Responses to comments received during the public consultation process on RAC MOU prepared by Environment Canada
Comment: How will the Management Committee or the Government be able to verify that the newly purchased locomotives are in fact EPA-certified?
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) contains two features to ensure that actions taken to reduce emissions in line with the goals of the MOU are accurately reported. First, a Management Committee will review an annual report documenting actions undertaken pursuant to this MOU. The Committee will comprise of representatives of the Government of Canada (Environment Canada and Transport Canada), the Railway Association of Canada (RAC), and an environmental nongovernmental organization (ENGO). Second, the Management Committee can direct an auditor to review the processes and supporting documentation pertaining to the MOU at least annually. The auditor will provide a third-party verification function.
Comment: The guidelines to be followed for reporting on emissions use an outdated emission factor calculation methodology. How does the Government propose to ensure that emissions reported are accurate?
The MOU cites the emission factor calculation methodology as described in the report "Recommended Reporting Requirements for Locomotive Emissions Monitoring (LEM)". The Management Committee has the discretion to direct, among other things, the review of the methodology used for estimating emissions, and to make changes.
Comment: Will the representative of the environmental NGO to the Management Committee have expertise in rail emissions and a firm technical understanding of the issues?
The signatories, Environment Canada, Transport Canada and the Railway Association of Canada, will endeavor to select an appropriate representative of the ENGO that will positively contribute to the work of the Committee.
Comment: The second bullet of section 6.2 of the MOU should be removed. It appears to give the Management Committee the discretion to relax the requirements of the MOU.
Section 6.2 of the MOU outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Management Committee. More specifically, the second bullet of section 6.2 gives the Management Committee the discretion to conduct a review of theMOU should circumstances materially change. The goal of this bullet is to ensure that the MOU remains relevant in light of changing circumstances.
Comment: Are the ‘rail industry’s emission reduction and fleet renewal strategies for the period of 2006 – 2015’ being evaluated by the Department of the Environment and compared to initiatives by other transportation providers?
No comparative analyses with other transportation providers were performed, nor are they contemplated. The goal is to reduce emissions of smog-forming pollutants and to improve the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity of the rail sector.
Comment: Are there specific guidelines outlining the acceptable reasons for termination by either party in the MOU? Will stakeholders be notified of any request for termination?
There are no specific guidelines outlining reasons for termination. The party that is terminating the MOU will give six months prior formal written notice to the other two parties.
Comment: The RAC plans to ‘encourage’ all of its members to conform. Is there any penalty for those that do not comply?
The MOU is voluntary. There is no penalty for not complying. However, under the MOU, the RAC has agreed to describe, as part of the annual report, the actions undertaken to inform its members about practices or technologies that reduce emissions of air pollutants and GHGs. Similarly, the RAC will also report on actions undertaken by its members to conform to all applicable EPA emission standards and to adopt operating practices that reduce emissions of air pollutants. This new MOU builds upon a previous MOU, covering the 1995-2005 period, which met, on average, all commitments.
As announced in the Notice of Intent to regulate released on October 21, 2006, the Minister of Transport will develop and implement new regulations, under the Railway Safety Act, to take effect following the expiry of the MOU in 2010. Access the complete text of the Notice of Intent here.
Comment: Are there specific federal regulations regarding locomotive emission targets?
Currently, there are no federal regulations regarding locomotive emissions or emissions targets. However, as announced in the Notice of Intent, the Minister of Transport will develop and implement new regulations, under the Railway Safety Act, to take effect following the expiry of the MOU in 2010.
Comment: How are the "best practices" for the RAC being determined?
Best practices will be identified by the RAC. Best practices will reduce smog-forming and/or greenhouse gas emissions.
Comment: Does Environment Canada plan to evaluate these practices?
The annual report prepared by the RAC will list and explain these practices. The success of these practices will also be demonstrated in the annual report, which will be reviewed by the Management Committee.
Comment: What date is being placed on the upgrade of high-horsepower locomotives?
It is a current practice of the major railways to upgrade high-horsepower locomotives and they will continue to do so under the MOU.
Comment: Will any of the rail GHG emission targets be compared to those of other industries?
The GHG emission targets were not developed in comparison to those of other industries. These targets are specific to the rail industry and, with respect to major freight railways. Class I freight, broadly align with voluntary targets in the US. GHG targets for the other railways are unique to Canada.
Comment: Will achievement dates be required as a part of the RAC GHG reduction action plan?
The purpose of the action plan is to set out actions that RAC and its members will undertake to attain the GHG targets. RAC will prepare, and make public, an annual report by December 31st of each year, which will describe the performance under this MOU and will contain an annual progress report and summary of the actions undertaken towards meeting targets in GHG emissions.
Comment: Why are medium-horsepower locomotives not required to be upgraded before 2010?
The MOU is an interim measure prior to the implementation of emissions regulations in 2011. As announced in the Notice of Intent, the government is committed to developing emissions regulations that will build upon this MOU and ensure that Canadian standards are consistent with the world-leading requirements of the US EPA. EPA regulations apply to all locomotives operated by major railways. The Government is supporting the MOU to secure emissions reductions starting today. Indeed, by 2010, emissions of smog-forming pollutants are anticipated to be reduced by 15 percent.
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