Agenda Established to Reduce Diesel Emissions from Railyards
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced today that it has established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Union Pacific Railroad (UP) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). This agreement obligates the railroads to significantly reduce diesel emissions in and around rail yards in California.
"The ARB is very pleased that we could work cooperatively to reach this MOU," said ARB Executive Officer, Catherine Witherspoon. "This agreement will allow us to achieve greater emission reductions in a shorter period of time than would have been possible through any other process."
Among the most important elements of the agreement are provisions that will significantly clean up the State's biggest railyards:
- A statewide idling-reduction program, to eliminate all non-essential idling through the use of anti-idling devices and operational changes.
- Health risk assessments for all major rail yards within 30 months to quantify the localized risks from each yard and enable further mitigation.
- Community and air district involvement in the preparation of risk assessments, enforcement of MOU provisions and the evaluation and development of measures to further reduce impacts on local communities.
Other actions described in the agreement are:
- Maximum use of state or federal low sulfur diesel in locomotives fueled in California, six years earlier than required by federal regulations.
- A statewide visible emissions reduction and repair program to ensure the incidence of smoking locomotives to less than 1 percent and to ensure repairs within 96 hours.
- Detailed evaluation of advanced control measures that can reduce diesel particulate emissions by 90 percent from uncontrolled levels for applicable locomotives.
- Assessment of remote sensing technology to identify high emitting locomotives.
- Enforcement provisions and financial penalties for noncompliance with the MOU.
"This agreement represents real progress reached as a result of a progressive partnership between California and BNSF Railway," says Mark Stehly, BNSF's Assistant Vice President, Technical Research, Environment and Development. "We've worked hard with the Air Board to craft a strong program that responds to community concerns about yard operations and reflects our continuing commitment to invest in clean air for California communities."
"Rail is by far the most environmentally friendly method of transporting freight. Over the past several years, Union Pacific has made significant progress in modifying our operations to reduce emissions," said Robert Grimaila, Union Pacific's Vice President of Environmental and Safety. "This agreement with CARB will build upon this progress - including what we've learned in the las eight months from our aggressive work in Roseville - to maintain our role as an environmental leader in the transportation industry."
"The ARB is very pleased that UP and BNSF have stepped up and agreed to enter this supplemental risk mitigation agreement. It builds on the railroads' previous commitment in 1998 for the South Coast air basin and demonstrates their commitment to environmental protection," continued Ms. Witherspoon. "This mutual agreement will deliver significant near term reductions in locomotive pollution statewide, and lays the groundwork for much greater improvements over the next decade."
For a copy of the MOU and more information click here.