House Subcommittee Hearing to Address California Locomotive Emissions Rule

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Courtesy of Clay Gilliland

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– The Investigations & Oversight Subcommittee of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a hearing this week on the California rule on locomotive emissions.

Readers will recall that the California Air Resources Board implemented a new rule around locomotive emissions in the state in April. First, the rule says that any locomotive older than 23 years cannot be used as of 2030. The rule also says that locomotives operating in the state cannot idle longer than 30 minutes if they have automatic shut down technology.

There has been an uproar among Class I and Short Line railroads since the ruling.

For example, the Association of American Railroads points out that “The technology needed for zero-emission locomotives is not commercially available today. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy in its recent FY25 Budget Request document stated that its goal was to demonstrate a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This goal is far more reasonable than CARB’s expectation that locomotives are zero-emissions starting in 2030.”

Chuck Baker, the president of the Association of American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) said “While the spirit behind this is consistent with short lines’ environmental commitment, the rule itself is impractical, unworkable, and simply not feasible for most short lines. In addition, this rulemaking does not acknowledge the impact of the elimination of some short line rail service to Californians.”

The hearing will be held on June 13, 2024 at 2:00 pm, and you can access the hearing through this link.

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