Petitions to Address Harmful Emissions from Locomotives
On November 9, 2022, EPA responded to petitions submitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Both of these petitioners requested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) undertake rulemaking to adopt more stringent national emission standards under the Clean Air Act (CAA) regulating nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions from locomotives.
In 2008, EPA promulgated regulations addressing air pollutant emissions from locomotives. While that rule put in place lower emission standards for new locomotives and new locomotive engines, in California and elsewhere locomotives remain a significant source of NOX and fine particulate matter emissions, often disproportionately impacting the health of communities near railyards and ports. In addition, the very slow natural fleet turnover of this sector results in older locomotives and locomotive engines remaining in use for decades.
Response to Petitions
As part of EPA’s response to these petitions, the Agency is taking immediate steps to focus resources and expertise on developing options and recommendations for new locomotives as well as those that are already operating in communities nationwide. This includes considering appropriate actions for new locomotives in addition to proposing revisions to our existing locomotive preemption regulations to ensure they don’t inappropriately limit California’s and other states’ authorities under the CAA to address their air quality issues.
Further, EPA has formed a rail study team to evaluate how best to address air pollutant emissions from the locomotive sector. This team will collect information and evaluate the following:
- A range of technologies that may be available to further reduce locomotive emissions;
- Policy options to accelerate locomotive fleet turnover to newer, cleaner technology;
- Policy options to ensure that remanufactured locomotives are as clean as possible.
The team will also engage with stakeholders including states, non-governmental organizations, environmental justice organizations, and industry stakeholders to gather input as needed to inform the required evaluations.
- EPA’s Response to CARB’s Petition (pdf)
- EPA’s Response to San Joaquin’s Petition (pdf)
- Fact Sheet: Information about EPA Strategies to Reduce Air Pollution from Locomotives (pdf) (November 2022, EPA-420-F-22-030)