Railpower Receives EPA Certification for Three-Engine Road Switcher
California Governor to Propose $95 Million for Cleantech, Biotech and Nanotech Research

California ARB Awards $2.6 Million for Emissions Measurement and Reduction Technologies

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has selected 12 new proposals to receive this year’s Innovative Clean Air Technology (ICAT) awards. The $2.6 million, the largest yearly amount ever dispersed through ICAT, will help transition these projects from theory to working models that will illustrate their commercial potential.

Of the 104 pre-proposals originally submitted for consideration, these 12 projects were selected:

  • Motor Vehicle Diesel Engine Emissions Technologies. Diesel engines particulate matter emissions account for seventy percent of the air borne toxic air contaminants that Californians encounter daily. These three projects will develop new technology that will reduce those emissions.

    • Demonstration of Lean-NOx Trap, Diesel Particulate Filter, and On-Board Reformer; NxtGen Emissions Controls, Inc.;$200,059
    • Demonstration of Selective Catalytic Reduction and Continuously Regenerating Trap for Off-Road Engines; Johnson Matthey, Inc.; $70,000
    • Demonstration of Solid Ammonia Storage System for Selective Catalytic Reduction; Extengine Transport Systems; $157,000
  • Non-Diesel On-Road Vehicle Technologies.

    • Demonstration of a Natural Gas-Fired Engine with Selective Catalytic Reduction and Exhaust Gas Recirculation; Cummins Westport , Inc.; $250,000
    • Demonstration of a Lithium-Powered Propulsion System in a Transit Bus; ISE Corp.; $290,000
  • Measurement of Particulate Matter (PM) Emissions from Diesel Engines. These two projects will develop technology that will produce more accurate data on the emission of particulate matter from diesel engines.

    • Measurement of PM Using Electrostatic Charging; Environmental Systems Products Holdings, Inc.; $250,000
    • Measurement of Solid Carbon (Soot) Using Laser Induced Incandescence; Artium Technologies, Inc.;$200,000
  • Marine Emissions Control Technologies. These two projects will aid in the development of technology that will reduce the amount of emissions put in the air from marine engines.

    • Demonstration of Selective Catalytic Reduction and a Diesel Particulate Trap on Passenger Ferries; Engine, Fuel, and Emissions Engineering, Inc.; $151,170
    • Development of a Three-Way Catalyst for Four-Stoke Outboard Engines; Mercury Marine; $475,000
  • Stationary Source Technologies.

    • Demonstration of a Laser-Based System for Stripping Paints; Institute for Research and Technical Assistance; $200,000
    • Demonstration of an Acoustic Sensor to Reduce LPG Emissions from Refilling of Storage Tanks; The ADEPT Group, Inc.; $150,200
    • Demonstration of a Closed-Loop Combustion Control System for Microturbine Generators; University of California, Irvine, Combustion Lab; $215,000

The ICAT program was developed to facilitate the commercialization of technologies that will control air pollution and support ARB”s clean-air objectives. The intent is to bridge monetary gaps that arise between the development of new technologies and the creation of models that demonstrate the concepts’ commercial applications.

Since its beginning in 1994, 44 ICAT projects have been approved. Forty-one of the funded projects have been technologies to reduce emissions from mobile, area, and stationary sources of air pollution. Three projects are for novel or improved instruments to measure fine particulate matter at low cost.

Twenty-seven of the projects have been completed, and nine of the ICAT technologies have been commercialized. Two of the more successful projects include a diesel particulate filter that is regenerated while the vehicle is not in use, and a fleet of electric-powered tractors used to transport baggage to commercial airliners. The Elk Grove School District in Sacramento County has installed 49 of the diesel particulate filters in its school buses, and Southwest Airlines is using the electric-powered tractors at Sacramento International Airport.

This year, the California legislature approved a one-time increase of $1 million for ICAT, bringing this year’s allocation to about $2 million. Normally, ICAT is funded at about $1 million per year. This increase was provided so the ARB could consider awarding larger grants, and to consider projects related to other air quality areas, such as emissions measurement and monitoring. Of the $2.6 million in funding for the new projects this year, the South Coast Air Quality Management District will consider contributing $278,500 for half of the funding for three projects. And, the California Energy Commission will contribute $250,000, fully funding one project.



This seems like a good list of things to work on. The most interesting one is micro-turbine. It would be good to see if it works out or not.


You can recycle all the paint fumes you want, but until you get rid of the ICE smog pumps, you are kidding yourself. Oh, and while you are at it, clean up the coal fired power plants. (more an east coast thing)


You mean Ohio/Tennessee River valley thing. Yes, The East Coast does get some of their electricity from coal fired plants in the upper Midwest - and associated mercury/acid rain - but the plants are not "East Coast". As for the rest of the country, they get much of their air/precipitation pollution from:
a) local sources
b) FSU/Central/East Asia


California gets 50% of its electricity using NG, but the nation gets 50% of its electricity using coal fired power plants.
Montana would be the nearest coal mines I know of, so I figured most of the coal plants are in the midwest and east of the Mississippi. When you add up all the things mentioned in this article, they do make a difference. But benhavior modifications, like less commuting would do much more.


Just a side note. Here is a good article on a PNGV analysis that was done to see if the program did any good. It pretty much said, yes it did some good.


Charlie Peters

The $0.51 per gal. corporate welfare to the oil refiners for adding 5.6% ethanol to California gas is about $500,000,000.00 per year.

The ethanol may add over $1.00 per gal. to the gas profit in California.

That may be about $100 billion in oil profit from California motorists.

The science is interesting but so is the money.

A $4 billion Prop. 87 oil tax may add $40 billion in oil profit.

Charlie Peters
(510) 537-1796
Clean Air Performance Professionals

ps DCA/BAR does not determine if Smog Check faults are repaired, never.

Charlie Peters

Chief, Sherry Mehl, DCA/BAR, has never found out if what is broken on a Smog Check failed car gets fixed, never

Vote NO on SB 23 (Cogdill) unless amended

Amendments to Section 44036 California Health and Safety Code

Consumer protection-oriented quality assurance portion of the motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program

Preamble - Under these amendments, an in-field vehicle repair audit program is added to Section 44036 of the California Health and Safety Code. These amendments, in conjunction with existing BAR legal responsibilities will create a program with the goal and procedures intended to create maximum vehicle owner satisfaction. The in-field vehicle repair audit program will provide a mechanism for continuous improvements in how vehicles are repaired so that customers will be better satisfied with the time and investment that they are making in California's Smog Check Program. By adopting a new philosophy of management we are acknowledging that motorists no longer need to live with vehicle repairs that might be characterized as insufficient or defective.

By identifying the actual quality of repairs through in-field audits of known, defects, and feeding this information back to smog check technicians and BAR staff, there would be continual improvement of quality and opportunity to reduce waste in repair actions.

Presently fear of loss of license or legal sanctions is a barrier to improving the quality of vehicle repairs. This program will encourage effective two-way communication and other mechanisms that will enable technicians and regulators and consumers to be part of the new quality audit program.

A program will help remove the barriers that rob service technicians and managers of their pride in workmanship. The in-field vehicle repair audit program will institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for all participants in the Smog Check program. In summary, these amendments provide a permanent legislative and Executive commitment, and the necessary audit procedures for ever-improving quality and productivity in the vehicle repairs (and emissions reductions), mandated under California's vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program.

44036 (a) The consumer protection-oriented quality assurance portion of the motor vehicle inspection program shall ensure uniform and consistent tests and repairs by all qualified Smog Check technicians and licensed Smog Check stations throughout the state, and shall include a number of stations providing referee functions available to consumers.

(b) To achieve the goal of consumer protection and quality assurance, the department is directed to adopt in-field audits using known vehicle defects. The in-field audits will be used to determine if a technician does actually detect, diagnose and repair the designated audit vehicle defect.

(c) As there are no clear standards to see that emissions defects are being corrected, these audits are to be conducted without notification being provided to ensure accurate assessment. The improved methods generated by the audits will provide continuous improvements in the quality of vehicle repairs actually occurring.

Charlie Peters

Chief, Sherry Mehl, DCA/BAR, has never found out if what is broken on a Smog Check failed car gets fixed, never

"Although it may be the first of its kind, it will likely not be the last. John Shearer, owner of Tahoe Sportfishing expects to have 2 of his 6 boats fitted with engines funded through the Carl Moyer Program before the summer boating season. He expects 3 more of his boats' engines to replaced with more efficient, cleaner-burning engines by this fall."


Setting the stage: Bleu Wave burns clean on lake

Adam Jensen, Tahoe Daily Tribune, March 14, 2007

With significant help from funds brought in through state grants, a classic 70 foot Burger yacht might just house two of the cleanest-burning diesel boat engines on Lake Tahoe.

Two 500 horsepower Series 60 Detroit engines were installed in January on The Bleu Wave, a vessel previously owned by MontBleu, but bought 2 months ago by Ryan and Laura Forvilly of Round Hill.

"We're running really clean right now," said Ryan Forvilly. "It's probably the cleanest burning boat on Lake Tahoe."

Clark Smithson, the Bleu Wave's captain of three years, estimated the new engines have cut fuel consumption by a third and emissions by half. The new computerized engines also have a leak-free nature that is sure to keep Smithson happy for a long time to come.

"My bilge will stay clean for the first time in years," he said.

Dirty bilge water wasn't the only problem with the old 8V71 diesel engines on the Bleu Wave. A particularly nasty exhaust also had found its source in those engines. When inspectors came to test the emissions, even Smithson was surprised at the outcome.

"It was a little embarrassing," Smithson said. "It was worse than we thought."

That's where the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Program comes in. Started in 1998, the program's aim is to offset the higher cost of cleaner-than-required heavy-duty engines.

"The Carl Moyer Program has been a public health success in its first eight years providing over five dollars worth of health benefits for every dollar spent," said Dr. Robert Sawyer, California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board Chairman, in a press statement. "With the demand for grants routinely outstripping availability, increased funding assured by Governor Schwarzenegger will allow California to more rapidly improve air quality."

In its first six years, the Carl Moyer Program provided over $140 million in funding to clean up more than 6,300 heavy-duty engines. Engines on buses, trash trucks, construction and agricultural vehicles have seen most of the funding from the program, making the on-water improvements of the Bleu Wave a rarity.

Moyer grants covered 80 percent of the costs associated with the boat's new engines, according to Smithson. Obtaining the necessary funding included Carl Moyer Grant contributions from Sacramento, Placer County, and El Dorado County.

"Everyone chipped in," Smithson said. "They were kind of excited about it being the first commercial boat (under the program) on the lake."

Although it may be the first of its kind, it will likely not be the last. John Shearer, owner of Tahoe Sportfishing expects to have 2 of his 6 boats fitted with engines funded through the Carl Moyer Program before the summer boating season. He expects 3 more of his boats' engines to replaced with more efficient, cleaner-burning engines by this fall.


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Charlie Peters

NO on AB118

Corn ethanol policy is good for gasoline refiners

Corn ethanol policy increases oil use and increases oil profit

The proposed car tax of AB 118 Nunez is an oil company welfare program

Italy used public/private partnerships as a business model in the early '40s

In my opinion the corn ethanol waiver allowed in the 2005 fed energy bill would lower gas prices, improve miles per gal, lower oil use and improve the air.

Your phone book lists your elected officials, sharing your opinion with the folks that make our rules might help

Clean Air Performance Professionals

Charlie Peters

Schwarzenegger’s nominee to fight global warming has a checkered past

By Nicholas Miller, Sacramento News & Review, 07.18.2007

When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fired California Air Resources Board chairman Robert Sawyer last month, he set off a chain reaction that exposed an agency badly shaken. Within weeks, ARB executive director Catherine Witherspoon resigned, and Capitol testimony by her and Sawyer revealed unprecedented interference by the governor’s staff over the ARB’s implementation of last year’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

Schwarzenegger tapped Mary Nichols to head the board. Her nomination was seen as a shrewd recovery; Nichols’ qualifications—chairwoman of the ARB under Governor Jerry Brown and administrator with the U.S. EPA under President Bill Clinton—seemed beyond doubt.

But while some critics question whether Nichols will be able to effectively curb emissions within the industry-beholden Schwarzenegger administration—“I don’t think anybody should be under the illusion that appointing Mary Nichols completely solves all of the problems at ARB,” offered Sierra Club’s Bill Magavern, who gingerly supports her nomination. “It’s a first step.”—others fear she’ll be part of the problem.

Their evidence? Nichols’ performance at the U.S. EPA and her role in enforcing 1990’s Clean Air Act amendments, which they contend casts doubts on her ability to effectively fight global warming in California.

“I am under the impression that Mary has been wired to the major corporate agenda for decades,” argued Charlie Peters, a longstanding smog-check and environmental activist who heads up the New Jersey-based Clean Air Performance Professionals. “She’s being put in there because she does what the corporate agenda wants.”
Nichols’ tenure at the national EPA marked a decided shift in U.S. policy for establishing and enforcing emissions reductions. A June 2000 report by D.C.-based nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility documents that Nichols, then-EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, played an instrumental role in undermining regulations and compliance.

According to the PEER report, Nichols in 1995 touted open-market trading as the “new paradigm for market-based control,” referring to a paper by attorney Richard Ayres of the O’Melveny and Myers law firm as inspiration for the new direction.

But there was a conflict of interest: Nichols’ husband, attorney John Daum, who represented Exxon in the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill case Baker v. Exxon, was an employee of O’Melveny and Myers.

In July 1994, Nichols had issued a permanent recusal that forbid her to participate “in any EPA matter in which the law firm of O’Melveny and Myers is providing representational services.” Her support for the Ayres concept of open-market trading in 1995 seemingly violated the recusal, but the EPA ignored the apparent conflict.

In 1995, the report says Nichols “directed EPA regional administrators to de-emphasize the Clean Air Act’s deadlines for attainment plans [or emissions-reductions goals] and instead shift to an emphasis on what she described as 'market-based alternatives.’” This gave states the green light to initiate carbon-credit-trading programs without a national cap on overall emissions or “quantification protocols,” which would have established a common currency for trading.

The Clean Air Act Corporation, an O’Melveny and Myers client, later would become the nation’s largest broker of these open-market-trading credits.

A 1996 EPA inspector general report challenged the validity of Nichols’ plan, citing “invalid credits or weaken[ed] enforcement.” But Nichols and fellow EPA officials were unconcerned. “Mary Nichols and I remain committed to developing a model rule which minimizes the federal government’s involvement in the day-to-day operation of the market for these trades,” stated John Seitz, director of the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.

In 1997, Nichols testified before Congress that greenhouse-gas emissions are “especially well-suited to be addressed through emissions trading because the problem is caused by cumulative emissions well mixed in the atmosphere.”

PEER executive director Jeffrey Ruch explained the folly of this approach to SN&R: “You were trading one type of pollutant for another, and you didn’t have any kind of way to ensure you were getting apples for apples,” he said. “In many cases you were trading apples for the promise of a future guava.” Essentially, the carbon credits being traded were illusory; they didn’t necessarily have any net environmental benefit.

Nichols left the EPA in 1997, but her “new paradigm” de facto policy remained—and proved disastrous.

“She was a midwife to a stillborn in a sense that she wasn’t around when [the open-market trading] collapsed,” beginning in New Jersey in 2002, Ruch explained. A 2003 Department of Environmental Protection report observed that New Jersey’s Open Market Emissions Trading program failed to establish an emissions cap, did not verify the validity of credits and allowed facilities to build compliance strategies entirely on the prospect of using emission credits without the guarantee of finding a seller.

“Instead of being a trial balloon, it turned into a trial buffoon,” Ruch quipped. “This was sort of looked upon as the next new wave in air-pollution control, and it collapsed under its own weight.”

Experts are conflicted as to what this means for California and the implementation of last year’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

“I’m not sure that I had high expectations to begin with,” Ruch admitted. “In a sense, you have a governor that’s just cleaned out the Air Resources Board under circumstances that seem highly unusual and controversial.” He views Nichols as “somebody who’s promising independence but certainly understands that there’s some requirement of flexibility.”

“I think her appointment helps bring some stability back to the agency” and alleviates a “major problem” for the governor, said Sierra Club’s Magavern.

“To me, the cornerstone of [the global-warming act’s] implementation is direct emissions reductions,” Magavern continued. “You can’t put market mechanisms in place just by having the governor’s office, through back channels, dictate that to the Air Board.”

The question now is whether Nichols will share this priority—and take a stand against Schwarzenegger’s interference.


Charlie Peters

How about improving the system we have?

Ask for a fuel ethanol waiver allowed in the 2005 energy bill

Fuel ethanol uses lots of water

Audit "Smog Check" to fix the fault in more of the failed cars

Chief Sherry Mehl, DCA/BAR, has never found out if what is broken on a Smog Check failed car gets fixed, never

Improving Smog Check and fuel policy can cut car impact in half in 1 year and save money

About $20 billion in savings in first year

I'm confused about promoting products from offshore rather than improving our system

Clean Air Performance Professionals

Charlie Peters

A Background Research Paper on Corn Ethanol and Unintended Consequences For California

Prepared by Juliette Anthony, M.A., M.S.
August 2007

Growth of the corn ethanol industry in California is fraught with unintended consequences, none of which are beneficial to the economy or the environment of the state. The consequences include major impacts on our overcommitted water resources, on the price of food, on our air quality and on the financial burden to citizens while private investors profit. Assembly Bill 118 in its present form (a reworking of the defeated Prop. 87), and other promised subsidies for the development and deployment of alternative fuels here in California, will develop a Food for Fuel program, affecting our food prices, our water use, and even aspects of our air quality.

“Food Grows Where Water Flows,” –The billboard message flashes by on Route 5 through California’s Central Valley. Water is a precious commodity in California. Our water delivery systems makes growing crops in California’s Central Valley possible. The large amounts of water required to produce ethanol competes with agricultural needs and has been overlooked or deliberately ignored by leading proponents of ethanol. Corn ethanol requires 3.7 to 5 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of ethanol just in the manufacturing process which does not take into consideration the water needed to grow the corn.. (Full Fuel Cycle Assessment: Well to Tank Energy Inputs, Emissions, and Water Impacts, Prepared for the CEC, p. 6-17) According to BlueFire, a cellulosic ethanol producer, cellulosic ethanol requires 6 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of ethanol during the manufacturing process, though the energy output is said to be at least 4-5 times greater than for corn ethanol per gallon [telephone conversation with BlueFire, June 2007]. And the future of cellulosic ethanol is an indeterminate number of years into the future—possibly five, six or more depending upon research and costs.

“The ethanol industry is mining our groundwater,” states the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. In several places ethanol plants have been shut down, and some granted only 3 year permits to operate because the groundwater supply has been so depleted. “’Mining water that is closer to the surface could result in dryer landscapes,” says Bob Libra, a geologist with Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources. ‘Some of that stuff has been in place for hundreds of thousands of years. If you take that out of the bank, you don’t know when you’re going to get it back.’”(Minnesota Environmental Partnership). Many places in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, have already sunk down many feet because of groundwater mining. In Iowa and Indiana, The Sierra Club has sued ethanol plants which have caused neighbors to become ill from toxics in the air and water. Surely, the air quality effects of an ethanol plant, if toxic for people, will be toxic for nearby cattle as well. Ethanol plants do not make good neighbors. (The Indiana Sierran-hppt:www.indiana.sierraclub.org/Sierran/03-1/EthanolPlants.asp)

AB118, now before the State Senate, will provide subsidies of 130 million dollars a year from the citizens of California through additional car and boat registration fees to research and develop infrastructure for “alternative fuels.” Although the AB118 does not specify corn ethanol, it is currently the only biofuel in the marketplace. Simply by default and timing, it will receive a lion’s share of funding. The Governor, while extolling the virtues of a water intensive ethanol industry, promotes new dams and a peripheral canal to deal with our shrinking water supply. The Governor giveth and taketh away.

Perhaps the two most popular myths about corn ethanol are that 1) it is a renewable energy source, and 2) its use as a motor fuel substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions when compared to gasoline…If all the vehicles in California operated on E85 [the Governor and Legislature’s policy], the ethanol required would consume 70 percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, but only 13.6 percent of the energy in the fuel would be renewable…” (Contra Costa Times 8/05/07)

Daniel F. Anthrop, Professor Emeritus at San Jose State writes in Ethanol No Panacea For Rising Energy Demand”, “It is worth noting that approximately 14 percent of the U.S. corn crop is irrigated and that this irrigated acreage consumes almost 18 million acre-feet per year of water – much of which is overdrafted from the Ogallala aquifer in the Great Plains. To put this water requirement in some perspective, the average annual flow of the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry is only about 14 million acre-feet per year. Moreover, much of this corn acreage in the Great Plains is easily erodable land, and a number of studies have conclusively demonstrated that row crops, such as corn, result in much higher erosion rates than cereal grains or forage crops.”


The potential consequences of growing “Food For Fuel” appear to be intentionally overlooked by the framers and supporters of AB118. Water flowing through the Central Valley enables California to produce ”more than half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts . . . Due to the vast size of the produce industry, minor problems with the distribution chain . . . can cause [consequences] throughout the nation’s food system.” as we saw with the e-coli episode in the Salinas Valley last year. (Life in the USA http://www.lifeintheusa.com/food/vegetables.htm)

Almost all of this agriculture is dependent on irrigation. Millions of gallons of water potentially diverted from California farms to ethanol could cause major disruptions in the food supply for the nation, and the move to growing corn, a very water intensive crop, will also add to the pesticide and fossil fuel fertilizer run-off polluting our waterways. Shifting our valuable farmland from vegetables to mono-cropping corn is already happening in Kern County, and could prove devastating to many low income families. This is a world-wide phenomenon which AB118 would only aggravate.

Gwynne Dyer, reporter for The New Zealand Herald, wrote the following on July 10, 2007:

“We are entering a period when three separate factors are converging to drive food prices up. The first is simply demand…the global population is continuing to grow – about an extra Turkey or Vietnam every year – but as Asian economies race ahead, more people in those populous countries are starting to eat meat. The animals will need a great deal of grain, and meeting that demand will require shifting huge amounts grain-growing land from human to animal consumption – so the price of grain and of meat will both go up. …If the price of grain goes up, some of them will starve…the mania for bio-fuels is shifting huge amounts land out of food production…This attraction of biofuels for politicians is obvious: they can claim that they are doing something useful to combat emissions and global warming – although the claims are deeply suspect… The amount of United States farmland devoted to biofuels grew by 48 percent in the past year alone and hardly any new land was brought under the plough to replace the lost food production.” (http:www.nzherald.july 10, 2007)

Because the cost of a bushel of corn has doubled since September of 2006, hog and cattle farmers are bringing their animals to market early in efforts to save money on feed. Even though last year’s harvest of corn was 10.6 billion bushels, the third largest crop ever, the corn is increasingly transformed into fuel for cars, leaving the farmers short and food prices rising in the supermarkets.

“If all the scores of factories under construction or planned go into operation, fuel will gobble up no less than half of the entire corn harvest by 2008.” And “Corn is . . . is a lousy raw material for fuel because producing 10 gallons of ethanol consumes the energy equivalent of about 7 gallons of gasoline, and greenhouse gas reductions are minuscule.” (businessweek.com/7/30/2007) This from a conservative business magazine, not an environmentally biased treatise on the definite downsides of corn ethanol.

The first step is to limit the extent of corn ethanol’s subsidies. Further planting of fossil fuel intensive fertilized corn fields should be discouraged. Let the Venture Capitalists who are seeking subsidies have the privilege of risking their own funds to research better non-food crop solutions and bring them to market when they are ready. Vinod Khosla claims that “only 49 million acres could (italics are the editor’s) supply 139 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2030.” (Business Week, July 30, 2007).

If a reporter in The New Zealand Herald and a reporter at Business Week understand that there are real problems with biofuels in general and corn ethanol in particular, why has the California Press only written a few articles about AB118, and its stealth movement through the California Assembly and through two California Senate Committees? The Sierra Club, The Coalition for Clean Air, and The American Lung Association, are all aligned with Vinod Khosla and the oil companies in favor of AB118. This is reminiscent of what happened with MTBE in the late eighties and early nineties when major environmental groups backed the use of MTBE. They all, including Bluewater Network and its spin-off in D.C., the Renewable Energy Action Project (REAP), fought to preserve the oxygenate mandate so that ethanol could move in seamlessly to replace MTBE. MTBE was removed in January of 2007 and replaced by corn ethanol in all the areas of California mandated by the Clean Air Act to use an oxygenate. This includes the San Joaquin and SacramentoValleys, and the Los Angeles Basin down to the Mexican Border.

Only after many wells in California were contaminated, did NRDC and the Sierra Club realize that MTBE was a serious water quality problem and support its removal. We want to avoid a repeat of such an environmental error. Ethanol presents a considerably larger problem than MTBE. The demand for corn for ethanol production already has global effects on food supply. There were riots in June because people were not able to afford corn for tortillas, and the NPR morning news reported on August 9th that countries in Central America were speaking out against President Bush’s corn ethanol policy because it is playing havoc with their food supplies.

State Senator Tom McClintock (R) summed it up as follows: “The CARB regulations [to enforce the low carbon fuel standard] will undoubtedly hit Californians hard—but they will hit starving third world populations even harder. Basic foodstuffs are a small portion of the family incomes in affluent nations, but they consume more than half of family earnings in third world countries.” (Blog: Citizens for the California Republic, 06-18-07)

The details of the Food for Fuel policy are beautifully delineated in the publication “Rush to Ethanol” from Food and WaterWatch (foodandwaterwatch.org/food/pubs/reports/rush). Mono-cropping, fossil fuel fertilizers, air and water contamination, and the financial detriments to the economy are laid out in no nonsense language, supported by meticulous scientific research. The need to be careful with new cellulosic crops is clearly stated. If not farmed sustainably, cellulosic ethanol crops like switch grass can also wreak havoc with our soil and previously protected land reserves. “Loss of protected acres to energy crop production would be a major setback for water, soil, plant, and wildlife conservation efforts.” Cutting down of any forest anywhere in the Globe only increases global climate change, the very thing all these subsidies are supposed to curtail. Increasing sugar imports from Brazil means more rainforest degradation. Burning the forests outside Singapore to plant palm oil trees for biofuel destroyed air quality there for months.

And what of our air quality here in California? Biofuels are not quite as clean as they would have us believe.


The myth that ethanol is “clean” needs to be dispelled. While the Governor would like us to focus on a Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which makes the use of ethanol “look good” next to gasoline for reduction of the carbon greenhouse gasses in fuel, there are other negative air quality impacts with the use of ethanol—increased VOCs, Nox and ozone. “Overall, the results tend to support that the ozone impact of permeation VOC (volatile organic compounds) relative to CO is overwhelming and significant.” Ethanol molecules escape the gas tanks and hoses because they are microscopically small enough to permeate the walls of the tanks and the hoses. (Dongmin Luo, Research Division, CARB, January 2006:”Draft-The Ozone Impact of Permeation VOC relative to Carbon Monoxide).

Ethanol increased NOx by 5%, and for every 18 Degrees Fahrenheit increase in temperature, evaporative emissions doubled, according to a presentation at South Coast Air Quality Management District, Oxygenate Issues and Options on June 15, 2006. “As a matter of public health policy, we believe that ARB is obligated to address the full range of possible adverse ozone air quality effects…” said the SCAQMD to the California Air Resources Board in a letter dated June 13, 2007. “Ozone is the prime ingredient of smog in our cities and other areas of the country…When inhaled, even at very low levels, ozone can cause acute respiratory problems, aggravate asthma, . . . impair the body’s immune system defenses, making people more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia . . .Ground level ozone interferes with the ability of plants to produce and store food, so that growth, reproduction and overall plant health are compromised” states the Federal EPA on its Fact Sheet for Health and Environmental Effects of Ground level ozone. http://www/epa.gov/ttn/naaqsfin/o3health.html.

While the ARB is required by state law to ensure that control measures do not increase emissions (SB989), ethanol is being used throughout the state while plans for mitigation are underway, but not yet implemented. In truth it could be several more years before these mitigations have jumped through all the enforcement hoops and reach the California consumer. Meanwhile ethanol with its permeation problems is present in our gas tanks. The SCAQMD presentation concluded, “Low level blends of ethanol create excess emissions and air quality impacts.” Low level blends are all that is widely available currently and for the foreseeable future in California


AB118 is Proposition 87 repackaged. The alternative fuels plan in Prop 87 was to be paid for by taxes on profits from oil extracted in California. It was defeated on the November 2006 Ballot. Since the cost will now be paid for by extra fees on the registered owners of cars and boats, the citizens will not be happy when they discover that not only has the Legislature passed what they voted against, but is also making them pay for it. Back in October of 2003, Governor Schwarzenegger promised to repeal the car tax that he inherited from Governor Davis. “I campaigned that I will not raise taxes and I say this again: I will not raise taxes,” www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/09/recall.main/index/html Whether it is called a tax or a fee, the citizens of California will pay, and the low-income and disadvantaged will be the hardest hit.

The oil companies fought Proposition 87 vigorously, and with citizen participation successfully overcame the 146 million dollars that Vinod Kohsla, Steven Bing and other ethanol entrepreneurs had invested in this ballot measure. Now the oil companies have joined the ethanol Venture Capitalist group of Vinod Kholsa, Steven Bing and Pacific Ethanol’s Koehler Brothers, along with the Sierra Club, Coalition for Clean Air, Union of Concerned Scientists, and NRDC in supporting AB 118. Apparently what the oil companies didn’t like in Proposition 87 was that they were going to have to pay the bill. Now that the citizens will pay, the plan is fine. While the press heavily covered Prop 87, there has been almost no coverage of AB118. With Speaker Nunez sponsoring the bill and with all the big environmental groups supporting, legislators are expected to vote positively. The voters, however, may have reservations come election time when they assess the damage to their pocket books, and to their air and water supply.

Very much like the original backers of MTBE, who adamantly ignored the warnings regarding MTBE’s propensities to contaminate drinking water, these same people are avoiding the unintended consequences of changing California’s crop structure and diverting millions of gallons of water into ethanol plants. They also fail to mention that across the Midwest the Sierra Club and local communities have mounted lawsuits to oppose the building of ethanol processing plants. “Already there are 235 ethanol plants under construction or in planning stages across the county, in addition to 111 operating plants…The problem: There just isn’t enough corn to go around. “ (Los Angeles Business Journal, 7/09/2007)

The Federal Government is financially propping up this industry from beginning to end. The major agribusinesses, ADM and Cargill, are subsidized to grow corn, the entrepreneurs are given funds to build plants, and the refiners are given 51 cents a gallon for blending ethanol into our gasoline. Now they want California’s citizens to add their hard earned money to already well-subsidized private ventures, and then pay more at the pump and supermarket.

A gallon of ethanol is less expensive than gasoline, but we must pay exactly the same amount for it at the pump. The oil companies profit by selling us a gallon of less expensive fuel for the same amount per gallon that we are now paying for gasoline. In addition, we get less gas mileage from that gallon of ethanol, so we have to purchase more gasoline to drive the same number of miles. Everywhere the money is flowing out of our pockets into theirs. And those who will be harmed the most are those who are always harmed the most by corporate welfare, the poorest citizens.

News organizations all over the country are just beginning to put out wake-up calls in their headlines and articles. “Think you’re paying more for milk? Well, you are…When milk prices go up it’s devastating…People who supplement their grocery budgets with food stamps also are affected”, said Tom Shanahan, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Families receive a set amount of money in food stamps and do not receive more when milk or other food prices rise. (IdahoStatesman.com, July 15, 2007) Even Robert J. Samuelson, writing an article Prius Politics for the Washington Post, July 25, 2007, says, “Driven by demand for feed and fuel, corn prices have soared. With food costs increasing, inflation has worsened. The program is mostly an income transfer from consumers to producers and ethanol refiners.”


Professor Donald F. Anthrop cited above in the Contra Costa Times says it best. “Ethanol is not going to solve this problem, and it is time for the politicians and environmentalists to stop pretending it will… These people need a reality check.”

There are alternatives to biofuels if we understand that an alternative source of energy for transportation does not have to be a liquid fuel. Photon International Magazine in their April 2007 issue offered an interesting comparison between the renewable effectiveness and environmental impacts of plug-in hybrid vehicles powered by PV solar panels versus biofuels. Once a PV panel has been installed, it will supply energy for twenty-five or more years with very little maintenance. Any crop that is grown for ethanol requires energy annually, expensive processing and distribution. Why not put PV panels on carport structures on the top open air layer of public garages, with outlets for recharging. Use subsidies for this long lasting low environmental impact fuel rather than for corn ethanol. Specific subsidies for a single PV panel on private homes for hybrid vehicles could also be suggested.

It would be most helpful for as many people as possible to notify their respective Assembly person or State Senator that AB118 and SB210 are not acceptable in their current form, that developing ethanol plants and changing our vegetable and fruit crops into corn will raise prices to levels prohibitive for many people, and that restricting our water usage so that Venture Capitalists can use it for their benefit is not beneficial to the majority of Californians.

Juliette Anthony is an environmental research consultant, former twelve year Board Member of The Coalition for Clean Air, and research consultant on MTBE for Communities for a Better Environment.

Charlie Peters

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-558-3160 ( new number )

RE: IMRC policy

Are carpetbaggers: Booz Allen, Carlyle Group, Applus, Meineke Car Care Centers and CARB working a deal to take CA small business “Smog Check”?

----- Original Message -----
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 3:36 PM
Subject: IMRC meeting

Hi Charlie,

You missed the first part of the last IMRC meeting when we announced we will no longer transcribe IMRC meetings since it is an extravagant expense that the state cannot afford. As you know, we are under no statutory requirement to do so. All that is required are meeting minutes. Therefore, when possible, we will record the meeting but when a recording is not possible, we will simply post the minutes of the meeting. Let me know of you have any questions.


Rocky Carlisle
Executive Officer
(916) 322-8249

Charlie Peters
Cell: (415) 516-9909
Fax: (510) 537-9675
Clean Air Performance Professionals
[email protected]

CAPP contact: Charlie Peters (510) 537-1796 [email protected]

Charlie Peters

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 I Street, Sierra Hearing Room
Sacramento, California 95814

(snip) (pg 140 line 17)

MR. GRENNO: Mr. Chairman, Board, my name is Gary Grenno. I’m with Accurate Smog in Marin. I just came up there, first time. Thought I’d bring some issues I have problems at my shop. I’m a test only facility. And one of the cars that I notice greatly that misses the smog program entirely are OBD-2 cars with check engine lights on. They are a high percentage of my failures. Many of them don’t even get into my door. Originally I was told by my representative if the car comes in, you see a check engine light is on, bring it in, fail it. Then I had to deal with angry customer telling him I tricked him. Why didn’t I tell him beforehand? Why did you run the test if you knew I was going to fail? And I went through much battle with this, many customers. Then I was instructed no, you can warn them beforehand it will fail. Give him his options, send him on his way. Most leave, don’t come back. They’re driving with their check engine light on. Many tell me it’s been on for years. And these are ‘01’s, ‘02’s coming in now, check engine light glowing. Oh yeah, that light, don’t worry about it. Where do they go get it fixed at? ARD’s, not smog check repair stations. I explained to them they need to go to a smog certified shop to get a repair. No, no, no. I go to my shop or they tell me oh, yeah, they looked at it. There’s no problem there. They can’t find it. Well, your car failed. You have erased memory on the car. The monitors have all been reset. Oh, yeah, I had it turned off yesterday. They told me don’t worry about it. And I struggle with this. And then when we talked to going to an OBD-2 only test, then these cars are going to come in lights on, I’m going to explain to them I’m going to fail it, your light is glowing, they drive away. No data, no input, nobody knows about this car. I brought this up to BAR. I’ve called my local office down in South San Jose -- or South San Francisco. They say well, unless we got a complaint we’re not going to check out this ARD shop doing these repairs. And so I’m left -- I’m a test only. I can’t do the repair on the car. I can’t direct them to go to a shop. I show them a list of shops they can go to and they go that’s not my shop there. I’m left with my hands tied and it’s a real big problem that other test only shops who cal me and talk to me they say hey, what are we going to do about this and I say well, go to Sacramento. Go to the meeting. Oh, I don’t want to be closed today. I closed today. I thought I’d come up, bring this to your attention because when I’ve watched it on the live on the Internet and read the transcripts, nobody ever seems to bring up these problems. I mean these OBD-2 cars are driving around brand new, lights on. The dealer says we can’t figure it out. They don’t have to go to ARD training or training classes for OBD-2. And then -- you know -- the ARD shops, they’re completely avoided. BAR doesn’t even walk into their shops. So –

MR. PETERS: Nobody cares and these guys don’t care either.

MALE: Yeah.

MR. PETERS: You’re wasting your time here today, sir.

MR. GRENNO: Why thank you very much. Thank you.

MR. PETERS: Is it important? Yes, sir. Does it need to get fixed? Yes, sir.

MALE: You’re out of order. You’re out of order, Mr. Peters.

MR. PETERS: Oh, I’m sorry, sir.

MR. GRENNO: Thank you very much.

MEMBER SAITO: Sir, can you -- what percent of the vehicles come in with the light on in your -- just top of the -- off the top of your head?

MR. GRENNO: About 20 percent.

MEMBER SAITO: 20 percent?

MR. GRENNO: And I direct them away unless they are a directed vehicle.


MR. GRENNO: Test only.


MR. GRENNO: I give them the option. I can run it, fail it, and then I can send you to a Gold Shield station where they’ll repair it and you get the $500 state money. If they’re not a directed vehicle they usually tend to leave or they want to fail because they need to go get the extension from the DMV. Hand me a fail today. I can go get my extension. Yes, you can. There you go. Bye-bye.

MEMBER HEASTON: I want to thank you for taking the time from your business and coming up here today. Out of the two out of ten vehicles that you see the engine light on, what percentage in your opinion of that would you say were vehicles still under warranty?


MEMBER HEASTON: Few. So most of them have gone through their warranty.

MR. GRENNO: In Marin County where I live, a lot of people drive a lot --

MEMBER HEASTON: I live there too. Oh, well, yeah.

MR. GRENNO: Yeah, I get ‘01’s and ‘02’s with over 100,000 miles on them already and the dealerships wipe their hands of anything over 100,000 miles. They won’t even look at it.


MR. GRENNO: Unfortunately.


MR. GRENNO: And a lot of shops also, or a lot of customers I should say, won’t deal with the dealership. They are so disenfranchised with many of the dealerships around. They just -- they haggle them, they hassle them, they won’t go back and they end up at an ARD shop.

MEMBER HEASTON: As a former repair shop owner --

MR. GRENNO: Uh - huh.

MEMBER HEASTON: -- I found many of those vehicles to have simply a malfunctioning gas cap sensor. My question is the consumer going back with a vehicle with 100,000 miles on it out of warranty isn’t going to pay the dealership $150 to research that problem I think. So I -- what do you recommend --

MR. GRENNO: I get a lot of --

MEMBER HEASTON: -- that we recommend change in the program

MR. GRENNO: Well, let me see --

MEMBER HEASTON: -- to catch these vehicles?

MR. GRENNO: Well, it’s not just catching the vehicles. It’s catching the shops that do these repairs that are not supposed to be doing these repairs because most people don’t even know what that check engine light is. My girlfriend of ten years called me up the other week and said Gary, I’m driving the car, an ’05 Mazda 3. I’m driving the car and this little yellow light came on and I don’t know what it is. I said can you describe it to me? I don’t know. It’s a squiggle line. Does it say check engine light? No, I can’t figure it out. I don’t know what it is.

MEMBER HEASTON: What are your average --

MR. GRENNO: It was a check engine light but it’s a picture of an engine. She had no clue what it was. Most customers don’t.

MEMBER HEASTON: I understand. What do you feel -- what is your volume average a month in smog checks?

MR. GRENNO: Right now, about 100 to 200 a month. It’s slow.

MEMBER HEASTON: So you’re getting 20, 25, to 50 --


MEMBER DECOTA: -- of these lights a month --

MR. GRENNO: Uh - huh.

MEMBER HEASTON: -- is what you’re saying.


MEMBER HEASTON: I think that’s extremely high. I’m concerned about that. I appreciate you taking the time today. Thank you.



MR. GRENNO: Thank you.

CHAIR WILLIAMS: We are listening.


CHAIR WILLIAMS: We don’t have solutions to these problems but we’re listening.

MEMBER HEASTON: Well, I was going to say did you have any -- we struggle for solutions to these kinds of things. I mean inspection of the ARD situation or somehow catching that or because public awareness, I mean I don’t think -- you know -- those lights coming on, people are just going to ignore them, frankly, unless the car starts doing that or -- you know -- or panic or forget about it. Half the cabs that I used to come in from the airport all had that light going. Now they’ve got newer cars but they all had that light going and I’d ask them, oh, yeah, we do 75,000 miles a year on these cars -- you know. So a lot of people just don’t pay attention to them. I mean yeah, it is a real dilemma that I’m not quite sure how we solve.


MEMBER DECOTA: I kind of have a question for Rocky. Maybe we need to ask BAR because my understanding that BAR has always said to test the vehicle as it comes in.

MR. CARLISLE: I’ve done it.

MEMBER DECOTA: As it’s presented. And this gentleman is saying that he’s been told that yeah, you can tell them that it won’t pass without the light on, which means that you’re not -- if you turn them away you’re not capturing the information that is needed. Has there been a change in policy or --

MR. CARLISLE: Now they’ve -- the Bureau of Automotive Repair, there is a law that always -- also allows pre-inspection repairs. And in addition to that, there’s 4411.3 of the Health and Safety Code that says the consumer has a right to a partial pre-inspection. So this could be considered a partial pre-inspection. The only requirement is that you keep your customer informed. But -- you know -- it goes both ways. I mean there is a provision that if you do repairs prior to the test you can also enter the results of those repairs. And so I suspect this is a PR-1’s -- you know -- interpretation. Maybe he’s had to deal with a lot of consumer complaints. I really don’t know having -- you know -- not worked there for four and a half years. So --

MEMBER DECOTA: Yeah, and it’s been that long for me too so --

MR. CARLISLE: Right. But with regard to the ARD -- you know --
the Health and Safety Code is very prescriptive. It says to fix an emissions related repair you have to be a licensed tech in a licensed station. Unfortunately, a lot of times the station doesn’t know it’s emissions related. For example, if they take this gentleman’s vehicle that he’s just rejected or the consumer’s just refused to have it tested since it’s going to fail with the MIL on, they go to another shop and they say hey, my MIL’s on. The ARD’s not in any violation of the law because he wasn’t told that that was an emissions failure. And theoretically it wasn’t because it never had an emissions test -- you know -- conducted on it. So they’re in compliance with the law. They’re just doing a repair on an OBD-2 vehicle. The typical definition of an emissions related repair is subsequent to the failing of a smog check.


MR. CARLISLE: So -- you know -- this is -- this is one of those gray areas in law. I mean there’s 40,000 ARD’s in comparison to roughly 7500 smog check stations and certainly BAR can’t police -- you know -- 40,000. I mean not all of those are doing mechanical repair, but a significant portion are so they don’t have the staff or the funding to police that kind of number simply to enforce 44032. And like I say, chances are the ARD wasn’t in violation because they didn’t know.

MEMBER DECOTA: Thank you, Rocky. Dean?

MEMBER SAITO: I would -- I would agree, definitely, that there needs to be more outreach on OBD-2 and the public does need to be informed. I will report that I think I have mentioned that we’ve run an incentive program down in South Coast through the MSRC to pay for transponders for fleet operators to -- as part of the continuous testing program and that we were over subscribed quite a bit in terms of fleet signing up for the program. So we know fleets are taking advantage of the OBD-2 technology and we hope to carry on that success to consumers as part of our outreach and education. But I do agree -- you know -- from what I’m hearing out there, there really needs to be a public education about OBD-2 and -- you know -- all the advantages that can be take -- that can be seen from OBD-2 technology.

MR. CARLISLE: Yeah, and Dean, I think that’s also more a global issue too because I can tell you from personal experience I’ve rented vehicles in the last six months and typically when you rent a vehicle it’s less than a year old, as you well know. When the MIL light came on I contacted the rental agency. They said don’t worry about that. That’s not important. And to me, it was an issue so I went back and got another car. But -- you know -- people are being told that at various levels and so it becomes -- you know -- it does become an educational issue.


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