Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

“The half-dozen ski areas in Asia, Europe and North America which only open in spring are mostly in good shape for their 2022 ski seasons.” (Source: Snow-Forecast.com)

* Organic Chemistry: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published an RFI last week seeking public comments to help define “sustainable chemistry.” Congress has used the term. The EPA has a definition. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has a definition. But those definitions were found lacking and now OSTP, directed by recent defense legislation, will work to create a consensus definition of “sustainable chemistry.” This is to result in a “framework of attributes characterizing sustainable chemistry as well as quantitative assessment metrics.” It will allow OSTP to “assess the state of sustainable chemistry in the US.” One basic question is whether, or how, “sustainable chemistry” might equate with “green chemistry” (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?). Another is how/whether “federal attention” might help “move society” in a more sustainable direction. Comments are due by June 3.

The Kids Are Alright:  DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is seeking comments to help it start on new work pertaining to public school buildings, work required by the new infrastructure law, which provides DOE with $500 million to help public school systems and energy investments. DOE writes that skools are the second largest sector of public infrastructure spending and that “significant under-investment in energy improvements at American schools results in unnecessarily high utility costs and contributes to unhealthy and uncomfortable environments for students, teachers, and staff.” DOE lists six focus areas: (1) Capacity Development for Local Education Agencies (2) Needs Assessments (3) Criteria and Metrics (4) Workforce (5) Leveraging Funds and (6) Partnership Structures. DOE writes that this funding will help remedy the “historic inequity” of school facilities investments, reduce school energy expenditures, help schools lead the nation in “solving the climate crisis,” and “creategood-paying union jobs.” Comments are due May 18.

* Mixing Zones, Not Good: DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is prepping to start a “National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes, Knowledge, and Behaviors.” This would be via the web and mail and include 7500 adults, but that’s after a pilot study of 150 adults. Survey topics include the extent to which Americans engage in walking and bicycling activity, their attitudes toward and experience with various facilities, road conditions, and technologies, and their opinions on pedestrian and bicycling safety topics. This will update surveys from 2002 and 2012. NHTSA will prepare a technical report that will go to State highway officials for development of traffic safety communications that aim “to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist crashes.” Uh, presumably that’s crashes with automobiles travelling at 70 mph. Not pretty. Comments are due June 3.

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