Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

* Git-‘r-done; well, someday, maybe. A Federal Highway Environmental Impact Statement notice caught my eye last week for an Interstate project in New Hampshire, for which FHWA plans a “Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS).” That’ll light a spark! After all, project planning started in 1985, just 31 years ago. A “notice of intent” was published in 1998. A draft EIS in 2007. A public hearing was held in 2007. “Project development was subsequently delayed for several years,” reads the notice. The Governor reactivated the project in 2015. This new EIS should be done in September 2017. Whaddya think: construction starts October 1, 2017…?

* DOT holds a workshop next week on application of high-power batteries in maritime transportation. The workshop will be used to enhance Agency and industry stakeholders’ understanding of the state of technology, potential design requirements for electric powered and hybrid electric vessels, and areas for future research, development and demonstration projects. The agenda will cover alternative energy technologies for propulsion and auxiliary systems, with a view toward greater efficiency, lower costs and reduced air emissions.

* California’s largest utilities release plans next month to start heavy duty transportation electrification (TE). The Public Utilities Commission then needs to approve or disapprove the plans. Last summer the PUC released a 45 page guidance for the utilities. Here’s a bit of an understatement: “The electric utilities will need to think outside of the box on how they can provide electricity to fuel vehicles, integrate and maximize the use of renewable energy, and accelerate the adoption of TE in order to achieve the multiple objectives outlined by SB 350, namely: reduce dependence on petroleum, meet air quality standards, lower GHG emissions, and achieve the goals set forth in the Charge Ahead California Initiative in the Health and Safety Code.” Think anybody’s staying late at the office, maybe working Christmas day *😀?

Tom Ewing