From: Leonard Anderson -Reuters
Published September 8, 2007 07:05 AM

California air board plans new regulations

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The California Air Resources Board said on Friday it would step up the pace of new regulations to fight global warming in the most populous U.S. state.


The air board also added measures that go beyond the requirements of California's 2006 landmark law to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.


New "early action" proposals are projected to remove 2.8 million metric tons of annual emissions of heat-trapping gases and, combined with other efforts, could cut emissions by more than 36 million metric tons by 2020, the board said in a release.


Plans include requiring ships in ports to plug into electrical outlets and shut off auxiliary diesel engines; making cement plants more energy efficient; curbing perfluorcarbon emissions in the semiconductor industry; and modifying trucks and trailers to make them more aerodynamic.


Another program would cut emissions from aerosols, tire inflators, electronics cleaning and dust removal products.


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"Every single action we take -- government, businesses, municipalities and individuals alike -- makes a difference toward ultimately cooling our planet," Mary Nichols, board chairman, said.


Nichols, a veteran environmentalist, was appointed in July by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to lead CARB to defuse criticism that the state was moving too slowly on its legislation against global warming.


Schwarzenegger in June fired CARB Chairman Robert Sawyer after the board voted to delay a plan to reduce smog, and the board's chief executive quit, saying the governor's staff was stalling implementation of the state's global warming law.


Nichols chaired CARB under former Gov. Jerry Brown and also served in the Clinton administration as an assistant administrator for air and radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Environmental groups welcomed the new air board steps, which will raise the number of proposed standards to 11 from three.


The first three sets a low-carbon fuel standard, restricts the sale of automotive refrigerants, and increases removal of methane from landfills.


"We are pleased in particular with items reducing global warming pollution, cutting toxic emissions and improving air quality all at the same time," said Devra Wang, California energy program director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Wang said the new regulations will use existing technologies to be in place by 2010.


CARB will hold a workshop on September 17 to hear comments on the staff proposals before they go to the board's directors for approval on October 25-26.


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