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John Stewart

"Cash for Clunkers" is an Environmental Clunker

The "Cash for Clunkers" amendment, included as part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454), states that "For each eligible trade-in vehicle, the title of which is transferred to a dealer under the Program, the dealer shall certify to the Secretary, in such a manner as the Secretary shall prescribe by rule, that the vehicle, including the engine and drive train - i) will be crushed or shredded within such period and in such manner as the Secretary prescribes, or will be transferred to an entity that will ensure that the vehicle will be crushed or shredded within such period and in such manner as the Secretary prescribes; and ii) has not been, and will not be, sold, leased, exchanged or otherwise disposed of for use as an automobile in the United States or in any other country, or has been or will be transferred, in such a manner as the Secretary prescribes, to an entity that will ensure that the vehicle has not been, and will not be, sold, leased, exchanged or otherwise disposed of for use as an automobile in the United States or in any other country."

"Cash for Clunkers is loaded with so many potholes that the American people will be paying a steep bill both economically and environmentally for a long time," continued Lowe. "In addition to the wasteful nature of destroying perfectly good vehicles, a tremendous amount of energy and resources will be exhausted to build new vehicles to replace the scrapped ones. Providing incentives for motorists to have their current vehicles maintained for fuel efficiency would be a much better use of federal money that would truly benefit the environment."

Interested parties can send an e-mail in opposition to the Cash for Clunkers program to the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader and their congressional representatives by visiting www.fightcashforclunkers.org and clicking on "Take Action."

About Fight Cash for Clunkers: The Fight Cash for Clunkers organization opposes the inclusion of a Cash for Clunkers provision in the economic stimulus package currently being considered by Congress, instead favoring tax credits to help upgrade, repair or maintain older vehicles, as well as tax deductions for interest on car loans and state sales tax. For more information, visit www.fightcashforclunkers.org.

SOURCE: Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association

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John Stewart

How Times Have Changed

Indianapolis Motor Speedway 100th Anniversary

Needing a test facility for Indianapolis’ burgeoning automobile industry, Carl Fisher and three other investors purchased 325 acres in 1909. They built a 2.5-mile racetrack and dubbed it Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The Brickyard” — a nickname coming about later that year when 3.2 million bricks were used to pave the track — is the world’s largest sports venue with the ability to accommodate about 400,000 spectators.

One hundred years after the first of more than 300 races at the speedway, it remains home of the world-famous Indianapolis 500, as well as NASCAR’s Brickyard 400, and some motorcycle and Formula One events. The 93rd Indy 500 on May 24, 2009, is being billed as the first race in the track’s “Centennial Era” of 2009-2011.

To commemorate this automotive milestone, the Census Bureau has compiled a collection of facts and figures relating to our nation, Indiana and Indianapolis during the past 100 years.

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John Stewart

Colorado authorizes low-speed vehicles on portions of public roads

Colorado authorizes low-speed vehicles on portions of public roads

Effective August 2009, Colorado will join 42 other states and the District of Columbia in authorizing low-speed vehicles on roads with a posted limit of 35 mph or lower. The law restricts low-speed vehicles from traveling faster than 25 mph. Previously, low-speed vehicles were permitted in Colorado only by local option.

To compare low-speed vehicle laws in all states http://www.iihs.org/laws/LowSpeedVehicles.aspx

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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John Stewart

In the warming West, climate most significant factor in fanning wildfires’ flames

Study finds that climate’s influence on production, drying of fuels—not higher temperatures or longer fire seasons alone—critical determinant of Western wildfire burned area

PORTLAND, Ore. June 26, 2009. The recent increase in area burned by wildfires in the Western United States is a product not of higher temperatures or longer fire seasons alone, but a complex relationship between climate and fuels that varies among different ecosystems, according to a study conducted by U.S. Forest Service and university scientists. The study is the most detailed examination of wildfire in the United States to date and appears in the current issue of the journal Ecological Applications.

“We found that what matters most in accounting for large wildfires in the Western United States is how climate influences the build up—or production—and drying of fuels,” said Jeremy Littell, a research scientist with the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group and lead investigator of the study. “Climate affects fuels in different ecosystems differently, meaning that future wildfire size and, likely, severity depends on interactions between climate and fuel availability and production.”

To explore climate-fire relationships, the scientists used fire data from 1916 to 2003 for 19 ecosystem types in 11 Western States to construct models of total wildfire area burned. They then compared these fire models with monthly state divisional climate data.

The study confirmed what scientists have long observed: that low precipitation and high temperatures dry out fuels and result in significant fire years, a pattern that dominates the northern and mountainous portions of the West. But it also provided new insight on the relationship between climate and fire, such as Western shrublands’ and grasslands’ requirement for high precipitation one year followed by dry conditions the next to produce fuels sufficient to result in large wildfires.

The study revealed that climate influences the likelihood of large fires by controlling the drying of existing fuels in forests and the production of fuels in more arid ecosystems. The influence of climate leading up to a fire season depends on whether the ecosystem is more forested or more like a woodland or shrubland.

 “These data tell us that the effectiveness of fuel reductions in reducing area burned may vary in different parts of the country,” said David L. Peterson, a research biologist with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and one of the study’s authors. “With this information, managers can design treatments appropriate for specific climate-fire relationships and prioritize efforts where they can realize the most benefit.”

Findings from the study suggest that, as the climate continues to warm, more area can be expected to burn, at least in northern portions of the West, corroborating what researchers have projected in previous studies. In addition, cooler, wetter areas that are relatively fire-free today, such as the west side of the Cascade Range, may be more prone to fire by mid-century if climate projections hold and weather becomes more extreme.

To read the study online, visit http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/07-1183.1

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John Stewart

EPA Denies E15 Waiver for Pre-2001 Cars, Permits Use in Newer Cars

Consumers will not see E15 at the pump any time soon.  The EPA must first approve regulations on how gas stations will label their pumps to avoid consumer misfueling.  This will take months.  Furthermore, there is no obligation that gasoline retailers market the fuel.  In fact, some retailers oppose the fuel over concern that they could be held liable if E15 damages a vehicle.  The gas stations and distributors may also need to invest in new storage tanks, hoses and other equipment.

The SAN will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.  SEMA represents thousands of companies that market products for these vehicles and, through its SEMA Action Network, millions of enthusiasts who buy and operate these automobiles.   Questions/comments may be directed to Steve McDonald at [email protected]


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