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Highways and Climate Change Newsletter

April 2009

Prepared by the Office of Planning, Environment and Realty Federal Highway Administration

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Recent Events

FHWA Launches New Climate Change Website. FHWA has created a new website to provide information on FHWA research, publications, and resources related to climate change science, policies, and actions. It's also the online home for this Newsletter. Check out our new site at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/climate_change/.

Secretary LaHood Testifies on Climate Change Legislation. On April 22, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The Secretary committed to work with Congress to ensure that the climate bill "is fully integrated with federal transportation programs and works in concert with" DOT's other statutory duties. Secretary LaHood's testimony is available here.

EPA Proposes Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases. In the April 24 Federal Register, EPA proposes to find that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. EPA was required to undertake an analysis and prepare a finding of whether greenhouse gases may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision on motor vehicle emissions standards (Massachusetts v. EPA). The administrator is proposing to make the finding in regards to six greenhouse gases, including four that are emitted from new motor vehicles: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons. EPA is accepting comments on the proposal through June 23. For more information, see the Federal Register notice.

EPA Proposes First National Reporting on Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In the April 10 Federal Register, EPA published a proposal for its first comprehensive national system for reporting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by major U.S. sources. The proposal would require greenhouse gas reporting by fossil fuel suppliers and engine and vehicle manufacturers, among others. The first annual report would be submitted to EPA in 2011 for the calendar year 2010, except for vehicle and engine manufacturers, which would begin reporting for model year 2011. The public comment period is open until June 9. For more information, see EPA's website for the proposed rule.

Center for Clean Air Policy Releases "A Pragmatic Approach to Regulating Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Center for Clean Air Policy released a report in March discussing authorities under the CAA to potentially regulate CO2 emissions. The report discusses the "fit" of incorporating greenhouse gas emissions into CAA mobile source programs including vehicle emissions standards, motor vehicle fuel regulations, and transportation conformity. For more information, the brief report can be found on CCAP's website.

Conference Proceedings Released on Integrating U.S. Climate, Energy, and Transportation Policy. The RAND Corporation has released proceedings from three workshops that they convened in June 2008. The transportation workshop included discussion on transportation's contribution to climate change, market-based approaches in transportation, land use changes to reduce vehicle miles traveled, fuel and vehicle technologies, and reducing emissions in the freight sector. The proceedings are available here.

Asset Management and Adaptation to Climate Change Webinar Presentations Available. FHWA and the AASHTO Subcommittee on Asset management hosted this webinar on April 23. Presentations included information on climate change science, adapting to climate change by designing flexibility into the U.S. transportation system, results from recent FHWA-sponsored peer exchanges, and Alaska's experiences with adapting to climate change. The presentation slides, including some eye opening pictures from Alaska, are available here.

State News

California Adopts Low Carbon Fuel Standard. On April 23, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted a regulation to implement Gov. Schwarzenegger's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The regulation calls for a 10 percent reduction in GHG emissions from transportation fuels by 2020. For additional information, see ARB's news release.

Michigan Climate Action Council Releases Final Plan. The Michigan Climate Action Council (MCAC) released its Climate Action Plan in March. MCAC recommends 10 policies in the transportation and land use sectors that could lead to emissions reductions of 95.1 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent from 2009 to 2025. They found that several of the strategies would have a net cost savings, resulting in an overall net benefit estimate of $36/ton if all 10 policies were implemented. The report notes that in addition to emissions reductions and cost savings, the policy package also leads to co-benefits such as more livable communities and increased transportation choices. For more information and a link to the plan, see the Michigan Climate Action Council website.

Announcements

Southern Transportation and Air Quality Summit, August 25-27. The biennial STAQS conference sponsored by FHWA and EPA Regions 3, 4, and 6, will be held in Jacksonville, Florida this year. The purpose of the summit is to bring together stakeholders from both the transportation and air quality communities to discuss the current and coming regulatory environment, technologies, and current practices vital to the fields of air quality and transportation. To register and for more information, visit the STAQS website.

Reminders

DOE Funding Available for Transportation Projects that Conserve Energy. The America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $3.2 billion for The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. Transportation strategies are eligible for funding. Applications for the funding must come from states, Indian tribes, or local governments. Grant application deadlines are May 26 for states and June 25 for local governments and tribes. For more information see DOE's EECBG Homepage, or contact Diane Turchetta at 202-493-0158 or Diane.Turchetta@dot.gov.

2009 Transportation, Planning, Land Use and Air Quality Conference to focus on Climate Change. The conference, sponsored by the Transportation Research Board, FHWA, and others, 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, visit the conference website.

Transportation Research Board Starts a New Climate Change website. Transportation Research Board (TRB) has a new website offering information on TRB activities and products addressing transportation and climate change. To access the site, go to: http://tris.trb.org/climatechange/.

If you have any suggestions for inclusion in future issues of Transportation and Climate Change News, or if someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you would like to receive it directly in the future, please send your suggestions or request to Becky Lupes at Rebecca.Lupes@dot.gov.

FHWA HQ Contacts:

Office of Planning, Environment & Realty

Office of Natural and Human Environment, Sustainable Transport & Climate Change Team

David Carlson, David.Carlson@dot.gov.
John Davies, JohnG.Davies@dot.gov.
Connie Hill Galloway, Connie.Hill@dot.gov.
Robert Kafalenos, Robert.Kafalenos@dot.gov.
Rebecca Lupes, Rebecca.Lupes@dot.gov.
Diane Turchetta, Diane.Turchetta@dot.gov.

Office of Planning, Rob Ritter, Robert.Ritter@dot.gov

Office of Project Development & Environmental Review, Shari Schaftlein,Shari.Schaftlein@dot.gov

Updated: 05/28/2014
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