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US EPA responds to petitions to address emissions from locomotives

10 November 2022

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is taking immediate steps to develop “options and recommendations” to address pollution from new locomotives as well as those already operating in communities nationwide. The announcement was made in response to petitions from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association to address NOx and PM emissions from locomotives.

The EPA also said it plans to propose revisions to existing locomotive preemption regulations “to ensure they don’t inappropriately limit California’s and other states’ authorities under the Clean Air Act to address their air quality issues”. CARB has proposed new emission regulations for in-use locomotives and will conduct a public hearing to consider the proposal on November 17. However, federal regulations currently preempt states and localities from adopting or enforcing emission standards for new locomotives and new engines used in locomotives.

The EPA has formed a rail study team to evaluate how best to address air pollutant emissions from the locomotive sector. In the coming months, this team will collect information and evaluate the following:

Additionally, the EPA will explore opportunities to leverage the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) money to accelerate the transition to a zero emissions future in the locomotive space.

Source: US EPA