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Vacancy Announcement. FHWA's Office of Nat ural and Human Environment is seeking an Environmental Protection Specialist (GS13/14) to join the Transportation Conformity Team. The position is located in the Agency's Washington DC Headquarters office. The position will serve as the national expert to develop, review, and implement complex legislative proposals, regulations, standards, policies, and operating guidance related to transportation conformity and other air quality/transportation issues. The position will be closed on December 18, 2007.
EPA Requests Comments on Information Collection Request.On November 16 the EPA posted a notice in the Federal Register on updating its Information Collection Request with the Office of Management and Budget. This document estimates the burden associated with implementing the transportation conformity rule and will expire on December 31, 2007. The initial request was posted on July 19, 2007 and EPA received no comments. For more information go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2007-11-21/html/E7-22756.htm.
Court Rejects Environmental Challenges: Intercounty Connector Project to Proceed. On November 8, 2007, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Maryland ruled in support of the environmental decisions made in the Intercounty Connector (ICC) case, finding no legal or equitable basis to prevent the construction of the ICC from moving forward. The ICC is an approximately 18 mile highway connecting I-270 in Gaithersburg, Maryland with western Prince George's County. The case challenged the adequacy of the Record of Decision (ROD) authorizing the ICC under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 109 of the Federal Aid Highways Act (FAHA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Air Act (CAA) and other statutes. On the CAA issues related to conformity, the Judge found the record to reasonably support the agency's qualitative decision that the ICC would conform with the CAA PM2.5 conformity requirements. The Court rejected all of plaintiffs' attempts to impose a requirement for project-level quantitative PM2.5 analysis at this time, finding that "reliable quantitative methods are not available." A copy of the Court decision is available.
EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) sign "First in the Nation" Agreement with Corpus Christi.On November 6, 2007 the Corpus Christy Air Quality Committee announced that the U.S. EPA and the TCEQ have approved a new air quality plan. This is the first 8-03FLEX Agreement in the nation. This program will provide a way to maintain healthy air quality by reducing air emissions through voluntary measures. The agreement consists of numerous specific voluntary activities and programs unique to Corpus Christi that will take place over the next five years. For more information, contact: Gretchen.Arnold@tamucc.edu.
Draft Report Available: Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study.On October 25, 2007 the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) announced the availability of this draft report for review and comment. This report identifies the potential effects of climate variability and change on transportation infrastructure and systems in the central U.S. Gulf Coast. The purpose of this study is to develop knowledge and tools that will assist transportation decision makers in incorporating climate information into transportation system planning, design, engineering, and operational decisions. The report was sponsored by the U.S. DOT in patnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, and was conducted under the auspices of the CCSP. It is posted at: www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap4-7/public-review-draft/default.htm. Comments must be received by December 10.
EPA Issues Memo to Regions on Credits for VOC and NOx Reductions from outside nonattainment areas in RFP/ROP SIPs. On October 11, EPA issued a memo to its regional offices concerning the issue of areas including credits for VOC and NOx reductions In Rate of Progress (ROP)/ Reasonable Further Progress (RFP) SIPs if the reductions come from outside of their nonattainment area. The memo instructed the regions to not approve or find adequate motor vehicle emissions budgets in SIPs that include the subject credits. For more information, contact: Meg.Patulski@epa.gov or Rudy.Kapichak@epa.gov.
FHWA Releases Strategic Plan for PM Research. The Strategic Plan for Particulate Matter Research (Strategic Plan) identifies priority particulate matter (PM) research issues for the transportation community for the years 2005 through 2010. It updates and expands on a previous Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) strategic plan for PM research covering the 2000 through 2004 time period (Carr et al., 2002a). This Strategic Plan identifies areas of research that have the greatest potential to yield insights directly applicable to state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) charged with developing and implementing transportation plans, programs, and projects. To see the report, go to: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/air_quality/research/particulate_matter/strategic_plan_2005-2010/
NTI Introduction to Transportation Conformity Course.The Introduction to Transportation Conformity course will be taught in Atlanta, GA on January 8-10, 2008. A course is also being scheduled in Albany, NY early in 2008 with the date not yet determined. For information see: http://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=FP213.
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.
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