December 7, 2022 | EPA Responds to Petitions to Address Harmful Locomotive Emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is responding to petitions from the California Air Resources Board, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and California Air Pollution Control Officers Association to address harmful oxide emissions. nitrogen and particulates from locomotives.

As part of the EPA’s response to these petitions, the Agency is taking immediate action to develop options and recommendations to address pollution from new locomotives as well as those already in service in communities nationwide. .

“Locomotives continue to be a significant source of emissions, often disproportionately affecting the health of communities near rail yards and ports,” said Joseph Goffman, senior deputy administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation. the EPA. “EPA’s response reflects a commitment to provide important and needed public health benefits to underserved communities across the country that are burdened by higher levels of diesel exhaust.”

“I am proud to help lead the charge in California to defend our key national clean air protections and reduce vehicle emissions,” said Sen. Alex Padilla. “But the EPA also needs to do its part by regulating locomotive emissions nationally. That’s why I’m grateful to the EPA for answering my calls and those of California’s pollution control agencies. Air Pollution Workers and neighborhoods near ports and industrial yards have been subjected to increased air pollution from locomotives for decades, facing higher cases of respiratory illnesses and premature deaths. of the Cut Inflation Act, now is the time to make a generational investment in the transition to cleaner locomotives.”

Additionally, the EPA plans to propose revisions to existing locomotive pre-emption regulations to ensure they do not inappropriately limit authorities in California and other states under the Clean Air Act. to solve their air quality problems.

In addition, the EPA formed a railroad study team to assess how best to deal with air pollutant emissions from the locomotive sector.

Over the next few months, this team will gather information and assess the following:

-a range of technologies that may be available to further reduce locomotive emissions;

-policy options to accelerate the renewal of the locomotive fleet towards newer and cleaner technology;

– policy options to ensure reconditioned locomotives are as clean as possible;

-Engagement with partners, such as state organizations, non-governmental organizations, environmental justice organizations and industry stakeholders, to gather input needed to inform required assessments.

In addition, the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act provides a huge opportunity in the area of ​​locomotives. This funding is accelerating the transition to a zero-emissions future by providing funding opportunities across multiple transportation sub-sectors. EPA will explore opportunities to take advantage of these historic resources in the future.

Diesel emissions contribute to ozone and PM2.5 concentrations and their resulting health effects, including premature death, respiratory disease (including childhood asthma), and cardiovascular problems. Reducing diesel emissions from locomotives would improve the health and air quality of communities across the country, including those already burdened by pollution from freight transportation.

Learn more and view the official response to the EPA petition.