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ENVIRONMENT TEAM


THE ENVIRONMENTAL QUARTERLY

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The Environmental Quarterly
Volume 5, Issue 1
Winter 2009

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Dear Environmental Colleague,

I am very pleased to greet you as the new Editor in Chief for Environmental Quarterly (EQ). I stepped into my new post as Team Manager of the Environment Team in late December. For those of you who do not know me, I have worked for FHWA for over 20 years in a variety of offices, including the FHWA Resource Center. Most recently, I was the Project Development Team Manager for the FHWA Office of Planning, Environment and Realty.

As Editor in Chief of EQ, I promise to continue bringing you the same tradition of quality articles and valuable information that Don Cote started when he initiated the EQ in 2005.

As always, if you have comments about a story or story ideas, please let us know.

Sincerely, Lamar Smith
Environment Technical Service Team (TST) Leader &
Editor–in-Chief
Phone: (720) 963-3210
E-mail: lamar.smith@dot.gov

INSIDE
• TRB: Transportation & Climate Change Spotlight
• An Interview with Raja Veeramachaneni
• TxDOT Environmental Coordinators Conference
• Stumbling Upon a NEPA Shrine
• Environmental Calendar

Transportation, Energy and Climate Change Highlighted at 2009 TRB Annual Meeting
By Erica Interrante, FHWA Office of Planning, Environment & Realty

“Transportation, Energy and Climate Change” is the spotlight theme for the Transportation Research Board’s 88th Annual Meeting, which will take place in Washington, D.C., January 11-15, 2009. Nearly 70 sessions and workshops have been arranged around this timely topic, many of which were led by nationally and internationally-recognized experts in the fields of climate change and energy.

The Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy has played an important role in planning and coordinating sessions for this year’s conference, as well as two introductory Sunday workshops on this topic, entitled Climate 101: The Basics of Climate Change and Climate Change and Transportation 101.

In addition to TRB Annual Meeting activities, the Special Task Force (STF) has, over the past year, prepared a strategic roadmap for guiding the agency in its research and outreach activities on this topic, some of which include the following: a webinar series, an upcoming TRNews theme issue, an international conference, peer exchanges, toolkits for calculating carbon footprints, modal white papers on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) mitigation issues and preparation of TRB Research Needs Statements. The STF also hopes to provide information for the virtual DOT Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting website.

Created in January of 2008 at the request of both the TRB’s Executive Committee and Technical Activities Council (TAC), the STF makes recommendations to both of these groups on issues relating climate change, energy and transportation, in addition to facilitating communication and coordination among other TRB committees on these topics. Currently, the task force’s membership is comprised of members from approximately 15 TRB Standing Committees, supplemented by experts from agencies outside of TRB who are able to adequately address the issues of energy and global climate change.

Important links:
Current STF committee member list.
Information about the TRB Annual Meeting

Sidebar:
TRB STF on Climate Change and Energy 2009 Sponsored Sessions:

o Effectiveness of “Hard Side” and “Soft Side” Approaches to Climate Change Mitigation
o Climate Change Adaptation: Are we Already There?
o Petroleum Supply, Demand and Prices: What is in Store for the Future?
o U.S. Transportation System Scenarios out to 2050 in a World Addressing Climate Change
o What Climate Change and Energy Strategies are States and MPOs (Metropolitan Planning Organizations) Implementing?
o Climate Change Impacts in the U.S.
o Linking Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Climate Change Policy

Sidebar:
What is a TRB Standing Committee?

The Standing Committees should not be confused with other TRB committees and panels that are formed through TRB’s Policy Studies Division (B), Cooperative Programs Division (D), or the SHRP II program. These committees are most often formed by invitation only to develop scopes of work for transportation studies and/or prepare reports for outside agencies and oftentimes the U.S. Congress on current transportation policy issues.

A TRB Standing Committee is a group that is created and managed through the Technical Activities Division (A), to do the following:

• Bring together communities of interest
• Identify research needs
• Review study papers for the Annual Meeting
• Sponsor sessions, conferences and meetings
• Generate papers and reports
• Share information on ongoing and recently completed research

Currently, there are nearly 200 standing committees which cover all modes of transportation research that are a part of TRB’s Technical Activities Division. They often serve as an entry point into the TRB community of academicians and practitioners. The committees are limited to 25 members, including the Chair. There are 3 categories of members who are not counted against the 25-member limit, which include the following: 1) Two younger members (35 years or younger), 2) Five international members and 3) an unlimited number of emeritus members, are acceptable.

Information about TRB committees

Sidebar:
TRB Standing Committees with Strong Interests in the Topics of Climate Change and Energy:
o Transportation Issues in Major U.S. Cities
o Critical Transportation Infrastructure Protection
o Transportation for Developing Countries
o Statewide Transportation Planning
o Metropolitan Policy, Planning, and Processes
o Transportation and Air Quality
o Transportation Energy and Alternative Fuels
o Alternative Fuels
o Transportation and Land Development
o Sustainable Transportation
o Design & Construction Group
o Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations
o Environmental Issues in Transportation Law
o Public Transportation Planning and Development
o Guided Intercity Passenger Transportation
o Surface Transportation Weather
o Agricultural Transportation
o Environmental Impacts of Aviation
o Marine Environment
o Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations

Sidebar:
New Transportation and Climate Change Website

The new Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse (TCCC) website was unveiled at the TRB annual meeting held January 11-15, 2009.

The TCCC provides the transportation community with information and resource links related to:
• Greenhouse gas inventories and forecasts
• Methods and tools for analyzing transportation greenhouse gas impacts
• Strategies for reducing transportation-related greenhouse gases
• Potential impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure
• Approaches for integrating climate change considerations into transportation decision-making

The website also contains examples of State/local actions and policies, a calendar of events, and interactive forum for transportation and environmental professionals to share information about the linkages between transportation and climate change.

The TCCC was funded jointly through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting.

Organizational Changes in HEP

Associate Administrator Gloria Shepherd, recently announced changes to some HEP (FHWA Office of Planning Environment and Realty) offices and staff, most notably the creation of the Sustainable Transport and Climate Change Team (HEPN-40). This new team resides within the Office of Natural & Human Environment (HEPN) and is composed of HEP staff from several disciplines including air quality, planning, project development and environmental review, and ecology. The Team Manager position is currently vacant. In addition, air quality and conformity have been consolidated into the Air Quality and Transportation Conformity Team (HEPN-10) under the direction of Team Manager Cecilia Ho. Also, the former Water & Ecosystem Team has been renamed the Project Mitigation Team (HEPE-30) and moved from HEPN to the Office of Project Development and Environmental Review (HEPE). Carol Adkins remains the Team Manager of this group. These organizational changes support FHWA’s climate change goals as well as advance the environmental stewardship role of FHWA within the project development process.

An Interview with Raja Veeramachaneni
By Benita Smith, FHWA Office of Project Development & Environmental Review

Photo of Mr. Raja Veeramachaneni
Caption: Photo of Mr. Raja Veeramachaneni

On October 1, 2008, Mr. Raja Veeramachaneni joined the Federal Highway Administration family as the new Office Director for the Office of Project Development and Environmental Review. He was previously the Director, Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering at the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA). Raja has over 20 years of experience at the State level in environmental, planning, engineering and asset management programs.

Raja studied civil engineering in India (Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, and J.N. Technological University) and at Clemson University, with specialization in hydraulics, water resources and coastal engineering. He is a registered professional engineer.

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Raja for an interview and he shared the following with me:

Raja, could you talk a little bit about yourself? You used to commute into Baltimore, MD to work. What is your commute like now?

My commute is drastically different. At my previous job it only took me less then 30 minutes to get to work, but now it takes me one to two hours. I was prepared though because I was on the road a lot doing statewide work.

Do you have to take more than one mode of transportation to work?

I do, I drive to a lot, take a commuter train, and then to the metro. I have no choice but to leave work by 4:30 pm to get to the commuter train in the afternoons. This is very new for me as I have always been able to stay at work very late, which I love to do.

You are now in the heart of a new and thriving area in Washington, DC. The National’s Stadium and new real estate properties being built every day. Do you like the busyness of the area? What about the hustle and bustle of the area the metro, the cabs, and the new construction?

Being in a busy area is not new for me; it is just like downtown Baltimore, where I used to work.

Do you have any personal hobbies?

I am a workaholic. I also like reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I now prefer audio books as I commute. I enjoy cooking and watching the History channel.

Do you have an inspirational quote that you would like to share?

I live by this quote shared with me by a mentor
“You don’t finish if you don’t get started”.

What has been the most exciting new experience on the job for you?

It is very exciting to me to be involved in national issues. I came to FHWA as a new U.S. President was being elected. I am looking forward to working with the new Administration in meeting the citizens’ needs.

What do you enjoy the most about the Federal government?

It has only been a short period of time, but I like engaging in issues at a national level. The opportunity to bring my experience at the State level to the Federal government and assist the entire country is exciting.

Raja, you have many years of State level experience, what would you say has been your biggest challenge in adjusting to the Federal government?

Since I work at FHWA headquarters, the hardest thing would be not to have much direct contact with the citizens. I was accustomed to having direct customer interface and was able to put products directly in the hands of the customers. Now I have to help others serve our citizens.

What do you miss the most about the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA)?

Mostly I miss the people there, as they were like family to me. We established very strong relationships at SHA. Everyone cared about the organization, the people, and serving the citizens.

Raja, you previously supervised a staff of 180 employees and now you have 22, has the smaller number been an easy adjustment for you?

Although some adjustment is needed on my part, it is not a new situation for me. I have had smaller staffs in the past. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the committed and very talented staff at HEPE.

Do you foresee any challenges ahead for the transportation and environmental community?

Yes, definitely. A new transportation law will be enacted soon. The focus will be on addressing climate change issues, in addition to an increased concern for environmental protection. These issues, coupled with an uncertain financial situation, will pose a serious challenge to the transportation industry. We will need to responsibly balance our transportation needs with the environment and the economy.

2008 Data Call for the National Highway Archeology Program
By Owen Lindauer, FHWA Office of Project Development & Environmental Reviews

It is time, once again, for the gathering of information about the archeology programs at State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs) so that FHWA may report this information to the National Park Service (NPS). Starting in 1968 the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation of the National Park Service initiated annual reports on the Federal Archeology program. In 1974 with the passage of the Archeological and Historic Preservation Act, the Secretary of the Interior was directed to prepare an annual report to Congress at the end of each fiscal year indicating the scope and effectiveness of the archeology program, specific projects surveyed and results produced, and costs to the government incurred. FHWA provided information last year, for this ongoing report to Congress and the results indicate that highway archeology is one of the most active programs in the country.

Preparation of the Secretary’s Report to Congress (SRC), from is inception in 1974 to the present, is a responsibility delegated to the NPS’s Departmental Consulting Archeologist. He is tasked to coordinate and provide technical assistance to all Federal agencies. In the early years, many agencies lacked professionally qualified archeological staff and relied heavily on the Department Consulting Archeologist. Today, most Federal agencies have a qualified archeologist on staff who oversees their archeology program. FHWA has two archeologists who provide technical assistance: Stephanie Stoermer is the archeologist at FHWA’s Resource Center and Owen Lindauer, a Registered Professional Archeologist, resides in FHWA headquarters. Owen oversees the collection of information from FHWA for the SRC.

The report takes in archeological activities by all Federal agencies and is based on a questionnaire. The questions have remained constant over the years, which allows for comparisons among agencies and through time. Many questions do not apply to highway projects since the project occur on non-Federal lands. Therefore, FHWA has tailored the questions to provide information pertinent to FHWA’s program including ways: to maintain adequate oversight and coordinating NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), NHPA (National Historic Preservation Act) activities; to identify problems, accomplishments, and challenges of the program; to review State DOT efforts; and to consider trends, best management practices, and issues from a national perspective and make recommendations as appropriate

The 2007 data call reported responses from 34 states and Western Federal Lands. Owen Lindauer summarized some of the trends in that information at the 2008 FHWA Environmental Conference in a presentation titled “2007 Data Call for the National Highway Archeology Program.” This presentation is available on line.

One of the most interesting and useful approaches to the consideration of archeological resources was reported by Texas in their Texas Historic Overlay Information Management Program. TxDOT initiated and managed a contract for the compilation of more than 3,000 historic maps of Texas in electronic form. The maps cover more than 150 counties in east, central, north-central and south Texas. The maps derive from a number of separate library collections. They have been scanned, georeferenced, optimized for display in ESRI ArcGIS products and loaded into an ArcGIS geodatabase master catalog. These maps facilitate review of the potential impacts of TxDOT undertakings on historic archeological sites. For more information, visit FHWA’s web site under the section “Archeological Models.”

Information from the 2008 data call will be collated and reported to the NPS in February 2009. We look forward to including your results and accomplishments.

2008 Texas Department of Transportation Environmental Coordinators Conference
By Stephanie M. Stoermer, FHWA Resource Center

Photo of the Texas Department of Transportation Environmental Coordinators Conference brochure against a scenic background of a lake
Caption: Photo of the Texas Department of Transportation Environmental Coordinators Conference brochure against a scenic background of a lake.

Staying responsive to the critical environmental information needs of the transportation community, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Environmental Coordinators Conference (ECC) focuses on increasing the ability and efficiency of TxDOT staff to meet various challenges in the process of planning, building, and maintaining Texas’ transportation infrastructure as well as exchanging appropriate information with private sector partners. Initially conceived as a TxDOT-only event for agency staff with environmental responsibilities, representatives from other TxDOT divisions with project or facility concerns also attend the conference.

Over 700 participants attended this year’s ECC, held September 30 through October 3, 2008 in Austin, Texas. Organized by the TxDOT Environmental Affairs Division (ENV), the ECC has evolved during the past eleven years in the depth and breadth of its vision, presenting an expanded range of sessions and workshops devoted to transportation-related environmental concerns.

Because the primary goal of the conference is to provide a forum for transportation and environmental professionals to exchange and discuss information, the ECC has been expanded to include TxDOT’s private and public sector partners every other year. During these “open” conferences, exhibitors are present on the days of the main general sessions and breakout sessions. Registration and attendance for the conference is free, although participants are required to register.

Attendance at the ECC has risen steadily over the years—from less than 100 in 1997 to 738 in 2008. According to TxDOT, the core attendance of the ECC for any year is approximately 200 TxDOT staff and 15 to 30 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) staff. Private sector attendees—such as consulting firms that provide environmental services to TXDOT--far outnumber TxDOT staff in years when they are invited.
The ECC not only provides an excellent mechanism for TxDOT to share information related to agency policy and procedure, it also provides a way for environmental consultants to interface with representatives from the FHWA and TxDOT.

Conference attendees from the public sector include regulatory agencies such as Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD), Texas Historical Commission (THC), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Office of the Texas Attorney General, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Participants from the various Federal and State regulatory agencies are also actively engaged in panels and workshops, as well as delivering presentations on how to comply with their respective regulations. Other ECC participants include other State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs), staff from city and county governments throughout Texas, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Councils of Governments (COGs), tolling authorities, universities, and non-profit environmental organizations.

By drawing upon the collective technical expertise of speakers from TxDOT, FHWA, and regulatory agency partners (including the USACE and the USFWS), the 2008 ECC was able to offer a robust program on a variety of topics that transcended geographic boundaries. Topical areas included Section 4(f); indirect and cumulative impacts; environmental management systems (EMS); contracting for professional and scientific services; wetlands restoration; mitigation bank procedures and regulations; global warming and climate change; community impact assessment (CIA) techniques; conservation partnerships; and the SAFETEA-LU 6002 EIS process. Conference organizers proactively offered repeat sessions for topics that were likely to be in high demand, such as indirect and cumulative impacts.

By building on current knowledge while acknowledging the immediate and long-term challenges that the transportation community is likely to face, the ECC helps participants identify innovative approaches to environmental issues by sharing “best practices,” new technologies, and timely information. Interdisciplinary conferences like the ECC not only strengthen communication and foster networking among practitioners, they help renew or initiate dialogues that can benefit both internal and external stakeholders in the future.

Information about the TxDOT Environmental Affairs Division

Transportation Research Board Noise and Vibration Summer Meeting Coming to Vibrant Dayton, Ohio
By Mary Ann Rondinella, FHWA Resource Center

Historic Dayton, Ohio will host the 2009 Transportation Research Board (TRB) ADC 40 Noise and Vibration summer meeting on July 26-29, 2009. The Dayton area was home to the Wright Brothers and played a crucial role in the development of the American aviation and auto industry. The Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dayton will be the host hotel. The hotel features complimentary airport shuttle service, free parking, a business center, and free WI-FI Internet access. The hotel is approximately 20 minutes from Dayton International Airport, with convenient service by major airlines. It is also located within an easy drive of Columbus and Cincinnati on Interstate highways.

The summer meeting provides the perfect opportunity for new and experienced noise and vibration specialists to obtain the most up-to-date information. The meeting will feature presentations and workshops on a wide variety of transportation-related noise and vibration issues. U.S. DOT and FHWA speakers will lead discussions on the revised FHWA noise regulations and the new version of the FHWA Traffic Noise Model (TNM) 3.0.

Evening activities will include a barbeque supper at a Dayton Dragons’ baseball game. The Dragons, the farm club for the Cincinnati Reds, hold the professional baseball record for consecutive sold out home games.

For guests and family members, Dayton offers a wide array of attractions and activities. The Dayton Art Institute is recognized as one the nation’s finest art museums. Visitors will find unique shops and numerous fine restaurants in the nearby historic Oregon District. Other attractions include the International Peace Museum, public market, botanic gardens, a historic farmstead, a Native American archeological park, and aviation museums. Many cycling and hiking trails are available for outdoor enthusiasts.

Information about the summer meeting and Dayton, Ohio can be found at the ADC 40 website.

See you in Dayton!

National Trails System Celebrates 40th anniversary
By Christopher Douwes, FHWA Office of Planning, Environment & Realty

Logo for the National Trails System’s (NTS) 40th anniversary with the slogan ‘Celebrating 40 Years of Progress

Caption: Logo for the National Trails System’s (NTS) 40th anniversary with the slogan ‘Celebrating 40 Years of Progress’

October 2, 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. This Act opened the door to Federal involvement in trails of all types, from city centers to remote backcountry. Virtually every trail in the country has benefited from the Act and many trail initiatives over the last 40 years can find their roots in it. In looking to the future, a 10-year initiative called the “Decade for the National Trails” has been launched to bring attention to and gain support for completing and enhancing the entire National Trails System.

The major components of the National Trails System are the National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails, and National Recreation Trails. The National Scenic and Historic Trails are designated by the Congress, and provide opportunities to walk long distances through the grand landscapes of America and to trace the routes of exploration, commerce, migration, removal of Native peoples, and the struggle for civil rights that have defined major strands of America’s cultural heritage. Many of the National Historic Trails were the primary transportation routes used by Native peoples and Euro-American immigrants of the past and are critical links in the transportation system today.

National Recreation Trails (NRTs) are designated by the Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Agriculture. Every kind of trail activity is represented in this recognition program. Besides hiking and bicycling, the NRT system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths.
These trails connect our communities. Trails are a great way to get us out of our cars and link our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. Creating systems of greenways and trails helps to make our communities more livable and to bring families and friends closer together. Trails help children develop lifelong habits of good health and promote stewardship of the land. Trails are a source of renewal and spiritual value for people across America.

Many of these trails benefit from FHWA funding programs, especially the Transportation Enhancement Activities, Recreational Trails Program, and Federal Lands Highway Program. According to Steve Elkinton, Program Leader, National Trails System Program for the National Park Service, “the Transportation Enhancements program has been the largest single source of funds available for trail projects anywhere in the world." Many sections of the National Scenic and Historic Trails are coextensive with or closely related to America's Byways designated under the National Scenic Byways Program.

Although steady progress has been made to transform these trails from lines on maps to places in the landscape for people to learn from and enjoy, at the current pace it will be decades before most of them will be fully available for public use. To fully realize the promise of the National Trails System for public benefit, the Partnership for the National Trails System, American Trails, the American Hiking Society, and other nonprofit organizations are supporting a "Decade for the National Trails" leading to the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System in 2018. Their goals include:

• Raising public awareness of the National Trails System so that it becomes well known to every person and community in the United States.
• Completing and enhance the designated National Scenic and Historic Trails for public appreciation and enjoyment.
• Building the capacity of Federal, State, and local agencies to better manage and sustain National Scenic, Historic, and Recreation Trails, as well as rail trails.
• Enhancing the capacity of nonprofit organizations to be able to continue to recruit, train, and supervise ever more volunteer stewards of the National Trails forming a nationwide network of community-based natural and cultural resource stewardship.

For more information on the National Trails System and its 40-Year Anniversary, see:

National Trails System: Explains the National Trails System, hosts the National Trail System map and guide, and links to partner organizations.
Partnership for the National Trails System: Represents nonprofit organizations advocating for National Scenic Trails and National Historic Trails.
American Trails: Links to an extensive resource library, trail training, and much more.
National Recreation Trails: Find trails in every State, view photos, and learn more about the NRT program.
American Hiking Society, National Trails Day

This article was based on an article by Pam Gluck, Executive Director of American Trails, posted at the American Trails web site and input from Stuart Macdonald (American Trails), Gary Werner (Partnership for the National Trails System), and Steve Elkinton (National Park Service). Edited by Christopher Douwes, FHWA Trails and Enhancements Program Manager.

Stumbling Upon a NEPA “Shrine”
By Mary Ann Rondinella, FHWA Resource Center
The exterior of the Ariel Rios Building (General Services Administration photo)

Caption: The exterior of the Ariel Rios Building (General Services Administration photo).

It’s a place well-known to all NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) practitioners, referred to in tones of awe and deference: the EIS Filing Room at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters. Like most demanding deities, it requires timely offerings. In this case, the offerings are environmental impact statements (EIS), so that the EPA Notices of Availability “Powers That Be” can issue proclamations that one’s EIS, like a sacrificial lamb, is fit and ready for public consumption.

For years, I wondered what this hallowed place might be like. Well, in October, through pure dumb luck (with an emphasis on dumb), I stumbled upon this holiest of holies. I had the opportunity to attend an EPA train-the-trainer collaboration workshop at the historic Ariel Rios Building in Washington, DC. Completed in 1934, the building is a neo-classical revival marvel, built to house the Department of the Post Office. Say what you will about the Great Depression, but architects had a sense of style back then. With murals on every floor, double rotundas, the Ariel Rios Building is everything we imagine a Federal building should be. And it’s actually two buildings, showing that one could get a good deal during the New Deal. In fact, there’s a north and a south building. That’s what led to my accidental discovery.

On Day 2 of the workshop, we were led up a mysterious maze of stairways to a breakout room. During lunch, after plodding through the halls with a couple of boiled eggs and a carton of yogurt, I quickly realized I was hopelessly lost. I couldn’t quite retrace my steps. (Next time, I’ll remember to bring some neoclassical Ariadne’s thread, or at least some bread crumbs.) I turned down a hallway past a wonderful mural of mail being delivered to a quaint American outpost, when I spotted a small sign, saying “EIS Filing Room.” I was astonished. Could it be so accessible to the lost and wandering?

Not trusting my luck to be any dumber, I deferred my visit until the next day, after the workshop was over. I tentatively walked down the same hallway, and found another sign, just outside a doorway that said, “EIS Filing Room.” It looked suspiciously unprepossessing from the outside. I wondered if that was a deliberate ploy to confuse the unworthy. Nevertheless, I took a deep breath, and, like Dorothy about to meet the Wizard, nervously stepped in.

It was so…ordinary. There were standard, government-issue bookcases loaded with EISs. A drab laminate countertop stood at one end of the room, for supplicants to drop off the fruit of so much environmental labor. Buried behind the bookcases, I spotted a desk where a clerk labored mightily. I dared not disturb her, for fear some critical national defense EIS would end up misfiled under Manure Management.

I have to admit, it was not what I expected. I am not sure what I expected. Perhaps a marble altar, incense wafting through the air, sonorous chants, elegant guardians of NEPA armed with date-stamps? My Indy Jones-Lara Croft sense of wonder was, well, not appeased.

Several weeks later, I told an EPA employee, who shall only be known as Libby, because that’s her name, about my experience. She summarized it well. “Well, yes, it is just a frumpy little room.” NOW they tell us.


What’s Going On?

January 2009
January 22-24
8th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
Albuquerque, NM
http://www.newpartners.org/about.html

March 2009
March 8
Daylight Saving Time begins

April 2009
April 7-8
Innovations Conference on Asphalt & Transportation
East Peoria, IL
http://icat.bradley.edu/program/

April 25-29
American Planning Association National Conference
Minneapolis, MN
http://myapa.planning.org/nationalconference/

July 2009
July 13-17
ADC 10 Environmental Analysis in Transportation Summer Meeting
Shepherdstown, WV
http://www.itre.ncsu.edu/ADC10/Conferences.htm

July 26-26
TRB ADC 40, Noise & Vibration Summer Meeting
Dayton, OH
www.adc40.org

September 2009
September 13-17
Int’l Conference on Ecology & Transportation
Duluth, MN
www.icoet.net

For additional conferences and events, see www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/calendar.htm.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Federal Highway Administration
Resource Center

Editor-in-Chief
Lamar Smith, Environment Technical Service Team Manager
Phone: (720) 963-3210/Fax: (720) 963-3041
E-mail: lamar.smith@dot.gov

Editorial Board Members:

Bethaney Bacher-Gresock, Environmental Protection Specialist
Phone: (202) 366-4196/ Fax: (202) 366-7660
E-mail: bethaney.bacher-gresock@dot.gov

Brian Smith, Biology/Water Quality Specialist
Phone: (708) 283-3553/Fax: (708) 283-3501
E-mail: brian.smith@dot.gov

Stephanie Stoermer, Environmental Program Specialist/Archeologist
Phone: (720) 963-3218/Fax: (720) 963-3232
E-mail: stephanie.stoermer@dot.gov

Deborah Suciu-Smith, Environmental Program Specialist
Phone: (717) 221-3785/Fax: (717) 221-3494
deborah.suciu.smith@dot.gov

Managing Editor
Marie Roybal, Marketing Specialist
Phone: (720) 963-3241/Fax: (720) 963-3232
E-mail: marie.roybal@dot.gov

Production Schedule:
Due to our Quarterly publication schedule, all article submissions for future issues are due to the Editor-In-Chief by the 10th of March, June, September, and/or December

Getting the news:
*If you would like to receive this newsletter electronically, please send your email address to: marie.roybal@dot.gov

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