Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Briefs

It’s been a while since I’ve had to post anything on this blog, so some of this news is old. I appreciate those of you who still follow this blog. I hope I can continue to make something worthwhile for you.

Foxx Sworn in As Transportation Secretary

Anthony Foxx has been sworn in as Secretary of Transportation. Foxx was mayor of Charlotte, NC, and has had a career as an attorney and politician.

GAO Critiques Nonpoint Source Program

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report that critiques the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 319 program. This program (named for the section of the Clean Water Act that authorized it) provides grants to states to undertake activities to reduce nonpoint-source pollution, including subgrants to organizations to implement improvements. They found that the program sometime failed to produce desired results and that EPA’s oversight of the program sometimes was inadequate or produced unintended undesirable results. In addition, a complementary program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service introduces practices that, by themselves, can decrease water quality because their primary intent is soil conservation.

I-5 Bridge Collapse

At this time, IW has no news to add to what has been reported on the I-5 bridge collapse. The collapse of a bridge on I-35 was one of the events that prompted the launch of this blog. IW sends it’s condolences to those affected by this event and wishes the National Transportation Safety Board a fruitful investigation.

Many Highway Projects are Categorical Exclusions for NEPA

GAO published a report on expediting highway projects. One of the interesting things was that many highway projects were considered categorical exclusions for the purpose of review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Categorical exclusions are classes of projects that, individually or collectively, have been determined by rule to have no significant environmental impact. These projects receive no or limited NEPA review.

New Appointees to Advisory Committee on Construction Safety & Health

Acting Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris appointed or reappointed eight members to the ACCSH. The new members are

OSHA Extends Deadline for Crane Operator Certification

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency announced its will extend the deadline for certification of crane operators to November 10, 2017. The original rule that was finalized in 2010 established a deadline next year.

Report on Rural Water Infrastructure

The GAO published a report on programs that fund drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas. In Missouri, agencies that administer the State Revolving Fund (a state-administered EPA-overseen program), Water and Waste Disposal Program (U.S. Department of Agriculture), and Community Development Block Grants Program (a state-administered program overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development) coordinate their water funding efforts.


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