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U.S. roads oppose EPA's proposal to limit sulfur emissions

U.S. railroads recently asked the Environmental Protection Agency to exempt locomotives from a proposed rulemaking that would require off-road diesel engines to use fuel with a sulfur content no greater than 15 parts per million (ppm), according to an Association of American Railroads statement.

"Locomotive manufacturers are not using technology requiring 15 ppm sulfur to meet EPA's emissions standards," said AAR Associate General Counsel Michael Rush at a hearing held earlier this week in New York City. "It would be discriminatory and cost-ineffective for EPA to depart from current practice and impose a 15 ppm limit independent of any technological need."

Imposing the sulfur limit would cost railroads $64,000 and $10,300 to remove from locomotive emissions a ton of particulate matter and sulfur dioxide, respectively. By increasing railroads' costs, pollution could worsen because business might be diverted to less environmentally friendly modes, said Rush.

When analyzing 1990s emission standards, EPA determined that railroads performed three times better on an emissions-per-ton-mile basis than other modes.

Railroads are ready to work with EPA to develop regulations that reduce locomotive emissions "but do not have the counterproductive effect of discouraging the use of an environmentally-beneficial mode of transportation," said Rush.

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More News from 6/13/2003