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CARB to consider proposed in-use locomotive regulation

21 September 2022

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced the availability of the proposed In-Use Locomotive Regulation and Draft Environmental Analysis. The public comment period on the proposal begins September 23, 2022. CARB will conduct a public hearing to consider the proposed regulation on November 17, 2022 in Sacramento, California.

In 2020, California’s locomotive sector was responsible for 10% of statewide NOx emissions from mobile sources and emissions are projected to grow to over 15% in 2035 without regulation. CARB is proposing the In-Use Locomotive Regulation to reduce criteria pollutants, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gas emissions for locomotives in-use. The proposal has been released “in the absence of federal action to address harmful emissions from locomotives”, the agency said.

The goal of the proposed regulation is to accelerate immediate adoption of advanced cleaner technologies for all locomotive operations throughout the state. In 2020, the California Governor signed Executive Order N-79-20, which calls for 100% of off-road vehicles and equipment operations to be zero-emission by 2035. Additionally, the 2022 State Strategy for the State Implementation Plan Strategy relies on the reduction of criteria pollutant emissions from locomotives operating in California to attain the federal ambient ozone standards by 2037.

The proposed regulation is designed to reduce emissions from locomotives operating in California by requiring locomotive operators to fund a spending account based on the locomotive’s annual usage in MWh or per gallon of fuel and the locomotive’s emission factors. Locomotive operators may use funds held in the spending account to purchase or lease cleaner locomotive technologies, including Tier 4 locomotives (until January 1, 2030), zero emission (ZE) locomotives, and ZE capable locomotives, as well as to repower equipment to ZE locomotives or ZE capable locomotives. A ZE capable locomotive is one that can be operated in a zero emission capacity when in California.

The proposal introduces several in-use operational requirements (IUOR), including:

The proposed regulation also specifies that, with certain exemptions, locomotives cannot idle in California for more than 30 minutes before the engine must be shut down.

Locomotive operators would be required to register locomotives operating in California and report annually regarding activity of locomotives in the state. Operators would be required to track all applicable locomotive activity by air district in MWh, or in some cases fuel usage. The first report would be due July 1, 2024.

Source: CARB