Tuesday, April 18, 2017

California formally petitions for zero-emissions locomotives

Written by 
  • Print
  • Email
Siemens Charger, a Tier 4 emissions locomotive. Siemens Charger, a Tier 4 emissions locomotive. Siemens

The California Air Resources Board has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to take action to adopt more stringent emission standards for locomotives, saying that the move is needed to clean up the air in “high-risk” communities in and around the nation’s railyards.

“Reducing locomotive-related emissions and the resulting air toxic hot spots near railyards is a high priority for disadvantaged communities within California and around the nation,” said Board Chair Mary D. Nichols. “A new generation of locomotives will also, once in operation, offer fuel savings to the railroad industry.”

The Board said its goal is zero- or near-zero emission locomotives. Proposed “Tier 5” emission standards would cut diesel particulate (PM) emissions by 85% and 66% for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) below current Tier 4 levels. Newly manufactured locomotives would have some zero-emission mile capability.

The current Tier 4 standards were phased in from 2000-2015.

Nichols in the Board’s formal petition submitted for EPA Rulemaking noted that recent studies have found significant diesel exposure disparities by race and income among residents living in close proximity to most of the major railyards in California.

Nichols acknowledged that many steps have already been taken to clean up emissions from the U.S. freight logistics network, including national locomotive emissions and diesel fuel standards; CARB agreements with railroads; California emission standards for drayage trucks and cargo equipment, and private and public investments in cleaner-running equipment. “But CARB believes that more can be accomplished, and that to deliver on our collective responsibility to improve conditions on the ground for overburdened communities, new action by EPA to require a transition to zero and near-zero emission locomotives is necessary.”

CARB is requesting the development of updated emission standards, including standards for newly manufactured locomotives as well as for remanufactured locomotive engines.

The proposed standards recognize advancements in technology that support zero-emission rail operation in impacted communities while also providing nationwide fuel savings for the railroads.

Nichols urged the EPA “to exercise its authority to adopt more stringent locomotive emission standards to address issues affecting public health and welfare, and so that all states can meet federal air quality standards and climate goals. The Board asked the EPA to respond by this summer.

Nichols also noted that requiring the transition to the cleanest, most efficient locomotives will generate new clean tech and industrial jobs, and provide a boost for the United States to compete in the global marketplace to meet the growing demand for cleaner, low-emission trains abroad.

The full petition can be accessed at https://www.arb.ca.gov/railyard/railyard.htm









Get the latest rail news

Rail news and analysis from Railway Age, IRJ and RT&S by email