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Judge strikes down tough rules on diesel; The Southland's smog- fighting agency had ordered railroads to cut emissions, but is told that it lacks the authority to do so.
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Federal court decisions; Emission standards; Railroads; Air pollution
Author: Wilson, Janet
Date: May 3, 2007
Start Page: B.1
Section: California Metro; Part B; Metro Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

"The rules at issue in this case are exactly the type of local regulation that Congress intended to preempt ... in order to prevent a 'patchwork' of ... local regulation interfering with interstate commerce," [John F. Walter] wrote in an opinion released Tuesday. "The court does not arrive at its decision lightly, and recognizes that there is a serious problem with the air quality problem in the basin which needs to be addressed."

"The court has recognized the importance of having consistent nationwide regulation of rail operations. This enables railroads to improve air quality while efficiently moving the goods that propel California's economy," said BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent. "The railroads are already the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly mode of overland transportation and have been working to reduce emissions to even lower levels."

"I'm very disappointed," he said. "The fact is that people are dying in our community from the diesel exhaust from these locomotives and other railroad equipment. The railroads are acting like it's still the 1800s, not 2007. The value of one human life should supersede interstate commerce."

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