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Transportation Conformity Highlights

January 2010

Prepared by the Office of Natural and Human Environment Federal Highway Administration

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Announcements and Recent Events

EPA Announces New One-Hour Nitrogen Dioxide Standard. On January 25 EPA set a one-hour NO2 standard at 100 parts per billion (ppb). The agency is also keeping the existing annual average standard of 53 parts per billion (ppb). Sources of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) include vehicles, power plants and other industrial emissions and NO2 also contributes to formation of ozone and particulates. As part of its announcement, EPA established new monitoring requirements in urban areas to measure NO2 levels around major roads and within communities. EPA plans to monitor near road NO2 in 102 urban areas and community-wide concentrations in 53 urban areas. Designations are scheduled to occur in January, 2012 based on the existing monitoring network. The new monitors will begin collecting data not later than January 1, 2013. Once the new monitors have collected three years of air quality data, EPA intends to redesignate areas based on the data from the new monitoring network in 2016 or 2017. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/air/nitrogenoxides/actions.html#jan10.

EPA Proposes Strengthened Ozone Standard. On January 7 EPA announced a proposal, "Reconsideration of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone," to further strengthen the 8-hour ozone standard beyond the 0.075 (parts per million) ppm level previously set in 2008. EPA is proposing to set the new ozone standard at between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm. EPA is proposing to set both a new primary standard to protect public health and a new secondary standard to protect the environment. The proposal was published in the Federal Register on January 12 and EPA announced three public hearings. The hearings were held on February 2 in Arlington, VA and Houston, TX and on February 4 in Sacramento, CA. The audio files of the hearing in Houston are available at: http://www.epa.gov/glo/actions.html#stand. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/actions.html

EPA Extends Deadline for Designations for the 2008 Ozone Standards. EPA issued a Final Rule announcing a one year extension, until March 12, 2011, of the deadline for initial designations under the 2008 8-hour ozone standard. This action will allow EPA to complete the rulemaking discussed above that would strengthen the 8-hour ozone standard. http://www.epa.gov/ozonedesignations.

EPA Posts Alternative Emission Rate Inputs for Use in MOVES. EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality has posted alternative emission rate inputs for Low Emission Vehicles (LEVs) (that meet the California standard) and the National Low Emission Standards (NLEV) which were implemented early in some states in the Ozone Transportation Commission. These alternative rates are for use in the recently released MOVES model and only for states that either adopted the California standards or implemented NLEV requirements early. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/tools.htm.

U.S.DOT Invites Public Comment on Strategic Research Direction, Priority Areas and Performance Metrics. The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) of U.S. DOT, is conducting a strategic planning effort that will guide research from 2010-2015 and seeks public input. RITA wants to ensure that its activities help achieve national transportation goals and drive transportation policy over the next five years. On January 8, RITA published a Federal Register Notice seeking public comment by February 8, 2010. For more information, see: http://www.rita.dot.gov/publications/federal_register/2010/html/rita_2010_01_08.html.

Reminders

EPA Releases MOVES Model. On December 23 EPA released the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) model, MOVES 2010. This new model can calculate emission reduction estimates from mobile source control strategies. A Federal Register notice will be posted in the near future that approves MOVES 2010 for meeting SIP and transportation conformity requirements and provides a two-year grace period for transition to use of the new model. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/index.htm.

EPA's Releases Interim Transportation Conformity Guidance for the 2006 PM2.5 Nonattainment Areas. On December 1, EPA posted new, Interim Guidance for recently designated 2006 PM2.5 nonattainment areas. There are 31 nonattainment areas in 18 states covering all or parts of 120 counties. The one-year grace period before the conformity determination will need to be completed begins on December 14, 2009. The guidance explains how conformity determinations should be done in these areas. EPA and DOT are planning to hold a webinar in January, 2010 to review the guidance with agencies in 2006 PM2.5 areas. The webinar will be open to all stakeholders. The guidance can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/policy/420b06902.pdf.

Upcoming Events

TRB Environment and Energy Research Conference. The 2010 TRB Environment and Energy Research Conference will be held in Raleigh, NC on June 6-9. The event will start with a Research Needs Workshop which is an opportunity for transportation professionals from all sectors to identify research needs on transportation, energy and environmental topics. This will be followed by conference sessions. For more information, see: http://www.trb.org/Calendar/Blurbs/Environment_and_Energy_Research_Conference_Better_162106.aspx.

Training Opportunities

FHWA Resource Center Training Activities. FHWA's Resource Center Air Quality Technical Services Team is available to offer air quality-related training opportunities and information is available at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/airquality/courses.cfm. For further information, contact: Mike Roberts at 404-562-3928 or at Michael.Roberts@dot.gov.

National Transit Institute's Introduction to Transportation Conformity Course. The NTI course to be held in Columbus, Ohio on March 24-26, 2010. This two and one-half day course has recently been updated and provides basic information on conformity and updates on the conformity process. For more information, see: www.ntionline.com. There is still space available.

FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Team:
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/airquality/index.cfm.

If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: ssiwek@aol.com.

Updated: 05/22/2012
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