Arizona legislator joins others in expressing concerns about proposed California locomotive regulation

Arizona state Representative David Cook, a Republican from Globe, has expressed his opposition to a proposed waiver by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that could potentially impact locomotives.

The California Air Resources Board could potentially mandate that trains meet zero-emissions standards, a goal that many California leaders have been advocating for across various modes of transportation. The involvement of the EPA is necessary because these standards would affect the entire country, as trains often travel to other states.

Cook is the Chair of the House Transportation Committee in Arizona.

In a letter addressed to EPA administrator Michael Regan on Tuesday, Cook expressed his concerns about the potential far-reaching impacts of this proposal in Arizona. He emphasized that the rail industry in the state could be completely disrupted.

According to the Republican lawmaker, there is a concern that this could potentially have significant implications for the supply chain as well.

According to the official, the proposed rule poses a significant threat to Arizona’s railways and supply chain. It would impose excessive financial and operational burdens on railroads, particularly smaller operators, who would be required to retire over 25,000 locomotives that are 23 years or older. The official argues that this mandate fails to consider the long-term nature of locomotive investments and the interconnectedness of the country’s rail network. Such a requirement would result in a fragmented rail network, potentially jeopardizing the supply chain, burdening rail companies, and driving up costs.

Opposition to the policy extends beyond Cook. The Washington Farm Bureau has expressed concerns, and a group of U.S. senators has urged the EPA not to allow CARB to enforce the standards (The Center Square).

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In a letter signed by 11 Republican senators and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the senators expressed their concerns about the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) goal of forcing railroads to switch to zero-emission locomotives. The senators argued that the Clean Air Act does not grant the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to allow states to mandate specifications for locomotive design and manufacture, which is exactly what CARB is seeking in its authorization request.

The United States Chamber of Commerce cautioned that if the supply chain is affected by increased regulation, it could lead to a surge in traffic on roads.

According to an article by The Parker Pioneer, the regulations were approved in April 2023, and CARB asserts that it will ultimately benefit the public.

According to the board’s website, the Regulation aims to contribute towards California’s public health, air quality, and climate objectives by minimizing criteria pollutants, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gas emissions from locomotives currently in operation.

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