Help Rail Crew Drivers Win Relief From Polluting Locomotives

April 6, 2024

Update, April 24: Comments are now closed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a comment!

Over the next two weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency will be taking written comments on a new regulation that will make a huge difference for the health of rail crew drivers, other rail yard workers, and rail yard communities, while creating good union jobs building new locomotives.

On March 20, UE rail crew drivers and representatives from California gave testimony at a virtual hearing hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Members encouraged the federal government to approve a new regulation from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that will reduce air pollution from train yards. Written comments in support of this new regulation are due on April 22.

We are asking supporters of the Green Locomotive Project to submit written comments in support of this regulation. California workers need clean air NOW. This is the first-ever zero-emissions locomotive rule in the nation, and it will bring all locomotives operating in California (including passenger, switcher, line-haul, and industrial/freight) to low-emissions immediately and zero-emissions over time. The In-Use Locomotive rule has huge benefits to Californians. It is estimated that this regulation will: 

  • Prevent close to 400,000 tons of nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions
  • Reduce 63 tons per day in NOx at the height of its implementation
  • Prevent 7,455 tons of particulate matter from being spewed into our environment
  • Result in almost 22 million metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions
  • Prevent more than 3,200 premature deaths
  • Provide $32 billion in health benefits

Make your voice heard. Here’s how you can submit a comment: Visit the EPA’s website​, write out your comment in the text box, and click the blue “Submit Comment” button at the bottom. The last day to submit a comment before the EPA makes a decision is April 22, 2024.​​

We recommend highlighting the following in your comment: 

  1. Say that you are calling on EPA to grant a waiver to allow the California Air Regulation BoardCARB’s regulation to go forward immediately and in full; 
  2. Say that this is needed for California (for any and all of the reasons listed above); 
  3. Say why you care about this issue.

Questions? Email

Read the sample comment below for inspiration:

I strongly encourage the EPA to grant the California Air Resource Board’s waiver request (Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2023–0574) for the In-Use Locomotive Rule immediately and in full.

This regulation will prevent almost 400,000 tons of NOx emissions, and 22 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses from being released into our atmosphere. This reduction of emissions will avoid over 3,200 premature deaths. 

[ Include a description of your own experience with rail emissions here ]

By granting this waiver, the EPA can do right by workers in California and save lives. Once again, I encourage you to grant CARB’s waiver request for the In-Use Locomotive Rule immediately and in full.