Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’

G&W Agrees to Consent Decree on Loco Emissions

January 27, 2023

Short line holding company Genesee & Wyoming has agreed pay up to $42 million to settle an environmental complaint brought by the federal government.

G&W was accused by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of violating the Clean Air Act by operating rebuilt locomotives that failed to meet emissions standards.

The complaint also charged G&W with failure to perform emissions-related maintenance or keep maintenance records.

EPA officials said in a news release that the settlement with G&W is expected to reduce tons of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter pollution and improve air quality.

The dispute began in 2018 after G&W owned railroads failed to upgrade 11 of 885 locomotives to the appropriate emission standards. G&W characterized that in a statement as having been an inadvertent oversight.

The statement said the consist decree G&W agreed to will provide environmental benefits “that significantly exceed any adverse impact associated with the violations alleged by the government.”

In rebuilding the locomotives in question, G&W agreed to use the latest technology to reduce emissions; to ensure it does not purchase or sell locomotives that have been rebuilt without conforming to emissions standards; to remove from service and destroy 88 older locomotives not required to meet EPA emission standards; to replace scrapped locomotives only with units subject to and meeting EPA emissions standards; and to pay a $1.35 million civil penalty.

EPA Eyes Stricter Locomotive Emission Rules

November 11, 2022

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is eyeing promulgating stricter regulations for locomotive regulations.

The agency has formed a study group to examine options and recommendations for possible new regulations that would seek to cut emissions from locomotives.

Higher standards are being sought from the EPA by the California Air Resource Board, which has cited complaints from workers and those who live near railroad yards and ports of respiratory illness and premature death caused by locomotive emissions.

The existing EPA locomotive emission standards, known as Tier 4 regulations, were created in 2008.

Although Class 1 railroad motive fleets include Tier 4 compliant locomotives, many carriers continue to rely on older locomotives, although some older units have been rebuilt to reduce emissions.

However, these rebuilt locomotives do not need to meet Tier 4 standards.

Class 1 railroads have pruned the size of their motive power fleets in response to the adoption of the precision scheduled railroading operating model, which relies on fewer and longer trains.

In 2021 U.S. Class 1 railroads ordered no new locomotives and in 2020 they ordered just 94 units.

A report posted on the website of Trains magazine observed that locomotive builders believe the future of railroad motive power lies more with such technology as batteries, battery-diesel hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cells than it does with diesel power alone.

2 Pennsylvania Short Lines Join EPA Program

March 18, 2022

Two Pennsylvania short line railroads have joined in the SmartWay program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The railroads are East Penn Railroad, which operates 110 miles of track southeastern Pennsylvania, and Tyburn Railroad, which operates a transloading facility and terminal switching operation in Morrisville.

The SmartWay program collects efficiency and air quality data from its member railroads and aggregates that information in five ranked performance ranges.

In a news release, program officials described their mission as providing “a comprehensive and well-recognized system for tracking, documenting and sharing information about fuel use and freight emissions across supply chains.”

The program also said it helps “companies identify and select more efficient freight carriers, transport modes, equipment, and operational strategies to improve supply chain sustainability and lower costs from goods movement; and supports global energy security and offsets environmental risk for companies and countries.”

SmartWay has nearly 4,000 members, which include shippers; logistics companies; and truck, rail, barge and multimodal carriers.

EPA Studies Chemicals for Transit Disinfecting

July 10, 2020

Researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are studying a number of commercially available products that could be used to disinfect trains and stations long term against the COVID-19 virus.

The EPA Office of Research and Development Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response is conducting the research, using the surfaces that mimic the high touch point on mass transit trains and stations, EPA officials said in a news release.

The agency is working with transit officials in New York to evaluate anti-microbial products to determine their ability to provide effective antivirus protection over time.

Currently, EPA-registered products that claim long-lasting effectiveness are limited to those that control odor-causing bacteria on hard, nonporous surfaces. There are no EPA-registered products that claim long-lasting disinfection.

The benefit of longer-lasting antimicrobial product is the reduced need to clean and disinfect a surface or object every time after someone new touches it, EPA officials said.

EPA officials said transit agencies around the country currently are using multple step cleaning and disinfection processes, but would greatly benefit from a product that had long-lasting capabilities.

In addition, EPA researchers are also evaluating other high-efficiency alternative methods to disinfect, such as ultraviolet light, ozone and steam that could be used on public transit systems to keep trains, buses and facilities clean and safe for passengers. They are also studying disinfectant application methods such as electrostatic sprayers or foggers.

CSX Hit With $2.2M in Fines for Oil Spill, Fire

July 27, 2018

CSX is expected to pay $2.2 million in penalties to settle an action stemming from a 2015 derailment and subsequent oil spill.

The railroad would pay $1.2 million to the federal government and $1 million to the State of West Virginia to settle water pollution violations.

In a state-negotiated agreement, CSX will pay $500,000 to a state-administered fund to upgrade a water treatment facility in Fayette County, West Virginia.

The federal agencies involved in the case were the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.

The derailment occurred on Feb. 16, 2015, at Mount Carbon, West Virginia, when 27 cars of a CSX train with 109 rail cars carrying crude oil derailed. The train carried 29,000 gallons of Bakken crude and about half of the cars ignited.

Some of the oil flowed into the Kanawha River and Armstrong Creek.

The explosions and fires destroyed an adjacent home and garage. A local state of emergency was declared, nearby water intakes were shut down and area residents were evacuated.

The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. CSX officials declined to comment on the settlement.

CN Getting 25 Units it Can’t Use in U.S. Service

April 10, 2015

If you see a Canadian National locomotive numbered in the 2951 to 2975 series in the United States, be sure to photograph it.

That’s because if one of those locomotives operates in revenue service the U.S. it will be doing so in violation of federal law.

The 25 locomotives in the 2951 to 2975 series were built by GE as “export” ES44AC units. They do not meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4 emissions standards that took effect on Jan. 1 for new locomotives built after that date.

If CN uses one of these non-compliant locomotives, it would face fines from the U.S. government.

CN plans to assign the locomotives to Prince George, B.C., which would minimize the risk of placing them in trains headed across the border.

Earlier, CN received 26 ES44ACs from GE that are U.S. EPA emissions-compliant and plans to receive an additional 39 ES44ACs later in 2015 after Tier 4 locomotive production begins.

CSX, EPA Reach Agreement on W.Va. Cleanup

March 10, 2015

CSX has reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the cleanup and restoration of land affected by a Feb. 16 derailment of a crude oil train in West Virginia.

The agreement will supersede an EPA order. CSX had agreed to submit within 21 days a comprehensive, long-term plan for cleaning up and restoring the areas affected by the derailment.

In agreeing to commit “significant resources” to cleaning up the derailment, CSX will participate in air and water monitoring and testing; recovering oil from Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their tributaries and shorelines; and educating residents about potential effects from the incident, EPA officials said in a news release.

“The agreement between CSX and EPA provides a framework within which CSX can work, with oversight from EPA and West Virginia, to ensure that oil contamination from the derailment in Mount Carbon continues to be safely contained and that long lasting impacts are mitigated to protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin.

The 109-car crude oil train had originated in North Dakota and was bound for a port in Virginia. Twenty-seven of its cars derailed, resulting in explosions and fires that prompted an evacuation of nearby residents.