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Transportation Conformity Highlights

September 2009

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

Announcements and Recent Events

EPA to Reconsider 2008 Ozone Standards. On September 16, EPA announced that it will thoroughly review the scientific studies and public comments that led to the establishment of the 2008 primary and secondary ozone standards at 0.075 ppm. EPA announced an ambitious schedule to review the scientific information and indicated the agency will propose any revisions by December 2009 with a final decision set for August 2010. During the review period EPA announced that it proposes to stay the 2008 standards for the purpose of designations of nonattainment and maintenance areas. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone.

EPA Conducts Outreach on PM2.5 and PM10 Hot-spot Modeling Guidance. EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) is holding outreach meetings with key conformity stakeholder groups on the development of guidance for the modeling of PM2.5 and PM10 hot-spots. EPA is committed to providing modeling guidance that would apply for the analysis of PM hot-spots as part of project-level conformity determinations, where required. Currently, areas are completing qualitative analyses in such cases. EPA expects to finalize this guidance in conjunction with the finalization of the MOVES model and an associated grace period. A draft of the quantitative guidance will be released for a 30-day public comment period before becoming final. For more information on the guidance, please contact Meg Patulski (EPA OTAQ) at patulski.meg@epa.gov.

DOT and EPA Propose Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards. On September 15, DOT and EPA proposed a rule establishing improved vehicle fuel economy standards and the first ever national greenhouse gas emission standard. The proposed program covers model years 2012 through 2016 light-duty vehicles. Model year 2016 light-duty vehicles would have to meet an estimated combined average emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile and the overall light-duty fleet would reach 35.5 miles per gallon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and EPA are providing a 60-day comment period. Three public hearings will be held on the proposed rule in October. For more information, see: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm and http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/CAFE+-+Fuel+Economy/Model+Years+2012-2016:+Final+Rule.

EPA Publishes Final Rule on Phase 2 Implementation of the 1997 8-Hour Ozone Standard. On August 11, EPA published a final rule that clarifies how states take credit in Ozone Reasonable Further Progress (RFP) SIPs for areas that claim that they meet RFP requirements, in part, on emission reductions achieved outside of the designated nonattainment area. The final rule also provides information on inventory requirements for areas outside the designated nonattainment area but where emissions reductions are claimed to meet RFP requirements in nonattainment areas. The final rule results from a federal appeals court ruling in 2007 that vacated the previous EPA regulation and provides a new interpretation for implementing the 8-hour ozone standard set in 1997.The final rule is consistent with EPA's PM2.5 Implementation Rule (72FR 20636). Consequently if the state justifies consideration of precursor emissions for an area outside the nonattainment area, EPA will expect state RFP assessments to reflect emissions changes from all sources in this area. The final rule is effective on October 13, 2009 and can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov and reference No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0419.

Southern Air Quality Conference Addresses Cutting-Edge Issues. Nearly 120 transportation and air quality professionals from the southern region met on August 25-27, 2009, in Jacksonville, FL, for the fifth Southern Transportation and Air Quality Summit (STAQS). The conference brought together professionals to discuss the current and upcoming regulatory environment, new technologies and current practices vital to the transportation community. The focus for this year's Summit was transportation and climate change. Additional information about STAQS 2009 can be found at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/staqs.

TRB Transportation and Air Quality Committee Summer Meeting and Conference. The focus of the 2009 TRB Transportation and Air Quality Committee Summer Conference on Transportation Planning, Land Use and Air Quality was Global Climate Change. The conference was attended by about 80 people. The keynote speaker was Deborah Gordon, who made a presentation from her book, Two Billion Cars, which she co-authored with Dan Sperling. The range of presentations included local-level case studies, technical methodologies for estimating emissions, and mitigation measures among others. Information on the conference can be found at http://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/tpluaq/home.html.

Reminders

CO Protocols Added to FHWA's Examples of Transportation Conformity Practices Website. On July 21, 2009, FHWA's Examples of Transportation Conformity Practices website was updated to include examples of CO screening protocols. These protocols are used by project sponsors to determine whether hot spot modeling is required for projects in CO nonattainment and maintenance areas. In addition to the CO protocols, the website contains examples of PM2.5 and PM10 project level hot-spot analyses, state and local procedures for determining whether PM2.5 and PM10 hot-spot analyses are required for a project, and state and local on-road mobile source measures in State Implementation Plans (SIPs).

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.

National Transit Institute's Introduction to Transportation Conformity will be offered in Atlanta, Georgia on October 6-8, 2009. The course also will be held in Kansas City, Missouri on December 9-11, 2009. The course will also be held in Columbus, Ohio in spring 2010 with dates to be determined. This two and one-half day course provides basic information on conformity and updates on the conformity process. For more information, see: www.ntionline.com

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: 07/10/2014
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