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California standards could crimp Canada oil boom
Schwarzenegger’s deals might affect Alberta’s tar sands

Robert Collier, Chronicle
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed environmental agreements with two Canadian provinces that could slow down the biggest oil boom in North American history — the tar sands of Alberta.

Last week’s agreements commit Ontario and British Columbia to adhere to California’s low-carbon fuel standard, which will cut the use of petroleum sources such as Alberta’s that cause high levels of global-warming emissions. Other provinces and U.S. states are expected to join the standard, thus shrinking the market for the fast-growing Alberta oil industry, which U.S. officials hope will overtake the Middle East as America’s main source of imported petroleum.

The agreements, signed in Toronto with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and in Vancouver with British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, require the provinces to reduce the greenhouse gas output of gasoline and diesel fuels by at least 10 percent by 2020, in accordance with the new California standard. This includes all emissions resulting from production and use of the fuels, from exploration to refining to combustion.
(6 June 2007)

Pelosi scuttles warming challenge
Dems’ plan would have blocked state’s greenhouse limits

Zachary Coile, SF Chronicle
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, responding to pressure from California officials and environmentalists, has slapped down a new proposal by top House Democrats that would have wiped out California’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.

In a brief but pointed statement Tuesday night, the San Francisco Democrat said, “Any proposal that affects California’s landmark efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or eliminates the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions will not have my support.”

Her message was a shot at two House Democrats — Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., both leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who have been crafting new energy legislation that would have thwarted the state’s ability to set tougher-than-federal standards to cut vehicle emissions.

Her opposition means the proposal will never make it to the House floor.
(6 June 2007)
An energy plan full of smoke (SF Chronicle editorial)

California leads energy efficiency

Ian Hoffman, Tri-Valley Herald
To many in Congress, the answer to the twin problems of global warming and energy security is inventing revolutionary new energy technologies and building new, cleaner power plants. But there’s a faster, cheaper and surer way, and almost no one does it better than California.

In the past 30 years, while Americans on average have nearly doubled their per capita consumption of electricity, Californians have kept their consumption about the same.

It was hardly surprising then Tuesday that the authoritative American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked California at the top of astate-by-state report card on energy efficiency, sharing first with Vermont and Connecticut.

The rest of the top 10 energy-saving states range up the Northwest and Northeast coasts and include Minnesota. Energy experts joke that an energy-efficiency map of the nation looks a lot like a map of the blue states that lean left politically. More accurately, they often are states that historically had less control over their energy and paid higher energy prices, either for heating oil in the Northeast or out-of-state electricity in California.
(6 June 2007)

Calif. sees sprawl as warming culprit

John Ritter, USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO – California is pioneering what could be the next battleground against global warming: filing suit to hold cities and counties accountable for greenhouse gas emissions caused by poorly planned suburban sprawl.

The unprecedented action is being closely watched by states that have taken aggressive steps to combat climate change – including New York, Massachusetts and Washington.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has sued San Bernardino County, the USA’s largest in land area and one of the fastest growing, for failing to account for greenhouse gases when updating its 25-year blueprint for growth.

“It’s ground-breaking. California is just leading the way for other states and jurisdictions that will ultimately follow,” says Richard Frank of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy at the University of California-Berkeley.
(6 June 2007)

Inland Empire’s 25-year growth targeted

John Ritter, USA TODAY
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – This vast county east of Los Angeles, the biggest in the continental USA, could hold the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Vermont and Rhode Island and still have room left over. Most of San Bernardino County remains mountains and empty desert.

But an ever-larger piece, the part known as the “Inland Empire,” is freeways, fast-growing cities, traffic congestion and seemingly endless sprawl. For years, this has been the refuge, with Riverside County to the south, for hundreds of thousands of home buyers fleeing soaring Los Angeles prices.

The county’s 2 million population will grow by at least 500,000 by 2030, according to state estimates. The conventional way growth has always been handled here is to build more single-family subdivisions – the suburban dream, for sale on a third of an acre.

“San Bernardino has never seen a project it didn’t like,” says Brendan Cummings, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that has brought several lawsuits in the Inland Empire over global warming. “They rubber-stamp development. It’s very much of a frontier mentality.”

Opponents of sprawl have found an unexpected ally: global warming. They see unfettered sprawl as a big contributor to greenhouse gases that fuel warming, mainly from the fossil-fuel burning homes, businesses and traffic it creates.
(6 June 2007)