Tom Ewing’s Environmental Report

*  Here’s a topic pretty much overlooked: EPA’s “six month letters” to Governors – a June hammer-date by which the Administrator must respond to the Governors’ initial claims/recommendations for ozone status, i.e., that certain regions in their states are okay regarding the ozone standard (“in attainment”) or not okay (“non-attainment”) and the degree to which those non-attainment areas miss the mark.  Recall: EPA set a new, lower ozone standard in October, 2015.  In the old days (pre-November, 2016), the six-month letters set the stage for frequently fierce state-federal confrontations that could drag on for years.  These regs set the critical, but labyrinthine, operating framework impacting just about every major activity in an industrial economy.  So what happened to the six-month letters?   EPA extended the deadline for initial area designations, by one year.  The Agency wants a closer look at background levels, international transport and “exceptional events.”
*    The work of California’s Vehicle-Grid Integration Communications Protocol Working Group continues today with another meeting on development of the technical details for vehicle-to-grid communication protocols. The Working Group’s recommendations will be considered and incorporated into CA’s transportation electrification (TE) efforts.  On a related note, TE plans and strategies from the State’s smaller investor owned utilities (Liberty Utilities, Bear Valley Electric and PacifiCorp) are due this week.  Recall that TE plans from the major utilities were due last January.

*  The Surface Transportation Board (STB) will hold a formal “listening session” next month to advance its work on that agency’s regulatory reform.  In May, STB submitted its first status report. Now, the agency writes that “given the direct impact of the Board’s regulations upon its stakeholders, the (STB) believes that reviewing its regulations is best conducted with input from its stakeholders.”  STB has also established a docket for comments which are due by July 25.

Tom Ewing
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