hearing on "EPA's Proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants." As detailed in a June 17 Energy and Climate Report article, the proposed rules would set carbon dioxide emissions standards for existing and modified power plants by establishing unique CO2 emissions rates for the power industry in each state. Posted. http://www.bna.com/week-ahead-epas-b17179892555/ SAE announces J2601 hydrogen fueling standard. Standardizing refueling systems isn't a quick process, and a new set of fueling standards for hydrogen stations were about 13 years in the making. But SAE International (SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers) said this week that it finally settled on a hydrogen refueling standard for light-duty vehicles. For the record, it's called SAE J2601. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2014/07/21/sae-announces-j2601-hydrogen-fueling-standard/ Does Big Oil Really Care About Vulnerable Communities? There they go again... with the same lament we always seem to hear from Big Oil lobbyists when it's time to protect public health: Don't put environmental protections on fuels, because that "will hit low-income and middle-income families the hardest." In other words, if you make us clean up our act, then we'll be forced to raise gas prices, which hurts vulnerable people... You don't want to hurt them, do you? Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jorge-madrid/does-big-oil-really-care-_b_5596119.html The Surprising Reasons Why Lowering CO2 Emissions Will Drive Our Electricity Bills Down, Not Up. If the customer wants clean energy, he’ll have to pay for it, right? Wrong. There’s actually no premium attached to low-carbon power, state utility regulators heard last week at their annual conference in Dallas. I’ll cut to the chase. Check out this report from Analysis Group, a five-star consultancy based in Boston, who presented at the conference. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelkrancer/2014/07/21/report-lowering-co2-emissions-will-drive-electric-bills-down-not-up-surpised/ California is in a drought emergency. Visit www.SaveOurH2O.org for water conservation tips.