Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

Animal Farm

* Bats to Mince-Meat County: If you’re a bat living in Ford County, IL, you got your walking papers on Tuesday last week. And don’t think about flying over to nearby Logan County because your cousins there got a similar evict the next day – on Wednesday, imagine that! Don’t worry, you’ll find somewhere to go. But keep that nifty bat radar turned on so you fly over, under or around the new planet saving wind turbines. Don’t get it wrong! Oh, and the nice humans set aside some nice areas for you to move to that you’ll really like so check that out sooner, not later. See ya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya! 

Atlantic Ocean Rezoned – Heavy Industrial: Hey Right whales and dolphins and seals and everybody else out there: don’t be a Wrong whale! (yer killin’ me heah!) Get yer hard hats on cuz John and Gina Industrial Hydrologists got their papers from the Department of Commerce last week and they are moving, Baby; rockin’ in with an Incidental Take Permit to start their marine site characterization surveys off New Jersey and New York for Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, LLC. Really, just swim somewhere else, okay? It’s a big ocean. DOC has really really really studied all the numbers, promise. It’s just co-incidental if you get whacked Emoji! So take a break for a few weeks; tell the calves we’re swimmin’ over to Portugal or Iceland or some place. The bulldozers are next so keep your Right eye on the Federal Register.

* Building the Charge: You’ll recall that on November 29 FHWA and DOE filed a RFI regarding best ways to build out a national system of EV chargers. Even a casual review of comments is, uh, instructive. Greyhound, the intercity bus carrier, offers a perspective likely unawares to many. Greyhound, along with other bus partners, serves roughly 2000 locations, far more than Amtrak and the airlines combined and that “special consideration should be given to intercity bus EV charging station projects, and particularly Greyhound projects, since they fit exactly with the priorities set forth in the Notice” (underline added). FHWA wrote that it was “especially interested” in promoting equity in EV  deployment. Greyhound writes that it scores high: it is a majority/minority transportation provider. A recent survey showed that 56% of Greyhound passengers were minorities (35% Black, 14% Hispanic, 7% Asian). Quite a few current EV owners sent in comments. One person wrote: “Level 3 EV charging is very very expensive. We are talking around 75k to 100k for a 50kw charger (2 hrs) and 300k for 150-300kw chargers (18-40 min).” Another: “DOT is going to have to go outside the box and be inventive. The current method is to incentivize public and private installations, letting station owners choose their own equipment and conduct their own maintenance. The results are random, scattered placements, too often with only one unit, and a frustrating frequency of malfunction. Good luck.” And the naysayers: “I do not consent to my tax dollars being used on this unnecessary EV initiative.” Sit down, boomer…

* The Chess Game:
 The FAA has approved special conditions allowing the installation of rechargeable lithium batteries in the Emergency Exit Light (EEL) power supply on certain Peregrine transport category airplanes. These modifications present a “novel or unusual design feature,” hence the special condition review and decision. Importantly, however, this decision is also open for public comment until March 14 and FAA may revise the conditions for the special conditions, if you will. FAA writes that lithium battery packs “introduce failure modes that require unique design considerations, such as provisions for thermal management.”  Whaddya think: “thermal management” might refer to fire, huh? You know, if you have a thermal management issue at your house you rather hurriedly call the city’s thermal management department, right? Or, California has been plagued with forest thermal managements. The FAA lists 9 special conditions. The first are perhaps most interesting: “a certain number of failures will occur due to various factors beyond the control of the designer.” Special conditions 3-9 focus on dealing with those failures. At least the rhetorical management is top-notch.

Tom Ewing “reply” or 513-379-5526 voice/text