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California and New York set new standards to cut emissions

Two of the largest economies in the U.S. set new emissions standards for the transportation and building sectors.

A picture of a freight train

Photo via Shutterstock/Drew Halverson

California announced new zero-emissions rules for its freight trains. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed new guidelines requiring all rail operators to contribute funds — determined by the emissions they create in California — to a new spending account. Companies will then use the funds in that account to upgrade to cleaner locomotive technologies.

Additionally, all industrial and passenger locomotives built after 2030 will be required to operate with zero emissions. Freight line hauls will have until 2035 to switch to zero-emissions technology.

Citing that operational emissions from just one train is worse than 400 heavy-duty trucks, CARB chair Liane Randolph said in a press release, "With the new regulation, we are moving toward a future where all transportation operations in the state will be zero emissions."

In other state news, New York is poised to become the first state to ban fossil-fuel utilities in new construction, beginning in 2026. The "All-Electric Building Act" requires new construction projects of seven stories or less to eliminate the use of fossil fuel burning stoves, water heaters or furnaces. Taller buildings have until 2029 to comply.

"The adoption of the All-Electric Building Act is a historic step forward that will address greenhouse gasses and other harmful emissions from new buildings," said Richard Schrader, New York legislative and policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement.

The bill is on its way to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk, where she is expected to sign it into law.

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