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Light at the End of the Tunnel is Cleaner Air; EPA Cuts Diesel Locomotive and Vessel Pollution

Release Date: 03/02/2007
Contact Information: John Millett, 202.564.4355 millet.john@epa.gov, Jennifer Wood, 202-564.4355 wood.jennifer@epa.gov; Contacto en español: Lina Younes, 202-564-4355 / younes.lina@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - March 2, 2007) EPA is proposing a new rule to ensure that Americans continue to breathe cleaner air by significantly reducing air pollution from locomotive and marine diesel engines. The Clean Air Locomotive and Marine Diesel Rule would set stringent emission standards and require the use of advanced technology to reduce emissions.

“By tackling the greatest remaining source of diesel emissions, we’re keeping our nation’s clean air progress moving full steam ahead,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Over the last century, diesels have been America’s economic workhorse, and through this rule, an economic workhorse is also becoming an environmental workhorse.”

When fully implemented, this landmark initiative would cut particulate matter emissions from these engines by 90 percent and nitrogen oxides emissions by 80 percent. This would result in annual health benefits of $12 billion in 2030 and reduce premature deaths, hospitalizations and respiratory illnesses across the United States. These benefits would continue to grow as older locomotive and marine engines are replaced. Overall benefits are estimated to outweigh costs by more than 20 to 1.

The Clean Air Locomotive and Marine Diesel Rule would tighten emission standards for existing locomotives when they are remanufactured. Additionally, the rule sets stringent emission standards for new locomotive and marine diesel engines and sets long-term regulations that require the use of advanced technology to reduce emissions.

Consistent with its other clean diesel successes, EPA worked collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, including engine and equipment manufacturers, technology companies, environmental groups and states. The proposal dramatically cuts emissions from all types of diesel locomotives, including line-haul, switch, and passenger rail, as well as from a wide range of marine sources, including ferries, tugboats, yachts and marine auxiliary engines. This includes small generator sets to large generators on ocean-going ships.

The locomotive remanufacturing proposal would take effect as soon as certified systems are available, as early as 2008, but no later than 2010. Standards for new locomotive and marine diesel engines would phase-in starting in 2009. Long-term standards would phase-in beginning in 2014 for marine diesel engines and 2015 for locomotives. The rule also explores a remanufacturing program for existing large marine diesel engines similar to the existing program for locomotives. Other provisions seek to reduce unnecessary locomotive idling.

The Clean Diesel Locomotive and Marine program is another major achievement in EPA's decade-long campaign to revolutionize diesel engines and the fuels they use – making diesel as much an environmental workhorse as an economic one. The proposal builds on both the Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule (announced May 11, 2004) and the Clean Diesel Truck and Bus Rule, (announced December 21, 2000).

About the Clean Diesel Locomotive and Marine Program proposal and how to submit comments:

Clean Diesel Locomotive: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/locomotv.htm

Clean Diesel Marine: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/marine.htm