Transport Canada announced plans last Friday to regulate emissions from locomotives for the first time, the goal being to align Canada’s standards with that of the United States. The government published the details of its proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette on June 18. Stakeholders and the public will have until Sept. 15, 2016 to submit their feedback on the proposed regulations.
“Aligning locomotive emission standards with the U.S. will provide regulatory certainty for the rail industry and improve the efficiency of the North American transportation system,” said Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
The government of Canada first announced its commitment to take regulatory action to reduce emissions from the rail sector in October 2006.
The objective of the proposed Locomotive Emissions Regulations is to reduce criteria air contaminant (CAC) emissions, namely nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), hydrocarbon (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO), and smoke, from the operation of locomotives by establishing mandatory emission standards and test procedures for new locomotives. The proposed regulations would be established under the authority of subsection 47.1(2) of the Railway Safety Act.
In 2013, Canada’s transportation sector accounted for 56.0% of all NOx emissions and 9.2% of all PM emissions. Of all transportation-related emissions, rail accounted for 11.1% of NOx and 4.6% of PM emissions.
The government of Canada has already taken action to reduce emissions from light- and heavy-duty vehicles. Canada has also moved forward with regulations to implement the North American Emission Control Area (ECA), which will reduce emissions of key air pollutants from ships, and the adoption of more stringent NOx emission standards for aircraft.
This most recent announcement is estimated to cost the rail industry CAD 162.3 million (USD 125.8 million) over 10 years, but will create benefits of nearly CAD 245 million (USD 190 million), not including the potential savings in health care costs. The move is calculated to produce NOx and PM emissions reductions of 9.3% and 8%, respectively.
“Most importantly, these regulations will lead to environmental benefits that protect the health of Canadians and advance green technologies,” Garneau said.
Under the existing U.S. regulations, emissions standards vary by the type of locomotive and the year it was originally manufactured.
The proposed rules would require railways to conduct regular emissions tests and cut down on the amount of time spent idling.
The net benefits are estimated at approximately CAD 82.7 million (USD 64.1 million) over the first 10 years, following implementation of the proposed regulations.