In 2002, the Sierra Club legally challenged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Nevada Department of Transportation's (NDOT) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document related to the proposed widening of U.S. 95 in Las Vegas, Nevada, including the assessment of impacts of mobile source air toxics (MSATs) from the proposed project. FHWA entered into a Settlement Agreement with Nevada DOT and the Sierra Club, wherein the FHWA agreed to undertake a research effort to characterize the impact and behavior of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and MSATs near highways.1 The Federal Highway Administrator contacted all 50 States requesting that the States participate in this research study. Two States volunteered: Nevada and Michigan.
The FHWA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that it would be in the best interest of both organizations to implement this project in a collaborative manner, allowing a more effective utilization of staffing and resources. One of the first steps of the project implementation has been the selection of a suitable ambient air monitoring site in or around Las Vegas, Nevada.