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EPA Certification

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the level of EPA certification required for a diesel engine in a transit/commuter/diesel multiple unit application?

The Environmental Protection Administration oversees all diesel engine emissions standards and related issues, including engines used in railroad locomotives. The EPA Internet Home Page may be accessed at The Office with jurisdiction is the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (formerly the Office of Mobile Sources). This Office has a "Locomotive Emissions" page. This page contains references to many regulatory documents. (Revised: May 2010)

What is the FTA's definition of “independent utility” for an environmental impact documentation process?

FTA's NEPA procedures provide:

"In order to ensure meaningful evaluation of alternatives and to avoid commitments to transportation improvements before they are fully evaluated, the action evaluated in each EIS or finding of no significant impact (FONSI) shall: 1. Connect logical termini and be of sufficient length to address environmental matters on a broad scope; 2.  Have independent utility or independent significance, i.e., be usable and be a reasonable expenditure even if no additional transportation improvements in the area are made; and 3.  Not restrict consideration of alternatives for other reasonably foreseeable transportation improvements."
23 C.F.R. Sec. 771.111(f).

Courts have also addressed the issue.  See Great Basin Mine Watch v. Hankins, 456 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2006).