Environmental News Highlights – July 6, 2022


What you need to know about the Supreme Court’s EPA case – Washington Post

USDOT launches ‘Reconnecting Communities’ grant program to bolster transportation – Spectrum News 1
Interior Department Invites Public Comment on Proposed Five Year Program for Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing – Department of Interior (Media release)


MTA ends COVID testing requirement for unvaccinated transit workers – New York Daily News


D.C. Circuit rejects NEPA challenge to Va. pipeline expansion – E&E News


Texas Department of Transportation to Create Statewide Network of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations – The Texan

U.S. Coast Guard Says Planned Bridge Across Columbia River Is 60 Feet Too Low – Willamette Week

Early Warning System Pinpoints Flooded Roads in Some States – Stateline

Reclamation and Recycling Show Benefits after Three Minnesota WintersPavement Preservation Journal

Michigan’s miles of recycled rubberized road stretch on – Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (Media release)

EV Charging Network: 8 Ways US States & Cities Can Make It Work – World Resources Institute (Commentary)


Clean Cars and Clean Air Act Receives Enough Signatures for November Ballot – California Globe

Smogmobile visits Westminster to raise awareness of air pollution – Highways News

Turning Public Transit into a Solar Paradigm – Power


Roundtable: Creating a more gender diverse and inclusive public transport industry – Intelligent Transport

Will EPA’s proposed clean truck emission standards deliver environmental justice in U.S. states? – International Council on Clean Transportation (Blog)


San Diego County Using New Tiered Warning Sign System at Contaminated Beaches – KNSD-TV

Today’s landscape means benefits of public lands extend beyond recreation to biodiversity and water quality – West Central Tribune


MSP Airport to become 1st in nation to use app detailing travelers’ medical conditions – KSTP-TV

Chicago to add concrete barriers to all protected bike lanes by end of 2023 – WLS-TV

Can Toronto Finally Win Its War on Noise Pollution? – Next City

The Intersection of Health and Transportation: A Planning Framework for MnDOT – Crossroads

This smartphone app can help blind people navigate more trains and buses. Here’s how – World Economic Forum


Transportation Research Board details efforts to make national travel more ADA accessible – TRB


Port Access Route Study: Approaches to Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts – Coast Guard (Notification of inquiry and public meetings; request for comments)

Temporary Closure and Temporary Restrictions of Specific Uses on Public Lands for the 2022 Burning Man Event (Permitted Event), Pershing County, NV – Bureau of Land Management (Notice)

Notice of Temporary Seasonal Closure of Public Lands in La Plata and Montezuma Counties, CO Bureau of Land Management (Notice)

Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Advisory Committee Virtual Meeting Natural Resources Conservation Service – USDA (Notice of meeting)

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee Final Report; Notice of Public Meeting – FAA (Notice of public meeting)

Power Authority of the State of New York; Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P.; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Notice)

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program: RFS Annual Rules – EPA (Final rule)

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

Public Meeting of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group – Bureau of Reclamation – (Notice of public meeting)

Call for Nominations for the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group Federal Advisory Committee – Bureau of Reclamation (Notice)

North Alabama Utility-Scale Solar Facility Environmental Impact Statement – Tennessee Valley Authority (Issuance of record of decision)

Five States Help Expand U.S. Bicycle Route System

Three new U.S. Bicycle Routes in Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Delaware, along with the realignment and extension of additional routes through Indiana and Michigan, have added more than 650 miles to the U.S. Bicycle Route or USBR system. 

[Above photo by the Minnesota DOT]

The new routes in Oklahoma and Delaware are the first U.S. Bicycle Routes in those states, while the new route in Minnesota is its fourth. USBR 66 in Oklahoma boasts the most rideable miles of Historic Route 66, the “Mother Road.” At the same time, USBR 20 in Minnesota offers miles of off-road riding and several of the state’s 10,000 lakes, and USBR 201 through Delaware takes in historic sites and Delaware River views.

Michigan and Indiana realigned and extended existing routes based on feedback from bicyclists and local communities and due to the completion of infrastructure improvements and other projects.

“It’s been 96 years since the iconic Route 66 opened to motor vehicle traffic in the U.S.,” said Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, in a statement.

“Now, cyclists can follow the historic route for more than 400 miles through Oklahoma using the newly designated USBR 66,” he added. “This latest round of U.S. Bicycle Route System designations exemplifies AASHTO’s steadfast commitment to creating active transportation facilities in rural and urban America.”

“We’re excited to coordinate this project to build a better future for bicycle travel across the United States,” said Jennifer O’Dell, executive director of the Adventure Cycling Association. “The latest designations are powerful momentum in this long-term effort.”

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a developing national network of officially designated, numbered, and signed routes that use existing roads, trails, and other facilities appropriate for bike travel. It will eventually encompass 50,000 miles of routes and open new opportunities for cross-country travel, regional touring, and commuting by bike.

State departments of transportation develop U.S. Bicycle Routes, which AASHTO then officially designates. With the latest designations and realignments noted above, the USBR system now boasts 18,534 miles of routes in 33 states and Washington, D.C. At least 38 states are currently developing additional U.S. bicycle routes, AASHTO noted.

The nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association helps coordinates national development of the USBR system, offering technical assistance, volunteer coordination, and outreach to help states achieve official designation of routes.

In February 2021, AASHTO and Adventure Cycling signed a memorandum of understanding or MOU to formalize their 16-year partnership, which seeks to create a national bike route network that “mirrors that of the national interstate system.”

TxDOT Taps Joe Jonas for Anti-Littering Effort

The Texas Department of Transportation has recruited popular singer, songwriter, and actor Joe Jonas to star in a series of Public Service Announcements as part of the agency’s “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-littering campaign.

[Above photo by TxDOT]

The agency said the “show-stopping” performer – a former Westlake, Texas, resident – takes an “over-the-top” approach in the PSAs to remind folks to keep Texas roadways free of litter.

The “Don’t Mess with Texas” litter prevention program – originally started back in 1986 – includes a grassroots partnership with “Keep Texas Beautiful, annual “Trash-Off” community outreach events, and the Adopt-a-Highway volunteer program.

In June, Joe Jonas – the second of three Jonas brothers – began appearing in television and radio PSAs running on both broadcast networks and digital platforms statewide. The aim of the campaign seeks to encourage Texans – young and old – to dispose of litter properly, in a trashcan, all the time.

“Joe understands the pride that we have in our state and in keeping it clean for everyone to enjoy its beauty, now and in the future,” explained Becky Ozuna, coordinator for the “Don’t mess with Texas” campaign, in a statement.

“We are thrilled to have Joe join us in bringing attention to our litter-free message through his comedic talent and timing,” she said.

Joe Jonas is the latest in a line of Texas celebrities who have lent their support to the campaign, including country-western musicians George Strait and Willie Nelson, plus actors Eva Longoria and Matthew McConaughey.

State departments of transportation across the country are involved in a variety of anti-littering efforts.

In May, Governor Tom Wolf (D) presented a group of employees from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection with Governor’s Awards for Excellence in recognition of their efforts to develop the first-ever Pennsylvania Litter Action Plan, unveiled in December 2021.

In March, the Tennessee Department of Transportation teamed up with Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful and other partners to establish a network of 17 “Seabin” automated litter and debris removal devices across the Tennessee River watershed.

Those Seabin devices work continuously to skim and collect marine debris from the surface of the water. Each receptacle can remove up to 3,000 pounds of marine debris annually, while also filtering out gasoline, oils, and “micro-plastics” from the water.