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Transportation Conformity Highlights

June 2009

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

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Announcements and Recent Events

FHWA Announces the Availability of "What is Transportation Conformity?" Training. Since February 2009, over 400 practitioners from across the country have participated in FHWA's "What is Transportation Conformity?" webinar. The on-demand version of this popular live webinar is now available online. This training was developed by the FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Technical Services Team in coordination with the Office of Human and Natural Environment. You can access the training at this link: https://fhwa.na3.acrobat.com/whatisconformity/. This training provides a general overview of the transportation conformity process and its major requirements. It 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. If you have any questions or comments, contact Karen Perritt at 202-366-9066 or Karen.Perritt@dot.gov.

FHWA Issues Final Clarification to the Qualitative Hot-spot Guidance for PM Areas. On June 12, FHWA released the final clarification to the "Transportation Conformity Guidance for Qualitative Hot-spot Analysis in PM2.5 and PM10 Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas." The clarification further explains how to implement the existing guidance and the hot-spot analysis requirements in the final rule. The clarification does not supersede the existing guidance and does not create any new requirements. The draft clarification was released on February 10 for review and comment before FHWA made the finalization. For more information and to access the final Clarification, please visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/air_quality/conformity/policy_and_guidance/hotspot.cfm .

EPA Releases Proposed Updates to PM10 and PM2.5 Transportation Conformity Requirements. On May 15, the EPA released proposed amendments to the Conformity Rule, primarily addressing requirements for PM2.5 and PM10 areas. The proposal focuses on meeting conformity requirements in light of the strengthening of the PM2.5 daily standard (2006 PM2.5 standard) and the revocation of the PM10 annual standard. It addresses which tests shall be used to determine regional conformity in 2006 PM2.5 areas, including emission budget tests and interim emissions tests. EPA is taking comment on the selection of a baseline year for the 2006 PM2.5 standard. The proposed rule also addresses clarifications to the Conformity Rule as part of a response to a 2007 Court Decision concerning how hot-spot analyses address specific Clean Air Act requirements. The comment period ended on June 29, 2009. The proposal can be found at: http://epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/conf-regs.htm.

EPA Proposes to Update Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) NAAQS. On June 26, 2009, EPA proposed to revise the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) NAAQS that was first set in 1971. EPA's proposed revisions apply to the primary NO2 standard and would:

EPA will accept public comments for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold two public hearings in August 2009: one in Los Angeles and one in the Washington, D.C. area. EPA will provide details on the public hearings in a separate notice issued later this summer. EPA must issue a final decision on the NO2 standard by Jan. 22, 2010. Details about the proposal: http://www.epa.gov/air/nitrogenoxides

Health Effects Institute Releases Report on Health Effects and Exposure to Traffic. On May 3, the Health Effects Institute (HEI) released Special Report #17, titled Traffic-Related Air Pollution: A Critical Review of the Literature on Emissions, Exposure, and Health Effects. A Special Panel convened and reviewed over 400 studies of exposure to and health effects of traffic-related pollution. In conclusion, authors report that the evidence was sufficient to infer a causal relationship between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and exacerbation of asthma. The Panel also noted the incomplete nature of the available epidemiologic and toxicologic evidence and suggested areas for future research and improvement. The Report is available for download here: http://pubs.healtheffects.org/view.php?id=306

EPA Announces Changes in Process for Reviewing NAAQS. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced the reinstatement of the EPA "staff paper" as a key policy document that includes options for the EPA administrator to consider when setting air quality standards. The previous administration replaced the staff paper with an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that outlines key policy options in the Federal Register. Administrator Jackson also reaffirmed the role of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) to help the agency make scientifically sound decisions. The CASAC is an independent advisory committee to EPA established under the Clean Air Act. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/review.html.

Karen Perritt Joins Office of Natural and Human Environment. On May 10, Karen Perritt joined HEPN's Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Team. Karen had been with the FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Technical Services Team for the past five years and has been involved in a wide variety air quality related projects and activities. Karen has been instrumental in designing and conducting air quality related training, including the very popular "What is Transportation Conformity?" webinar. Karen also has air quality and environmental experience working at the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the MPO for the Baltimore, MD region, and in consulting.

Reminders

Draft MOVES Model Released by EPA. In April, EPA released the Draft MOVES2009 model which is a major update to EPA’s mobile source emission rate models. The Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator, (MOVES), model and supporting documentation are available at: www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/index.htm. The draft MOVES model is not approved for use in SIP submissions, for making conformity determinations, orfor PM2.5 or PM10 hot-spot analyses or to be used as part of NEPA analysis requirements. See the EPA website above for questions and answers on MOVES and to make comments on the draft MOVES model.

FHWA Continues to Update Questions and Answers on Implementing The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. FHWA has updated a number of questions and answers for the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These questions were developed to assist all State and local agencies to implement the ARRA. For more information, visit: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/economicrecovery/qandas.htm.

Upcoming Events and Conferences

Transportation Planning, Land Use and Air Quality Conference. The focus of the 2009 TRB Transportation and Air Quality Committee Summer Conference on Transportation Planning, Land Use and Air Quality will be Global Climate Change. The conference will explore the latest research in the coordination of transportation, land use and air quality with a specific focus on climate change strategies. The conference will be held in Denver, CO July 28 and 29, 2009. For more information, see: http://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/tpluaq/home.html.

Southern Transportation and Air Quality Summit (STAQS) 2009, will be held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Jacksonville, FL, August 25 -27, 2009. Fore more information including registration, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/staqs or contact Mike Roberts at Michael.Roberts@dot.gov

Training Opportunities

EPA and FHWA Offer MOVES Training. To assist potential users of Draft MOVES2009, EPA and FHWA are scheduling a series of MOVES training sessions at locations around the country. The training will include overview information on MOVES and hands-on work with the draft model. Most sessions will take a day and a half, although some venues will compress the training into a single day. Upcoming training sessions with contact information can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/training.htm#2.

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.

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: 04/04/2014
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