Environmental News Highlights – April 13, 2022


Biden administration holds EV industry meeting with Musk, Barra – CNBC

Supreme Court Revives Trump-Era Environmental Regulation – New York Times

Building a Better America Fact Sheet for Rural Communities – USDOT (Media release)


21 States Sue To Stop Covid-19 Face Mask Mandates On Airplanes, Public Transit – Forbes

Airlines that dropped mask requirements are now suffering staff shortages due to COVID-19 – CBS News

Ten thousand COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at TTC Clinics – Mass Transit

Washington ferries’ slow return to pre-pandemic service continues – KIRO Radio


Interview with Joint Office of Energy and Transportation – AASHTO’s ETAP Podcast

Tampa Bay mayors say transportation key to climate change plans – Tampa Bay Times

Flood sensor project will offer city real-time data as storms intensify – Spectrum News NY1

Three months after January snowstorm, VDOT still cleaning up ‘unprecedented amount of debris’ – WAVY-TV

Study: How California can Shift Away from Car-Oriented Development – Planetizen

Experts: Charging Options Key to Electric Vehicle Adoption – Government Technology


New highways headed to Seattle area despite drive to fight climate change – KUOW Radio

Connecticut Truckers Face Bill to Lower Emissions – Transport Topics

New bill restricts PA’s entry into Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – KTBS-TV

Free Fare February data shows UTA program’s success – Standard-Examiner

Louisiana Governor, DOTD Discuss Electric Vehicle InfrastructureLouisiana Governor’s Office (Media release)

100 Groups Demand EPA Set Protective Airplane-Pollution Limits – Center for Biological Diversity (Media release)


Navajo Nation Leader Meets With Federal Administration On Inter-Agency Agreement To Improve Roads – Navajo-Hopi Observer

Michigan wants your suggestions to improve a new online environmental justice mapping tool – Michigan Public Radio

Florida DOT Plans for ‘Transportation Equity’ – Tallahassee Reports

The little-known open-source community behind the government’s new environmental justice tool – Grist


MoDOT encouraging drivers to help clean up litter along roadways – KCTV-TV

Aquatic drone measures water quality throughout river networks with precision and speed – Oak Ridge National Laboratory

“Managed Retreat” Is a Terrible Way to Talk About Responding to Climate Change – Slate

Crews to begin spraying invasive plants – WiscNews


Researchers Analyze The Usage Patterns Of Bicycles In Four Large Cities In USA To Make Bicycle Sharing Systems More Efficient – Verve Times

Topeka City Council considering restricting bicycles, skateboards and scooters from NOTO area – KSNT-TV

Newark, DE considering ‘noise cameras’ to crack down on vehicles with loud exhaust systems – Newark Post

Reddy Bikeshare kicks off seventh season with upgraded technology – WKBW-TV


Pedestrian Resources to Help Talk the Walk – NCHRP

TRB Webinar – Advancing Subnational Energy Transitions – TRB

Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Strategies for Future Success – NCHRP

A Full Assessment of the Effectiveness of Gulf Restoration Efforts Will Require Improved Analysis and Coordination, New Report Says – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (Media release)


Meeting of the Local Government Advisory Committee’s Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee – EPA (Notification of public meeting)

Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen Suit – EPA (Notice; request for public comment)

Notice of Competitive Offer and Notice of Segregation for Solar Energy Development on Public Land, Clark County, NevadaBureau of Land Management (Notice)

Next Era Energy Resources, LLC, Notice of Availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement – Rural Utilities Service (Notice)

Caltrans Issues Funds for Local Transportation Projects

The California Department of Transportation has awarded $34.7 million in state and federal funds to cities, counties, tribes, and transit agencies statewide to support a variety of locally focused sustainable transportation projects.

[Above photo via Wikimedia Commons]

Those projects include efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the state highway system, enhance access to safe walkways and bike paths, and increase natural disaster preparedness.

“These grants are funding the planning for sustainable and more resilient transportation projects that will prepare the state for rising sea levels, wildfires, and other climate-related impacts,” noted Steven Keck, interim director for Caltrans, in a statement.

“By collaborating with local communities, we are working together to achieve both our climate goals and an equitable transportation infrastructure for people who rely on transit and intercity bus service,” he said.

In total, Caltrans is allocating:

  • $18.4 million in Sustainable Communities Competitive and Technical Grants to 57 local, regional, tribal, and transit agencies for climate change adaptation, transportation, and land use planning, plus natural disaster preparedness. This includes more than $4.5 million to fund planning for 14 projects that improve safety and access for people who walk and bike.
  • $3.8 million in federally funded Strategic Partnership Grants to 10 projects that will plan for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, sustainable goods movement, wildlife connectivity, intercity bus systems, and other sustainability initiatives.
  • $12.5 million in Sustainable Communities Formula Grants to metropolitan planning organizations to further regional transportation plans and sustainable community strategies. Caltrans will formally award those grants later this spring.

This local transportation funding follows the adoption of a new “complete streets” policy by Caltrans in December 2021 for all new transportation projects it funds or oversees in order to provide “safe and accessible options” for people walking, biking, and taking transit.

A “complete street” policy seeks to expand mobility options for people of all ages and abilities, particularly those who are walking, biking, using assistive mobility devices, and riding transit.

Caltrans said its “complete streets” requirement offers several benefits, including enhancing safety and creating more sustainable transportation options to decrease dependence on driving and improving public health by encouraging more active transportation options.

The agency added that its new policy ultimately aims to “expand the availability” of “sustainable transportation options” to help meet the state’s climate, health, and equity goals.

Arizona DOT Wraps up Cactus-Saving Project

The Arizona Department of Transportation recently completed a bridge replacement project near Globe, AZ, which triggered the return of an endangered species of cactus transplanted and preserved by the agency during the project’s four-year timeline.

[Above photo by Arizona DOT]

The U.S. 60 Pinto Creek Bridge is also home to the endangered hedgehog cactus, which grows only within a several-mile radius of the site. About a foot high, usually covered in spines and often with red flowers at the top, the species is listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is protected under Arizona law.

When the bridge replacement project began in 2018, a team comprised of biologists from the Arizona DOT and from the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix safely removed 34 cacti potentially affected by the construction work, then nurtured and propagated, replanting 61 total cacti in early March. This relocation effort is the latest step in a long-term partnership between the Arizona DOT and the Desert Botanical Garden to protect hedgehog cactuses that only grow in one tiny area of the state.

“ADOT has a responsibility to respect the environment and to make sure the plants and animals that make Arizona special are protected,” said Josh Fife, Arizona DOT’s biology team lead, in a statement. “We’re proud that the work we did will make sure the Arizona hedgehog cactus will continue to exist in the one special place in the world where they thrive.”

This cacti protection effort took on added importance in the summer of 2021, when wildfires swept through the project site, threatening some of the cacti in that area that were not removed because they were not threatened by construction.

“The plants on site could have easily been destroyed in the fire which is why it was a good thing these plants were taken back to Desert Botanical Garden out of harm’s way,” noted Steve Blackwell, conservation collections manager for Desert Botanical Garden.

“That was an important side benefit of taking cactus out when we did. Another valuable part of this process was that we were able to hand pollinate the plants at the Garden, clone the mother plants and develop a seed bank for future preservation,” he added. “This is a great win for the environment”