The Clean Air Act (CAA) includes extensive regulatory requirements on “mobile sources,” which cover efficiency and emissions standards for a broad range of vehicles with internal combustion engines (automobiles, buses, aircraft), “nonroad engines and vehicles” (including lawnmowers, bulldozers and marine vessels), as well as motor fuel standards intended to promote cleaner burning fuels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses CAA authority to set emission limits from engines, for CAA-regulated air pollutants, including carbon dioxide (CO2) regulated for its greenhouse gas (GHG) aspects.Read More
Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) defines national requirements for the transportation of hazardous materials, under what’s commonly called the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA). DOT agencies promulgate most regulatory requirements with nationwide applicability, and delegate most administrative and oversight responsibilities to state transportation and highway patrol agencies. Delegated functions include state-level registration of motor carriers that transport hazardous materials by roadways, and licensing for their drivers.Read More
Federal hazardous materials transportation laws assign the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) general authority to designate hazardous materials and prescribe regulations for the “safe transportation of hazardous materials in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce.” PHMSA also prescribes criteria for handling hazardous materials, including training of personnel, inspections, and standards for operating and monitoring equipment.
These laws also authorize PHMSA and other DOT units to issue "special permits" that allow variances from federal requirements for up to two years. These special permits may be renewed for up to two years each time (and up to four years for variances from transport routing requirements). In 2012 “MAP-21” (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) directed PHMSA to review special permits that had been in place for at least 10 years, and to adopt regulatory revisions by October 1, 2015. PHMSA was to apply the following factors to determine the suitability for adopting a special permit into its hazardous materials regulations (HMR):
Effective February 16, 2016, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has revised the requirements for logging of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers’ hours of service or “HOS.” A motor carrier operating CMVs must install and require each of its drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record the driver’s duty status no later than December 18, 2017.Read More
In recent years, VW officials have sometimes been quoted touting their “clean diesel” vehicles by paraphrasing one of their competitors—“this isn’t your grandfather’s diesel.” This month VW finally admitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and customers worldwide that it “isn’t your regulator’s diesel” either. The company had programmed the electronics in millions of vehicles to provide false data during required emissions tests.
“No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people.”
– Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez
Did you know that “what you drive, how you drive, and what fuel you use can impact both the environment and your pocketbook?” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put together a Green Vehicle Guide website that provides useful information and answers to all your questions about how you can go green on the road and save money too.
What is “green infrastructure”? Green infrastructure incorporates vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water and create healthier urban environments. When talking about an area the size of an entire city or county, green infrastructure refers to an assorted collection of natural areas that provide habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water. When referring to an individual neighborhood or smaller locale, green infrastructure refers to stormwater management systems that simulate nature by soaking up and storing water, which then can be redirected back into sustainable usage by those communities.
Recent U.S. Presidents have issued a series of executive orders (EOs) that steadily expand federal agencies’ responsibilities to conduct their own activities in environmentally sound ways. President Clinton issued a number of EOs during 1993-1999 as part of “Greening the Government,” which were expanded upon and superseded by President George W. Bush’s 2007 EO Number 13423 “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” Since taking office, President Obama has continued these expansions. Last month, he issued EO Number 13693 to require “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.” This EO also revokes a number of President Obama’s own relevant EOs, and President Bush’s EO Number 13423.
Trespassing along railroad and transit rights-of-way (ROW) is a leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. Almost every two hours someone in the U.S. is hit by a train. Highway-rail crossing and trespasser deaths account for 90 percent of all rail-related deaths; more than 550 trespass fatalities and nearly as many injuries occur each year.