Week of January 16, 2017
* Think of cities without trees: too depressing. Urban forests are critical. The Department of Agriculture works with cities via its National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, established by Congress in 1990. The Council meets 2-3 times/year. The next meeting is February 9, 10-5 EST, in Washington; you can participate via teleconference. Program topics include: the 2017 Work Plan; a presentation on innovation in timber building construction; and discussion on implementing the National ten year action plan (2016–2026).
* Two important technology initiatives advanced last week: the Department of Commerce released its draft Green Paper on how the federal government can best facilitate development of the Internet of Things (IoT). DoC’s work is based on a public meeting held last September. In an email staff wrote “We look forward to continuing the conversation… helping to enable the incoming administration to be well informed about this important technological development.” Nice. Comments due: 02/27. The second important publication was DOT’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications for new light vehicles and to standardize the message and format of V2V transmissions. Comments are due by April 12.
* We really don’t like you but we like your money. If you’re an oil/energy company that might be the message you take from a State Department grant titled “Workshops for Promoting Womens Full Participation in Community Consultations with Oil and Gas Companies.” Hmmmm… Text explains that this “is a new program via ENR aimed at increasing womens participation in community consultations with oil and gas companies so they can represent their own needs and advocate for their share of revenue, jobs, and other benefits; and join in community decision-making processes.” Just don’t mine, pump or extract any nasty carbon product, or try to sell it. Uh, now about the money…
Week of January 23, 2017
* DOT finalized rulings last week on national highway system (NHS) performance standards. How/whether CO2 would be included was a big question. The answer: CO2 measurements are now required as part of system performance, specifically the percent change in CO2 emissions from the reference year 2017, generated by on-road mobile sources on the NHS. All State DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations with NHS mileage in their State geographic boundaries and metropolitan planning areas, respectively, will be required to establish targets and report on progress. The FHWA will assess every 2 years to determine if a State DOT has made significant progress toward achieving their targets. (Uh… and if they haven’t…?)
* California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) released its Draft Freight Hub Survey for Truck Stops. The survey is the first in a series of six such surveys from ARB this year. It’s meant to gather specific facility and equipment information from California based truck stops. ARB staff wants comments on the information included in the survey. The data will help ARB understand activity at CA truck stops, assess the potential for emission reductions, inform potential strategies for reducing those emissions, and direct funding assistance efforts.
* Last week I noted DOT’s proposal to establish vehicle-to-vehicle communication standards. Now here’s a citizen who speaks clearly and forthrightly – no on-the-fence waffling: “Drop this Bill in the Gulf of Mexico…….It’s actually another way of controlling the people. I oppose this bill and any others like it.” Well, the mail clerk will know which stack to put that letter in!
Note: The delayed posting was due to the fact that Site-K Construction Zone was in Las Vegas covering the 2017 World of Concrete.