Petition Seeks Limits on Greenhouse Gas, Black Carbon Pollution From Locomotives

For Immediate Release

Environmental Groups
Contact: 

Vera Pardee, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 317, vpardee@biologicaldiversity.org
Dan Gelpern, Western Environmental Law Center, (541) 359-3243,
gaplpern@westernlaw.org

Marcie Keever, Friends of the Earth, (415) 544-0790 x 223, MKeever@foe.org

Petition Seeks Limits on Greenhouse Gas, Black Carbon Pollution From Locomotives

SAN FRANCISCO - The Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and the
International Center for Technology Assessment today filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
to set limits for greenhouse gas and black carbon pollution from locomotives
under the Clean Air Act. Locomotives are a significant source of global warming
pollution. In 2008 alone, locomotives in the United States
used more than 4 billion gallons of diesel fuel and released more than 50
million tons of carbon dioxide, ranking second among mobile non-road sources of
greenhouse gas pollution.

“Getting a
handle on the global climate crisis requires limits on its most ubiquitous
sources, and that includes locomotives,” said Vera Pardee, senior attorney at
the Center. “The EPA is now moving ahead to limit greenhouse gas pollution from
cars, trucks, power plants and cement factories, but the job can’t stop
there.”

The EPA has
already acknowledged that locomotives and marine diesel engines produce
significant air pollution in the United States and that these engines
will account for a growing share of overall emissions as pollution-control
programs for cars, trucks and other non-road sources get
underway.

Locomotives
also emit more than 25,000 tons of particle pollution smaller than 2.5 microns
in diameter (PM2.5) each year, including significant amounts of black
carbon, a particularly harmful, light-absorbing particle with a potent global
warming effect. Black carbon and PM2.5 also pose serious threats to
human health and have been associated with aggravated asthma, acute respiratory
symptoms like coughing and difficulty breathing, chronic bronchitis and
premature mortality in people with heart and lung disease.

“Pollution
from locomotives is expected to grow in the coming decades and EPA needs to move
quickly to limit its dangerous effects on people and the environment,” said Dan
Galpern, an attorney with the Western
Environmental Law Center
representing the International Center for Technology Assessment. “There
are already cost-effective technologies to reduce greenhouse gas and
black-carbon pollution from locomotives, and more are under development.
Common-sense operating rules, such as reducing locomotive idling in railyards
and more efficient traffic management, can also have immediate impacts on how
much pollution is generated by U.S. rail traffic.”

“The impacts
of climate change are already upon us and are getting worse,” said Marcie
Keever, oceans and vessels project director with Friends of the Earth.
“Americans cannot afford for the EPA to wait to address the significant and
growing greenhouse gas emissions from trains.” 

The EPA is
already moving forward with Clean Air Act rules to reduce greenhouse gases from
light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles, and has received petitions to issue
greenhouse gas rules for ships, aircraft and off-road engines. With the addition
of this petition regarding locomotives, the EPA has now received petitions to
address all major mobile sources of greenhouse gas pollution in the United
States.

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