Concepts to Reduce Emissions from Locomotives and Railyards
In the absence of federal action to address harmful emissions from locomotives, CARB is developing regulatory concepts to reduce criteria pollutants, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gas emissions for locomotives in-use. These concepts are intended to be implemented statewide, and provide an opportunity for the railroads to better address regional pollution and long-standing environmental justice concerns with communities near railyards.
The goal of the regulatory concepts is to accelerate immediate adoption of advanced cleaner technologies for all locomotive operations. The Governor recently highlighted the importance of transitioning to zero-emission transportation technology in his Executive Order N-79-20, which calls for 100 percent of off-road vehicles and equipment operations to be zero-emission by 2035. CARB is working with industry to create and test zero-emission locomotive technologies. As discussed in CARB’s draft Mobile Source Strategy, such technologies are critical to the State’s ability to protect public health, address climate change, and meet both State and federal air quality standards.
Over the past 20 years, CARB has worked to reduce emissions from locomotives by entering into enforceable agreements with the railroads. While progress has been made through the CARB emission reduction agreements with the Class 1 Railroads, additional emission reductions from the rail sector are critical to meet the criteria pollutant standards across the state. CARB has also petitioned U.S. EPA to create a new, cleaner Tier 5 emissions standard for locomotives.
Additionally, the State of California has recently placed additional emphasis on protecting local communities from the harmful effects of air pollution through the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 617 (C. Garcia, Chapter 136, Statutes of 2017). AB 617 is a significant piece of air quality legislation that highlights the need for further emission reductions in communities with high exposure burdens.