Environmental News Highlights – June 15, 2022


House Overwhelmingly Passes Its Version Of WRDA – Waterways Journal


Pre-travel testing requirement lifted: What you need to know about the new US travel policy – CNN

Groups file new lawsuit to stop Idaho gold mine drilling – ABC News

Greens win NEPA court fight over Calif. offshore fracking – E&E News

Virtual Public Meeting – Texas Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Plan – TxDOT (link to video)

Solar highway noise barriers to be deployed across North America – pv magazine

How Rotterdam’s Green Rooftops Fight Urban Heat – Planetizen

GSA Completes First Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Land Port of Entry Project – GSA (Media release)


What are you breathing? Air quality checks are to be available on Google Maps in the US! – Business Today

The aviation industry can hit its emissions goals, but it needs new fuels – MIT Technology Review


How New Jersey’s environmental justice law is beginning to affect operators around the country – Waste Dive

Updated Lake Champlain cleanup plan focuses on climate change, environmental justice – VTDigger

A largely forgotten flood ignited the environmental justice movement – Washington Post


DeSantis vetoes Everglades bill that advocates said would harm water quality – Tampa Bay Times

State suspends permit applications for titanium mine near Okefenokee Swamp – The Current

Wildfires in US West Match Climate Projections ‘Eerily’ Well – Bloomberg


Tennessee Unveils Trail Made Out of Tires – AP

Cleveland streets to include more multi-modal, environmentally-friendly designs under strengthened Complete and Green Streets policy – Cleveland.com

How this ‘little trail that could’ aims to change Salt Lake recreation, transit – KSL

What If Electric Bikes Were as Cheap as Conventional Bicycles? – CityLab

Construction of Shared-Use Path to Begin on Vanocker Canyon Road in Sturgis – South Dakota DOT (Media release)


Geotechnical Data Applications and Visualization for Transportation – TRB (Webinar)

Linking Land Use and Transportation through Research – TRB (Blog)


Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) and Miami Beach Channel, Miami, FLCoast Guard (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Safety Zones in Reentry Sites; Jacksonville, Daytona, Cape Canaveral, Tampa, and Tallahassee, Florida – Coast Guard (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Delaware; Removal of Stage II Gasoline Vapor Recovery Program Requirements and Revision of Stage I Gasoline Vapor Recovery Program Requirements – EPA (Final rule)

Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification Improvement Rule – EPA (Proposed rule)

Air Plan Approval; Mississippi; Revision of Excess Emissions Provisions – EPA (Proposed rule)

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Gasoline Distribution Technology Review and Standards of Performance for Bulk Gasoline Terminals Review – EPA (Proposed rule)

California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards; Heavy- Duty Vehicle and Engine Emission Warranty and Maintenance Provisions; Request for Waiver of Preemption; Opportunity for Public Hearing and Public Comment – EPA (Notice of opportunity for public hearing and comment)

California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards and Nonroad Engine Pollution Control Standards; The ‘‘Omnibus’’ Low NOX Regulation; Request for Waivers of Preemption; Opportunity for Public Hearing and Public Comment – EPA (Notice of opportunity for public hearing and comment)

California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards; Advanced Clean Trucks; Zero Emission Airport Shuttle; Zero-Emission Power Train Certification; Request for Waiver of Preemption; Opportunity for Public Hearing and Public Comment – EPA (Notice of opportunity for public hearing and comment)

Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen SuitEPA (Notice of proposed consent
decree; request for public comment)

Development of Best Practices for Collection of Batteries To Be Recycled and Voluntary Battery Labeling Guidelines; Request for Information – EPA (RFI)

Recycling Education and Outreach; Grant Program and Model Recycling Program Toolkit; Request for Information – EPA (RFI)

Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Program; Request for Information – EPA (RFI)

Assessing Fees for Excess and Unauthorized GrazingForest Service (Final rule)

Credit Assistance and Related Fees for Water Resources Infrastructure Projects – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Proposed rule)

Hazardous Materials: Frequently Asked Questions – Applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations; Extension of Comment Period and Notice of Public Informational Webinar – Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (Notice)

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplement to the Next Generation Delivery Vehicles Acquisitions Final Environmental Impact Statement – Postal Service (Notice)

Submission of Establishment of a New Parking Fee Area at Pearl Harbor National Memorial; CorrectionNational Park Service (Notice; correction)

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for US Wind’s Proposed Wind Energy Facility Offshore Maryland – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (Notice; request for comments)

FHWA Issues Proposed Rulemaking for Funding EV Infrastructure

The Federal Highway Administration issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on June 9 to outline minimum standards and requirements for projects funded via the five-year $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure or NEVI formula program launched in February.

[Above photo by the Arizona DOT]

That rulemaking seeks to support the build-out of a national EV charging network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030, while also ensuring that the network is “user-friendly, reliable, and accessible to all Americans” yet also interoperable between different charging companies, with similar payment systems, pricing information, charging speeds, and more.

FHWA said its proposed rule would establish the groundwork for states to build federally funded charging station projects across a national EV charging network, an “important step” towards making electric vehicle charging accessible to all Americans. No matter what kind of EV a user drives, what state they charge in, or what charging company they plug into, the minimum standards will ensure a unified network of chargers with similar payment systems, pricing information, charging speeds, and more, the agency noted.

The proposed requirements will help states as they develop their EV deployment plans in concert with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, established along with the NEVI program by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021.

“To support the transition to electric vehicles, we must build a national charging network that makes finding a charge as easy as filling up at a gas station,” explained U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement. “These new ground rules will help create a network of EV chargers across the country that are convenient, affordable, reliable, and accessible for all Americans.”

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy – in coordination with USDOT through the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation – unveiled the Electric Vehicle Working Group or EVWG to make recommendations regarding the development, adoption, and integration of electric vehicles into America’s transportation and energy systems.

This advisory group will consist of 25 representatives, federal government employees, and special government employees who will compile reports related to the adoption of EVs to help ensure the sustainable integration of electric vehicles into the electric grid, prepare the workforce for more electric vehicles, and maintain global competitiveness in electric transportation infrastructure and technology. The DOE expects to publish the member nomination process by next week.

Additionally, FHWA said its proposed rule would require consistency regarding the installation, operation, and maintenance of NEVI formula program projects to provide the traveling public with reliable expectations for their charging experience. The proposed rule would further specify the required minimum density of provided chargers, payment methods, and requirements for customer support services.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is already assisting in this build-out effort via a memorandum of understanding signed in February with the National Association of State Energy Officials, USDOT, and DOE to coordinate nationwide investment in EV charging station infrastructure.

AASHTO also helped establish a free repository of information in March on EVs available to state agencies. Called the “EV States Clearinghouse,” it contains a variety of documents such as sample requests for proposals or RFPs, sample contracts, EV infrastructure siting, and assessment tools, plus other resources.

“The focus on electric vehicle charging infrastructure across our national transportation network is a huge step to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we applauded the administration’s focus on this issue,” explained Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director. “Many state departments of transportation have found success in their own EV charging infrastructure programs and know first-hand that collaboration between state energy offices and other agencies is instrumental to success.”

Several state DOTs recently achieved milestones in their efforts to establish more EV charging locations along highways in their respective regions. For example, the Oregon Department of Transportation recently celebrated the completion of Phase 1 EV charging upgrades to the West Coast Electric Highway. Meanwhile, the Connecticut Department of Transportation unveiled Level 3 “fast chargers” at the I-95 Southbound service plaza in Madison. Connecticut DOT added that more publicly available fast chargers should go online at service plazas in New Canaan, Greenwich, and Fairfield over the next several weeks.

Concurrently, the Arizona Department of Transportation is currently developing a statewide EV charging network plan it expects to submit to FHWA by August, with further plan refinements to follow.

Moreover, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development went a step further by hosting an outdoor EV exposition in April at its headquarters facility in Baton Rouge.

“Overall, we want to convert gas stations into fuel stations where a variety of fuel options, including electric charging, are available,” noted Dr. Shawn Wilson, Louisiana DOTD’s secretary and AASHTO’s 2021-2022 president, at the event. “In order to become a competitor in green energy, Louisiana must make changes, and this starts with our transportation industry.”

Wilson added that Louisiana DOTD plans to start developing the grant programs now through 2023, soliciting applications as well as monitoring and inspecting charging station installations while identifying and correcting weaknesses in the grant programs for use in future rounds of solicitations and awards.

Maryland Initiates Tier 2 NEPA Study for Bay Crossing Project

At a June 12 event, Governor Larry Hogan (R) said the Maryland Transportation Authority and the Federal Highway Administration are launching a $28 million Tier 2 National Environmental Policy Act study for an additional Chesapeake Bay crossing option.

[Above photo by the Maryland Governor’s Office]

“At my direction, we are immediately launching a critical Bay Crossing Tier 2 Study, which will not only study the new crossing but also look at solutions for the entire 22-mile corridor from the Severn River Bridge to the 50/301 split,” the governor said in a statement.

“This is the critical next step which is needed in order to move forward so we can make a new Chesapeake Bay crossing a reality in the years to come, and it is just one more way that together we are truly changing Maryland for the better,” he added.

He noted that, in April, FHWA approved a combined Final Environmental Impact Statement and a Record of Decision for the proposed bridge, with the Tier 2 NEPA study poised to identify and evaluate a “no-build alternative” as well as various crossing alignments and types – such as a new bridge, a bridge/tunnel or replacement of existing spans.

The study would take about four to five years to complete. If it recommends a “build alignment” alternative, another Record of Decision for Tier 2 would be required before proceeding to final design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction. Meanwhile, a “no-build” recommendation means taking no action of any kind.

The initial Tier 1 study evaluated a range of “modal and operational alternatives” or MOAs, including ferry service, rail, bus, and transportation system management/transportation demand management, and found they could not function as stand-alone options. Subsequently, the Tier 2 study will re-analyze the use of buses, ferries, and transportation system/demand management, especially in conjunction with other mobility alternatives.