Press Releases

T&I Republicans Issue Comment in Opposition to CARB’s Request to Establish a New Rule

Washington, D.C., April 22, 2024 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX), Chairman of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, led fellow T&I Committee Republicans in urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny California Air Resource Board’s (CARB’s) authorization request to establish new emissions standards, procedures, financial assessments, and reporting requirements on railroad operations through its In-Use Locomotive Regulation.  Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must approve CARB’s petition.

In the comment letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Committee Members write about the significant damage the potential CARB rule would do to interstate commerce and supply chains, the illegal nature of the proposal, and its departure from long-established historical norms and precedents. The CARB rule would effectively ban conventionally powered locomotives and force a transition to zero-emissions trains that have not been sufficiently tested. The proposed CARB rule includes an In-Use Operational Requirement, the Idling Requirement, the Spending Account, and the Registration, Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements, each of which conflicts with existing statute and ignores the principle of federal preemption of state or local government policies affecting railroads.

“Railroads are a crucial mode in the movement of freight and passengers in interstate commerce. Congress has enacted and courts have issued rulings on an entire body of law to ensure that individual states and localities, or even groups of states and localities, do not enact policies that specifically interfere with the operations of railroads,” the Members wrote.

In the letter, T&I Republicans highlight how the proposed rule will raise costs for shippers and cost jobs. Additionally, Members point to CARB’s own acknowledgment that the rule will lead to the elimination of several short line railroads. Many of these Class II and III railroads are small businesses which comprise 29 percent of freight rail operations in the United States.

The Members continued, “The CARB Rule fails any meaningful cost-benefit analysis. According to CARB’s own analysis, the cost for Class I operators exceeds $86 billion. Further, it acknowledges some operations important to the system would not be able to absorb these regulatory costs. Additionally, it mandates the adoption of technology that is not commercially available, such as zero emission locomotives. EPA must reject this misguided, dangerous, and illegal petition.

“The consequences of the CARB Rule are widely recognized beyond the directly regulated industry. It is for these reasons that several local government, labor and shipper stakeholders recognize the economic harm the Rule will have on railroad employment, investment in infrastructure, and its capacity to serve the supply chain needs of shippers. They have likewise petitioned EPA to reject the In-Use Locomotive Rule."

31 additional T&I Republicans joined Chairman Graves and Chairman Nehls in sending the letter to EPA Administrator Regan.

T&I Republicans are among a growing list of organizations representing rail, agriculture growers and shippers, local governments, manufacturers, other U.S. businesses, and labor unions that oppose the rule.

Click here to read the full letter.

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