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Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Highlights

February 2012

Prepared by the Office of Natural Environment Federal Highway Administration - Publication Number FHWA-HEP-12-031

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Announcements and Recent Events

EPA Releases Final Conformity Restructuring Rule. The EPA issued the final conformity rule, restructuring two sections to ensure that requirements apply to new or revised NAAQS without EPA having to change the rule each time a new NAAQS is adopted. The revisions also expand the use of the clean data test to other pollutants beyond ozone. EPA did not finalize the proposal from the draft rule that would have required use of a near-term analysis year as part of regional emissions analysis requirements. The rule was published in the Federal Register on March 14, 2012 and will become effective on April 13, 2012. For more information, see: EPA Restructuring Rule.

EPA Issues Final Rule to Extend MOVES Grace Period for Use in Regional Emissions Analyses. The EPA recently published the Final Rule to extend the grace period for using MOVES in regional emissions analyses by one year, until March 2, 2013. EPA indicated that the extension of the grace period is due to the "unique circumstances" presented by the transition to MOVES from the MOBILE model including software, operational and technical differences between the two models. The Final Rule does not affect the requirement to use MOVES in SIP submissions or the grace period for use of MOVES in project-level analyses for carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) areas which expires in December 2012. The Final Rule was published on February 27 and is effective immediately. More information can be found at: MOVES Grace period extension.

EPA Releases Implementation Guidance for 2006 24-Hour Fine Particle Standard. On March 5, 2012, the EPA released implementation guidance for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. The document provides guidance on developing State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to demonstrate compliance with this NAAQS. SIPs for the areas designated nonattainment for this standard in 2009 are due by December 14, 2012. The guidance covers most aspects of implementation of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS and how it is similar to or different from the implementation of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. A discussion concerning on-road inventories and motor vehicle emissions budgets is included. A copy of the guidance can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t1pgm.html

EPA Issues Proposed Rule to Implement 2008 Ozone Standard. On February 14, 2012 EPA issued a Proposed Rule on the implementation of the 2008 ozone standard of 0.075 ppm. The Proposed Rule includes thresholds at which nonattainment areas would be classified as marginal, moderate, serious, severe, or extreme, and proposes to revoke the 1997 ozone standard for the purposes of transportation conformity. EPA estimates that 52 areas will be designated as nonattainment under the 2008 ozone standard when the agency makes its final designations, which is scheduled for no later than May 31, 2012. Of the 52 areas, EPA expects that 43 areas will be classified as marginal nonattainment areas. Comments on the Proposed Rule are due by March 15, 2012. For more information, see: 2008 Ozone NAAQS Implementation.

Health Effects Institute Annual Conference, April 15-17, 2012. The Health Effects Institute (HEI) Annual Conference will be held in Chicago, Illinois on April 15-17, 2012. Sessions include information on diesel emissions and cancer, improving methods for traffic-related exposure to pollutants, and the HEI perspective on ultrafine particles. Registration closes April 7, 2012. For more information, see: HEI Annual Meeting.

Mark Your Calendar for NTAQS 2012. The Northern Transportation Air Quality Summit (NTAQS) 2012 will be held in Philadelphia in August 2012. This year's summit will be co-sponsored with FHWA, EPA's Region 1, 2, and 3 Offices, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. Topics cover issues such as regulations and their impacts to the region, analysis and modeling requirements, climate change, programs such as CMAQ and other topics related to transportation and air quality. The summit also will provide some opportunities for training on policy or technical topics. For more information contact Kevin Black at 410-962-2177 or Kevin.Black@dot.gov.

EPA Issues Draft Guidance on Using MOVES to Develop On-Road Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories. EPA recently released draft guidance on how to use the MOVES model to develop state or local inventories of on-road greenhouse gas emissions. This guidance does not create any new requirements and can be used by states and local areas to estimate past and future greenhouse gases from on-road sources. EPA will accept comments on the draft guidance until March 31, 2012. For more information, see: EPA Draft Guidance - Using MOVES Model to Estimate GHG Emissions.

Reminders

EPA Releases Draft Near-road NO2 Technical Assistance Document. On December 22, 2011 the EPA released an updated draft of the Near-road NO2 Technical Assistance Document to assist stakeholders with the planning and siting processes for implementation of the Near-road NO2 monitoring requirements that were announced in February 2010. The latest draft reflects comments from the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and federal, state, and local stakeholders. For more information, see: EPA Near-road NO2 TAD. The EPA also posted the results of the Near-road NO2 Monitoring Pilot Study which can be found at: EPA Near-road NO2PilotStudy.

December 23, 2011 Notice, Revised Apportionments for October 1, 2011- March 12, 2012. On October 5, 2011, FHWA released the apportionment tables for funds under the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, Part II (Extension Act), title I of Public Law 112-30, which extended Federal highway programs until March 12, 2012. On December 23, 2011, FHWA released revised apportionment tables. For more information, and tables of funds apportioned by state including Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds, see: Apportionments Oct 2011-March 2012.

Continuation of the CMAQ 100 percent Federal Share Flexibility. The Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 amended Title 23 to provide a temporary full Federal share (at 100 percent) for CMAQ projects obligated in Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009. This increased Federal share will continue to apply to CMAQ projects during the most recent SAFETEA-LU extension. In practice, the Federal share flexibility is continued as it was on September 30, 2009, when SAFETEA-LU expired. Any questions related to the CMAQ program should be directed to Mike Koontz at (202)366-2076.

MOVES/EMFAC 2-year Grace Period for Hot-Spot Analyses Started December 20, 2010. To access the Federal Register notice, guidance documents, and fact sheets, go to: EPA's Project Level Conformity.

MOVES2010's 24-Month Grace Period for Regional Conformity Analysis extended to March 2, 2013. For more information, see EPA's website, and the MOVES website. See related story.

Training Opportunities

National Transit Institute Introduction to Transportation Conformity Course Scheduled. The NTI course, Introduction to Transportation Conformity is now in Chicago, IL on April 24-26, 2012. The two and one-half day course is free to employees of public agencies. For more information and to register, go to: NTI Conformity Training.

Transportation Conformity Training Courses. FHWA is sponsoring a two-day Introduction to Transportation Conformity training course in response to requests from various states. For more information or if you are interested in hosting a training session, please contact Sarah Siwek, FHWA's contractor for these courses at ssiwek@aol.com.

Conformity 101 Training Available On-Line. FHWA has made a short course titled "What is Conformity?" available on-line. This course is intended for transportation and air quality practitioners who are new to transportation conformity, those looking for a refresher, or others who only need a brief overview of the rule. The session is approximately 27 minutes long. Handouts are available for download at the same site. This course can be accessed on FHWA's website.

FHWA Resource Center Training Activities. FHWA's Resource Center Air Quality Technical Services Team is available to offer MOVES training and information is available at the Resource Center website.

EPA and DOT PM Hotspot Quantitative Analyses Training Scheduled. EPA and DOT have jointly developed a three-day training course on conducting quantitative PM hot-spot analysis using MOVES, and CAL3QHCR and AERMOD air quality dispersion models. Detailed information about this course, upcoming training schedule, and training materials and agenda can be found at: PM Hotspot Quantitative Analyses Training.

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EPA and FHWA Offer Two-Day MOVES2010 Training Course. EPA and FHWA have jointly developed a two-day training course on the MOVES2010 model that will be taught at various locations over the coming months. This is a detailed, two-day, hands-on course geared toward state and local agency staff that will use MOVES2010 for developing SIPs and conformity analyses. For additional information on the two-day training sessions, visit EPA's MOVES training website. The materials needed for the course are posted on the MOVES training site.

Contacts

FHWA HQ Transportation Conformity Team:

FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Team:.

Past issues are available at FHWA's website. If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: ssiwek@aol.com.

Updated: 07/10/2014
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