Environmental News Highlights – June 22, 2022


Montana officials ask Buttigieg for quick assistance – Missoula Current

Feds get new guidelines for e-bikes in national parks, forests – WyoFile

Axios Climate Truths: Climate hits home – Axios

FAA Proposes Requiring More Efficient Jets and Turboprops to Lower Climate Impacts – FAA (Media release)

USDA Announces Partnership with the Port of Houston and Expansion of Partnership with Northwest Seaport Alliance to Ease Port Congestion and Restore Disrupted Shipping Services to U.S. Grown Agricultural Commodities – USDA (Media release)


MTA stops collecting and publishing mask compliance stats in subways and buses – amNY

Cycling through the COVID-19 Pandemic to a More Sustainable Transport Future: Evidence from Case Studies of 14 Large Bicycle-Friendly Cities in Europe and North America – Sustainability


Va. Infrastructure Project Deploys Multiple Sustainable Solutions – ENR Mid-Atlantic

County approves L.A. River Master Plan over 11th-hour objections from environmental groups – Los Angeles Times

MDOT seeks funding for Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure – SuperTalk Mississippi Media

Central Puget Sound Adopts Regional Transportation Plan with an Eye Toward 2030 – The Urbanist

UPS Test Electric Bicycles in Congested Cities – CBS News

Engineers explore innovative ways to improve resilience of coastal structures – University of Miami

Dams, a key part of state infrastructure, must be kept safe – Capitol Weekly (Opinion)


To Get to Net Zero, This City Is Making a Map – CityLab

DC Region Will Now Consider Climate Impacts In Transportation Planning, Aiming To Cut Emissions In Half – DCist

How Washington State is leading the way for electric boats in the US – KING-TV

N.Y. measure seeks to combat traffic pollution near schools – Times Union


How Equity Can Help Integrate Transportation Systems – AASHTO Journal

How climate change and environmental justice are inextricably linked – Washington Post


Reducing Runoff to Save Farmers Money and Protect Water Quality – University of Maryland

Flooding Closes Yellowstone, in a Sign of Crises to Come – New York Times

What it really means for a wildfire to be ‘contained’ – Popular Science

Prairie songbirds are affected by unpredictable noise produced by oil drilling – The Conversation

Florida should let feds handle wetlands permitting – Herald-Tribune (Opinion)

Joe Jonas Lassos Litter As The New Face Of Don’t Mess With Texas® – TxDOT (Media release)


People mover, new bike paths and bus lanes: 2028 Olympics could fuel a transit boom in L.A. – Los Angeles Times

Coalition loops state panel into dispute over Laguna Beach preservation rules, downtown plan – Laguna Beach Independent


Colorado DOT Adding Bicycle Law Signs on Highways – AASHTO Journal

Audi’s Connected Car Tech Aims to Save Cyclists – The Drive

Scooters Get a Second Chance – New York Times

Can’t get there from here: Florida’s Coast-to-Coast Trail is still missing a middle – City & State Florida

Boston transit agency to try urine sensors on elevators – AP


Building Socioeconomic Equity Through Transportation Research – TRB

Roadside Fire Risk and Prevention Strategies – TRB (Webinar)


Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Convening Workshop on Stakeholder Partnership – Sharing the Benefits and Opportunities for Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission – Department of Energy (Notice)

Michigan: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program RevisionsEPA (Final authorization)

Air Plan Approval; California; San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District; Open Burning – EPA (Final rule)

Air Plan Approval; North Carolina; North Carolina BART Rule Revisions – EPA (Final rule)

Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Data Elements Under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule – EPA (Proposed rule)

Notice of Funding Availability for Credit Assistance Under SWIFIA Program – EPA (Notice of funding availability)

Notice of Funding Availability for Credit Assistance Under WIFIA Program – EPA (Notice of funding availability)

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Mitigation of Contaminated Transboundary Flows Project – EPA and US International Boundary and Water Commission (Notice of availability of draft programmatic environmental impact statement; notice of virtual public comment meetings; request for comments)

Membership in the National Parks Overflights Advisory Group – FAA (Solicitation of applications)

Maricopa Sun Solar Complex Habitat Conservation Plan, Kern County, California; Environmental Assessment – Fish and Wildlife Service (Notice of availability of documents; request for public comment)

Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Proposal To Find That Illinois Has Satisfied Conditions on Earlier Approval – NOAA/EPA(Notice of proposed finding; request for comments)

NYSDOT Begins ‘Engagement’ for Transformative Expressway Project

The New York State Department of Transportation recently launched the formal public “engagement” process for the “transformative” Kensington Expressway project in Buffalo.

[Above photo by the New York Governor’s Office]

Constructed during the 1950s and 1960s, the Kensington Expressway replaced what had been a tree-lined boulevard – the Humboldt Parkway, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – with a below-grade highway that severed the connection between the surrounding neighborhoods. The original boulevard connected Humboldt Park (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Park) with Delaware Park.

NYSDOT noted that its $32.8 billion five-year capital plan adopted as part of the state’s fiscal year 2023 budget includes up to $1 billion for reconnecting the east-west neighborhoods across the depressed section of the Kensington Expressway corridor.

That funding also aims to help re-establish the green space originally provided by Humboldt Parkway without compromising the long-term capacity of the important regional transportation link provided by the expressway, which carries 80,000 vehicles per day.

The agency said the engagement process for this project – which involves a series of public meetings – provides community members with an opportunity to learn about the various options considered for the project and to provide NYSDOT with feedback.

The input from those sessions and other upcoming public involvement opportunities will help inform the decision-making process for the project, especially in terms of its environmental review.

“The Kensington Expressway project represents a historic opportunity to reshape Buffalo and reconnect communities that were severely impacted by the highway’s construction more than a half-century ago,” noted Governor Kathy Hochul (D) in a statement.

My administration is committed to delivering on bold infrastructure projects that will help right the wrongs of the past through transportation networks designed to bring communities together, and routes that are friendlier for pedestrians and bikers,” she said. “It’s critical that the community has a voice in how this project proceeds and these scoping sessions will help us inform members of the public about all the options being considered and allow us to listen to their feedback.”

NYSDOT noted that it would consider the comments received at these public “scoping” sessions and respond to them in its Project Scoping Report due later this summer.

Also, the agency plans to launch a new website on the Kensington Expressway Project on June 29, providing another forum for the public to learn about the project.

NYSDOT said it is currently assessing opportunities to create new open public spaces, enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety, and address noise and air pollution, while also assessing enhancements to the local roadways to facilitate safe vehicle operations within reconnected neighborhoods.

Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Wyoming Issue Drafts of EV Charging Plans

The Mississippi Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation recently released drafts of their electric vehicle or EV charging network development plans – networks funded by federal money through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure or NEVI formula program established by in February.

[Above photo by the Wyoming DOT]

The Mississippi DOT said that to receive its allocation of NEVI funds, the agency must submit an EV infrastructure deployment plan by August 1 to the Federal Highway Administration. That plan must include detail on EV charging infrastructure deployment, existing and future conditions, and public engagement, the Mississippi noted in a statement.

The agency is currently accepting comments on its plan through July 15.

Meanwhile, PennDOT launched a survey for the public to share feedback on the goals, infrastructure-prioritization, and program-administration components of the draft of its EV recharging plan. Comments on its plan are due by June 30.

“[WE are] committed to making future-focused investments in Pennsylvania to update our highway network to accommodate more electric vehicles and hybrids,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian in a statement. “We have received public and stakeholder feedback throughout this process, which is vital to understanding wants and needs as this transformational technology takes hold.”

PennDOT expects to receive and distribute $171.5 million in funds for its EV charging infrastructure over the next five years through the NEVI formula program.

Finally, the Wyoming DOT issued a draft of its EV infrastructure plan that is open for comments through July 27.

The agency said it expects to receive an almost $24 million allocation from the NEVI formula program over the next five years to establish an EV charging network along its federally-designated alternative fuel corridors: Interstate 80, Interstate 25, and Interstate 90.

Once the FHWA certifies the EV infrastructure build-out along the interstates, Wyoming DOT can spend any remaining NEVI funding in areas outside of those specific interstate corridors. However, the agency stressed that roads or bridges are not eligible for NEVI funds and that no state funding will go towards installing, operating, or maintaining EV chargers deployed using NEVI funds.

Wyoming DOT Director Luke Reiner is seeking an exemption to the initial federal requirements to place EV charging stations every 50 miles and a maximum of one mile from an exit – an exemption due to the predominance of rural routes across Wyoming, projected limited initial EV adoption rates, and the overall system’s economic viability.

“We think this is a common-sense approach to bringing this infrastructure to Wyoming,” he noted in a statement. “We want any traveler, local or tourist, to be able to drive in our great state without worrying about whether the infrastructure is in place to support the type of vehicle they choose to drive.”

Additionally, Wyoming seeks to use NEVI funding to facilitate travel to popular tourist destinations. Tourism is the state’s second-largest industry, and major tourism destinations like Yellowstone National Park are off-corridor.