Padilla Applauds EPA Rule Allowing California to Address Harmful Locomotive Emissions
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final locomotives preemption rule, which affirms that California can reduce emissions from locomotives when they operate in the state. This crucial change to EPA’s preemption regulations will ensure that outdated EPA rules cannot be misread in a way that prevents California from issuing protections that are stronger than the EPA’s standards, helping protect air quality and public health for communities who live near rail yards and accelerating progress toward federal and California emissions goals.
Locomotives produce significant amounts of greenhouse gases and toxic diesel pollution and they contribute to poor air quality nationwide, especially in communities around ports and goods movement corridors. To address this, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued a first-in-the-nation locomotives regulation, which CARB estimates would curb air pollution to prevent roughly 3,200 premature deaths, 1,100 hospital admissions, and 1,500 emergency room visits. Cancer risk from exposure to air toxins within one mile of locomotive operations is expected to be reduced by 90 percent.
“Locomotive emissions disproportionately pollute communities near rail yards, causing significant and unjust public health and air quality issues. California has led the way in fighting to cut harmful emissions from trains. This locomotive rule is a major victory for our state’s authority to defend our nationally leading clean air protections,” said Senator Padilla. “I have fought relentlessly for this fix to help deliver environmental justice to vulnerable communities, and I am glad to see the Environmental Protection Agency follow through. While this is an important step, I will keep pressing the EPA to follow California’s lead and address pollution from locomotives across the country.”
The EPA’s announcement comes after Senator Padilla urged the agency to finalize its proposed regulatory changes to align the scope of preemption under EPA’s regulations with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. He also pressed the EPA to respond to petitions from California air agencies to address pollution from new locomotives and those already operating in communities nationwide, securing a commitment from the EPA to make updates to their existing locomotive preemption regulations that have now been finalized by the EPA.
Earlier this year, Padilla, the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, Representative Jim Costa (D-Calif.-21), and Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.-29) led 20 members of California’s Congressional delegation in sending a letter to federal agencies urging them to advance a whole-of-government strategy to address California’s unique air quality challenges, including by addressing harmful emissions from locomotives via a joint funding and regulatory strategy.