Evergreen: EPA Gets Out of the Way of States Addressing Pollution From Rail

In response to EPA issuing a final rule that will ensure the agency no longer preempts state regulations on old, polluting locomotives (aka zombie trains) and will allow California to move ahead with its proposed rail emissions standards, Evergreen Action Vice President Craig Segall released the following statement:

“It’s great that EPA is keeping key state standards for dirty locomotives on track by clearing away its old and wrong rules.

“With locomotives that were new in the 1990s still pouring exhaust into communities, rail has fallen disastrously behind; so much so that truck transportation is on track to become cleaner than rail transportation within the decade. For years, rail companies have been dodging pollution standards by ‘remanufacturing’ their oldest, most polluting trains that don’t need to comply with modern standards. Laggard rail companies aren’t going to clean up their own act. We need regulators to act to address this ongoing threat to our communities and climate.

“EPA’s smart decision to scrap its locomotive preemption rule opens the door for states to finally tackle this critical source of pollution that is accelerating the climate crisis and poisoning the millions of people who live and work near rail lines, rail yards, and ports. But EPA isn’t done either—it’s time for federal standards to raise the bar nationwide.”

This fall, Evergreen called on the Biden administration to eliminate its arcane rail preemption regulation in light of the rail industry’s suit to block California’s new locomotive pollution rules.