Environmental News Highlights – May 18, 2022


State DOTs Say Local Partners Help Achieve Goals – AASHTO Journal

Seventeen states sue EPA for letting California set vehicle standards – The Hill

Biden administration vows to speed up environmental permits needed for infrastructure projects – States Newsroom

EPA blocks bid to review basis for climate regs – E&E News

MARAD Adds $234.3 Million to Bolster America’s Port Infrastructure – MARAD (Media release)


Airlines press U.S. to lift pre-departure testing requirements – Reuters

DC Metro exploring possibility of mask-only cars – WTOP Radio


Panel moves bill to scrap NEPA study of Postal Service fleet – E&E News


NCDOT seeks grant to study moving Ocracoke ferry terminal – Coastal Review

Indiana Officials Ask Public to Weigh in on Electric-Vehicle Infrastructure – Public News Service

Watertown officials discuss report on hydroelectric plant – Watertown Daily Times

EV Infrastructure Vulnerabilities Put Cars, the Grid at Risk – Route Fifty

FAA tests airfield lighting with solar energy – Aviacionline

Delaware Extends Electric Vehicle Rebate Program – Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (Media Release)


Colorado Moving Forward with Clean Truck Strategy – AASHTO’s Center for Environmental Excellence

Reducing harmful air pollution has led to a surprising effect – more hurricanes in the North Atlantic – CNN


EV Charging Station Map Highlights Infrastructure Disparities – Route Fifty

Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg Outlines Where Opportunities Meet For The Black Community And Biden’s $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Law – BET


EPA, Corps Moving Forward on WOTUS Rules Update – ENR

Smart buoys return to Lake Erie to help monitor water quality and conditions – Cleveland.com


NMDOT struggles to keep pace with illegal encampmentsAlbuquerque Journal


The Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America – Current Affairs

National Bike Month ride will bring Utahns from Ogden to Provo together in active transit -Standard-Examiner

Cincinnati officials are considering a ‘total ban’ on e-scooters, records show – WVXU Radio

City of Aspen moving toward mandatory e-bike education – Aspen Times

IndyGo Announces Wellness in Transit Pilot, Offering Free HealthcareIndianapolis Public Transportation Corp. (Media release)


Understanding the Effects of COVID-19 on Impaired Driving – TRB (Webinar)


Notice To Establish the Advisory Committee on Transportation EquityUSDOT, Office of the Secretary (Notice)

Solicitation of Nominations for Membership to the Advisory Committee on Transportation EquityUSDOT, Office of the Secretary (Notice)

National Hazardous Materials Route RegistryFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (Notice; revisions to the listing of designated and restricted routes for hazardous materials)

Establishment of the Corridor Identification and Development Program – FRA (Notice of establishment; request for expressions of interest)

Early Scoping Notice for the Kitsap County Public Transportation Benefit Area Authority Proposed Seattle Fast Ferry Terminal Facility ProjectFTA (Early scoping notice)

Determination To Defer Sanctions; California; San Diego County Air Pollution Control District – EPA (Interim final determination)

Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California; San Diego County Air Pollution Control District; Permits – EPA (Proposed rule)

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska – Applicability and Scope; Tongass National Forest Submerged Lands – Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service (Proposed rule)

Call for Nominations for the California Desert District Advisory Council and the Northern California District and Central California Resource Advisory Councils – Bureau of Land Management (Notice)

Oregon DOT Commits $100M to EV Charging Infrastructure

The Oregon Department of Transportation is committing $100 million over the next five years to build out Oregon’s public electric vehicle charging network on several major road corridors, as well as in local communities statewide.

[Above photo by the Oregon DOT]

The Oregon Transportation Commission approved that funding amount – which comes from a mix of federal and state sources – at its March 30 meeting.

The Oregon DOT said about two-thirds of the funding — $52 million from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act plus a required 20 percent match — must be spent on EV charging infrastructure along “Alternative Fuel Corridors,” as per guidance from the Federal Highway Administration.

Alternative Fuel Corridors are roads approved by the FHWA on which states may use federal funding to build alternative fuel infrastructure. Electricity is an alternative fuel, and Oregon has seven corridors approved for federally funded EV charging: Interstates 5, 84, 82, and U.S. 26, 101, 20, and 97.

The remaining third of the money — $36 million — will be used to close EV infrastructure gaps beyond those seven corridors. More charging sites in rural and urban areas, underserved communities, and apartment complexes will allow more Oregonians to charge where they live, work, and play, noted Amanda Pietz, administrator for Oregon DOT’s policy, data & analysis division, in a statement.

“We know that range anxiety is a big factor in people’s reluctance to make the switch to electric vehicles, especially in more rural parts of the state,” said Pietz. “This investment will build Oregonians’ confidence that an EV can fit into their lives and get them where they need to go.”

She noted this $100 million investment focuses on building out charging infrastructure for light-duty EVs like cars, sport utility vehicles, and trucks because “demand is high and the technology is mature.”

Electrifying Oregon’s transportation system is a “key outcome” outlined in Oregon DOT’s Strategic Action Plan, and part of the state’s push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and address the climate change crisis.

“Money doesn’t surmount all barriers,” said Pietz. “Regulations and policies that benefit electrification play a role, too, and we rely on our partner agencies for help there. Couple that with our other work and investments in walking and rolling, bicycling, and congestion pricing, and we can move the needle on transportation emissions in a big way.”

Louisiana DOTD Wins Award for Brine Management

Scott Boyle (seen above), assistant administrator of operations for District 2 of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, recently received an award on behalf of his district’s handling of brine disposal.

[Above photo by the Louisiana DOTD. Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng (at left) presents a ‘Certificate of Merit’ to Louisiana DOTD’s Scott Boyle.]

Louisiana DOTD’s District 2 received the 2022 Environmental Leadership Award from the Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs for its efforts to dispose of excess brine used in winter road clearing operations to minimize the impact on the local water table.

In January, in preparation for an anticipated ice storm in the greater New Orleans area, Louisiana DOTD produced nearly 1,800 gallons of brine to combat ice on the region’s most critical roads and bridges. However, once the weather event was over, a surplus of brine remained.

“In the past, we have tried to store the brine in stationary tanks, but algae growth and the degradation of the solution from heat and sunlight prevented us from re-using the brine for future winter events,” said Boyle in a statement. “Knowing that this material needed to be disposed of responsibly, we contacted the Jefferson Parish Storm Water Management team for guidance.”

Louisiana DOTD then worked with the Jefferson Parish Bridge City Wastewater Treatment Plant – located next to District 2’s headquarters – to dispose of the brine. The mixture was disposed of on a drying bed located on the treatment plant property, filtering out a portion of the salt before introducing the salted water into the plant slowly so it would not shock or upset the wastewater treatment process.

According to Jefferson Parish, these awards recognize those individuals, businesses, or organizations that strive for environmental leadership through programs and actions that improve stormwater quality and/or quantity, thereby reducing the amount of pollution that enters Jefferson Parish waterways.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be recognized for our partnership with Jefferson Parish as [Louisiana] DOTD ensures that we are doing our part to improve our surrounding waterway quality,” Boyle said. “Actions can have significant impacts on the region that we love to live and play in.”

Announcing Center for Environmental Excellence Resilience Webinars

The Center for Environmental Excellence in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration invites you to join in parts two and three of a three-part webinar series on Resilience. The webinars will include speakers from various state DOTs as well as FHWA and AASHTO. Find further description and registration, as well as recording and meeting materials from the first session below:

Reducing the effects of climate change on transportation infrastructure using natural and nature-based solutions (5/9/22)

Recording and meeting materials: https://environment.transportation.org/past-event/resilience-webinar-series-reducing-the-effects-of-climate-change-on-transportation-infrastructure-using-natural-and-nature-based-solutions/

Integration of climate change projections in hydrologic and hydraulic design in transportation projects (5/31/22)

Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Fv4Y68VwTHa9MBe1-lI-gQ

Future climate conditions, including increased precipitation and sea-level rise, are anticipated to impact the structural performance, and therefore, the functionality of our transportation facilities. As such, the integration of climate considerations into the design of transportation facilities is an important step in ensuring that target levels of facility performance are met as climate conditions change. This integration, however, is not yet a standard practice included in hydrologic and hydraulic design. Engineers can benefit from being provided with methods and tools that facilitate the integration of climate considerations, especially of scientific advances that have proven to be effective in engineering decision-making. This webinar will feature selected methods and tools used by transportation agencies in the United States and overseas to account for climate data in the hydrologic and hydraulic design of transportation facilities.

Integrating Natural Hazard Resilience into the Transportation Planning Process (7/6/22) also from 1-2:30 EST

Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lpclw6-jTOqLHhRhSLBB6w

Climate change and other natural hazards may threaten lives, property, and other assets. Often, natural hazards can be predicted. They tend to occur repeatedly in the same geographical locations because they are related to the weather patterns and physical characteristics of an area. At whatever stage a planning agency is in its planning cycle, there are resilience-related actions that can be taken in order to begin appropriately integrating natural hazard considerations into the transportation planning process. Currently, there has been a resurgence of interest in resilience-based planning activities due to the frequency of natural disasters, the global movement to fight climate change, and even due to the emphasis on planning for resilience in the recent federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This webinar will provide an overview and integrate key examples showing how transportation planning agencies can most appropriately and effectively integrate resilience into the transportation planning process.

Center for Environmental Excellence Updating PAL Database

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Center for Environmental Excellence (CEE) is looking for state assistance in updating the contents of its Programmatic Agreement Library (PAL database).

The PAL database functions as a “central library” or “one-stop-shop” for programmatic agreements between state departments of transportation and/or the Federal Highway Administration in partnership with resource agencies that help streamline compliance with federal environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

The PAL contains not only the programmatic agreement information; but links to each full agreement and ongoing access for practitioners to research agreements that meet specific requirements.

However, most of the agreements within the database are 10 years old, so the CEE asks states to review their documents within the PAL to see if they are still valid, need to be updated, or removed entirely.

State agencies willing to help review PAL documents can reach out to jbillo@aashto.org for more information.