Washington Farm Bureau Criticizes California’s Green Train Mandate As ‘Entirely Unworkable

Washington Farm Bureau Criticizes California's Green Train Mandate As 'Entirely Unworkable

The California Air Quality Control Board wants to require railroads to buy zero-emission trains. An agricultural lobbying group in Washington, D.C., is fighting back against this idea. One group has called it “entirely workable.”

Last year, CARB voted in favor of a new rule that requires railroads to buy zero-emission trains. This rule also means that 25,000 diesel-powered trains will have to be retired early because they are too old to run in the state.

President Rosella Mosby of the Washington Farm Bureau Federation wrote to Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, on April 10 that “letting a single state impose onerous mandates on a national system would have a ripple effect across the supply chain, creating inefficiencies and cost increases.”

The letter says that adding new rules like these could hurt investments in Washington state’s train infrastructure. In the last two transportation revenue packages, $200 million was set aside for projects to improve the rail system.

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) is one of the groups that has already sued CARB. The other group is the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

AAR says, “The industry is taking strong action against climate change, such as testing new technologies like battery-electric and fuel-cell locomotives that may lower GHG emissions and other pollutants.” However, a clear technological path has not yet emerged, despite large investments and a push from the entire industry to find a zero-emissions solution. This will take more research and development.

In Mosby’s message, it says, “CARB officials have already acknowledged that the costs of compliance would render many short-line railroads bankrupt.” If this happened, farms and ranchers in Washington would have no choice but to use fewer options, which would cost them more and cause more greenhouse gas emissions. Most states, including Washington, don’t have the right electric infrastructure to meet the present rules.

The last time the EPA held a public meeting on CARB’s rule was on March 20. The public can give feedback to the federal body until April 22. Comments can be sent online.

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