Political pundit on the latest from Washington, D.C.
Train pollution rules remain up in the air
A California agency's attempt to regulate train pollution is ruled out-of-bounds.
Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 04:00 PM
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: There is now a clear path for regulators to travel on when it comes to cleaning up train pollution. (Photo: aresauburn/Flickr)
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
But right now an attempt to limit emissions of idling freight trains in southern California remains a violation of federal law.
This was the ruling in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week, where the court upheld a previous decision claiming that the South Coast Air Quality District’s regulation of idling trains violated the 1995 Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act
Because the freight trains that travel through Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties carry goods that will travel through other states, the court argues regulating them is up to the feds.
As for the light in the tunnel, it came when judges reiterated
that local enforcement of air pollution laws would be allowed if the laws were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA approval track provides those concerned with the pollution in southern California with some hope, but not a ton. The EPA’s power seems to be facing new challenges every day
. But the longer those powers survive, the longer those breathing in southern California have light at the end of the tunnel.
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