Things to Talk About Today: You May Need a Passport to Fly Domestic

  • A standard license from five U.S. states won't be enough ID to board a plane in 2016. According to security standards outlined in the Real ID Act, those with a standard license from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, American Samoa, or New Hampshire will be “noncompliant” and can only be used “when paired with an acceptable second form of ID.” Other forms of ID include passports and passport cards, as well as permanent resident cards, U.S. military ID, and DHS-trusted traveler cards such a Global Entry and NEXUS. This will be a big cost for many Americans, about 38% of whom don’t have passports. — Travel and Leisure
  • Cleaning products with microbeads in them are polluting the planet. Added to some products to aid the scrubbing action, the tiny plastic beads are becoming a major environmental hazard. A new study published in Environmental Science & Technology calls for a total ban of the scrubbers after researchers found that up to eight trillion plastic beads enter U.S. aquatic habitats every day. This is just 1% of the total number disposed of each day. — The Washington Post
  • Volkswagen has issued a recall on over 500,000 vehicles due to emissions software. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, VW has broken the law because of a “defeat device” that detects when the car is undergoing emissions testing and “only turns on full emissions control systems during that testing.” These controls are turned off during normal driving, when the vehicle pollutes more heavily. — The Columbus Dispatch
  • A new bullet train will soon take you from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at 150 miles per hour. Two million cars currently travel the distance every year, and the new rail will clear the 15 freeway of congestion and reduce pollution by 40%. China Railway International and railroad company XpressWest announced they will “accelerate launch” of the joint venture, and construction could start within a year’s time. — LA Weekly
  • Portland has the most cycling commuters in the U.S. According to the American Community Survey, about 23,350 people ride to work. A total of 904,500 people cycled to their jobs throughout the U.S., but nearly 11 million drove a car alone. Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation, said the record cyclist rate in Portland is a result of “decades of investment in projects that make it safer for people to use bikes and programs that encourage people to try biking.” — City Lab