Environmental News Highlights – May 11, 2022


Former USDOT Secretary Norm Mineta Dies – AASHTO Journal

DOJ and EPA Announce New Enforcement Strategy to Advance Environmental Justice – National Law Review

White House Wants to Ensure Good Stewardship of Infrastructure Funds – Government Executive

Senate committee advances package to fund recreation infrastructure, public lands access – Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Biden’s new environmental justice chief faces a tough task – Washington Post


CDC Reissues Mask Recommendation On Planes And Public Transportation Across America As Much Of The Northeast Moves Into “High Transmission” Category – Deadline

TSA Reports 50% Rise in COVID-19 Amongst Staffers in the Two Weeks Since the Mask Mandate Was Lifted – Your Own Kanoo

Unruly air passenger rates declined in the U.S. after mask mandates were suspended. – New York Times


What is NEPA? – Utah Public Radio


White House to Help States Plan for National EV Charging Network – Transport Topics

Illinois to put remaining VW settlement money toward EV infrastructure – Mass Transit

Smart Pavement Powering EV Charging, In-road Traffic Sensors – Route Fifty

When it’s impossible to fight rising sea levels, should we move somewhere else? – San Francisco Examiner

How Houston Is Growing its Bike Infrastructure – Planetizen


Alaska DOT&PF Part of Low Emission Ferry Project – AASHTO Journal

WYDOT Will Request Exemptions to Federal Electric Vehicle Charging Program – Cowboy State Daily

How Does Transit Help the Climate?The Equation (Blog)


Equity in Electric Vehicle Charging – AASHTO’s ETAP Podcast

San Francisco to keep cars off popular Golden Gate Park road – AP


UAS Improve Environmental Data Collection – FHWA Innovator

ADOT relies upon groups for trash clean up – Wickenburg Sun

Nonprofit report points to outdated Clean Water Act for the miles of polluted rivers across the U.S. – Great Lakes Now

The Fight Over Managed Retreat – Malibu Magazine

SpaceX Starbase expansion plans will harm endangered species, according to Fish and Wildlife Service – CNBC

Caltrans Spotlights Top Six Pollutants Degrading California’s Water Quality – Caltrans (Media release)


What Historic Preservation Is Doing to American Cities – The Atlantic


Report: Switch to EVs Could Deliver $1.2T in Health Benefits – AASHTO Journal

Colorado safety stop legislation expects to create ‘bicycle-friendly’ communities – Greeley Tribune

New Rules Could Drastically Impact Use of Motorized Scooters in San Diego – KNSD -TV

The E-Bike Effect Is Transforming New York City – CityLab

California Targets Loud Exhaust with Sound-Activated Camera Enforcement – Autoweek

Experts Point to Safe Spaces Away From Busy Streets, Like Trails, As Essential to Inspiring People to Be Active – Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (Media Release)


Sustainability and Emerging Transportation Technology (SETT) Conference – TRB


National Bridge Inspection Standards – FHWA (Final rule)

Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards; Extension of Comment PeriodEPA (Notice; extension of public comment period)

Noise Exposure Maps Notice for Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, North Carolina – FAA (Notice)

Colorado Moving Forward with Clean Truck Strategy

The administration of Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) recently finalized its Clean Truck Strategy – initially unveiled in March – after what the governor described as “extensive public input.”

[Above photo by the Colorado DOT]

Developed by the Colorado Energy Office, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, the 27-page Clean Truck Strategy seeks to encourage the adoption of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks statewide, potentially reducing greenhouse gas or GHG emissions from those vehicles by at least 45 percent in Colorado by 2050.

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles covered by Colorado’s Clean Truck Strategy include tractor-trailers, school buses, snowplows, delivery vans, large pick-up trucks, and many different vehicle types in between.

A separate 147-page study compiled by the Colorado Energy Office found that medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are the second-largest source of GHG emissions in the transportation sector, producing 22 percent of on-road GHG emissions despite making up less than 10 percent of the total Colorado vehicle population.

That study found if Colorado pursues an “accelerated transition” to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle models, it could cut GHG emissions by 45 percent to 59 percent, reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 54 percent to 93 percent, and reduce particulate matter emissions by 53 percent to 68 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

Those three state agencies said they would continue collaborating with stakeholders and initiating implementation on “near-term” actions over the next few months, including:

Those agencies also expect to update the Clean Truck Strategy every two years to respond to “evolving market and lessons” learned from implementing the plan’s near-term requirements. “Colorado has enormous opportunities to reduce pollution and improve quality of life by transitioning from diesel to zero-emission trucks and buses,” explained Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, in a statement. “This strategic plan creates a framework for achieving big things through investment, collaboration, and regulation.”

Caltrans Highlights Key Stormwater Pollutants

As part of its “Let’s Change This to That” public education campaign, the California Department of Transportation is highlighting the top six sources of stormwater pollution across the state as well as ways to prevent them from contaminating California’s waterways.

[Above photo by Caltrans]

The agency manages stormwater runoff and mitigates potential pollution within its 350,000 acres of right of way, which includes more than 15,000 centerline miles of highways. This effort involves picking up roadside litter and clearing out storm drains to preserve roadway safety and drivability during all types of weather conditions.

Unlike water that goes down the sink or toilet in a home, Caltrans said stormwater is untreated and flows directly into lakes, rivers, and other waterways.

The agency noted that as stormwater travels into storm drains, it captures pollutants from highways, streets, sidewalks, and yards that flow into waterways. The top six pollutants have an outsized impact on the water quality of lakes, rivers, streams, and the ocean, and many are preventable through small actions Californians can take:

  • Trash and litter: Properly secure items in truck beds and put trash and recycling in the correct bin.
  • Sediments: Prevent soil erosion by using mulch in the garden, planting trees and shrubs, and sweeping driveways instead of hosing them off.
  • Nutrients: Avoid over-fertilizing lawns and plants and limit vegetation waste by keeping fallen leaves out of storm drains.
  • Bacteria: Limit pet and Recreational Vehicle or RV waste by picking up after your pet and using appropriate RV dumping stations.
  • Metals: Regularly check tire pressure, change oil and fluids, and use commercial car washes to prevent metals generated from vehicle, tire, and brake wear from ending up on highways.
  • Pesticides: Use organic pesticides and properly dispose of unused portions.

“Preventing stormwater pollution requires the help and support of every Californian, and it starts with keeping highways and roadways clean,” noted Steven Keck, acting director at Caltrans, in a statement.

“Californians must work together to take necessary steps to prevent pollution at the source and keep our waterways clean,” he said.

With the intensify drought conditions predicted to increase statewide this year, Caltrans noted it is amplifying water quality as a top priority.

During a drought, the state’s lakes, rivers, and streams have lower water levels, which leads to a higher concentration of pollutants. By preventing a buildup of metals, trash, and other pollutants on highways and roadways in dry conditions, Californians can help keep pollutants from traveling into local waterways during rainstorms.