Court dismisses challenge to Navistar’s use of emissions credits

| October 19, 2013

A federal court on Friday dismissed a challenge from three of the world’s largest heavy truck makers aimed at voiding emissions compliance certificates granted to Navistar from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The “certificates of conformity” allowed Navistar to make and sell non-complaint model engines while being assessed a fine on each one sold.

Navistar announced last September it would no longer be making its MaxxForce 15 engine and would instead offer the Cummins ISX15 as its 15-liter spec option.
Navistar announced last September it would no longer be making its MaxxForce 15 engine and would instead offer the Cummins ISX15 as its 15-liter spec option.

The decision by a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., involved a case brought by Daimler Trucks North America and later joined by Mack Truck and Volvo Trucks North America. It originally asked a lower court to revoke certificates issued by the EPA when Navistar’s EGR engines failed to meet federal clean air regulations.

Daimler says Navistar benefited from the certificates at the expense its competitors, who pumped millions of dollars into the research, development and engineering of SCR engines that met tightening emissions standards while Navistar was allowed to sell non-compliant engines and assessed a penalty of $1,919 per truck.

The plaintiffs say voiding the certificates would open Navistar up to potential fines and lawsuits, which would divest the company of any financial gains obtained from selling non-complaint engines.

“Daimler’s rationale fails to persuade us,” Circuit Judge Karen Henderson wrote in her opinion. “Even assuming…penalties awarded to the United States Treasury could qualify as redress to Daimler, the prospect of such relief in an EPA enforcement action or citizen suit by Daimler is unduly speculative. Second, regarding Daimler’s possible pursuit of a citizen suit, the likelihood of monetary penalties is likewise speculative.”

Henderson further notes that if there were any perceived improper use of the credits, it was more the fault of the EPA than it was Navistar.

“Here, to the extent Navistar could be found to have violated the CAA by operating under certificates that subsequently were found to have been issued improperly by EPA, Navistar acted in good faith reliance on the validity of the certificates, EPA’s brief acknowledges that it considers Navistar to have acted in good faith, the violation stemmed from the agency’s failure to follow its own procedural requirements and any violation took place for a limited time before issuance of the Final Rule,” she wrote.

Henderson continues that the certificates became invalid after the completion of model year 2012 engine manufacturing, anyway. 

“With the expiration at the end of the 2012 model year, the certificates ceased to have any effect whatsoever,” and they ”can no longer profit Navistar or injure Daimler.” 

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  • Diesel Jim

    From a mechanic’s point of view, all this EPA, SCR, EGR, and whatever other BS that has come about from the gov’t sticking their nose into areas, i.e. trucks & diesels, that they have no friggin’ clue whatsoever, is a big waste of money that is driving up truck prices as well as putting independent mechanics out of business. How can a truck make money when it is in the shop 75% of the time because all this crap doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, & half the time, dealershits can’t even figure it out. Trucks today are pitiful pieces of sh*#@!!*?## that would make Rudolph Diesel roll over in his grave…

  • RACER

    The same comments below also apply to all of the electronic krap in light trucks as far as a.b.s., traction kontrol, stabilatrak, and my favorite electronik throttle bodies and gas pedals.There is no such thrill such as smashing on the loud pedal, and then having the t.p.s. switches on the throttle body fighting with the gas pedal, and as a result getting engine power cut down to a small minimum. Hey, thanks govt.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Agreed. Those probably great examples of nice idea, crappy execution. Ultimately are those additions solving a problem that does not exist? I think yes. They are unnecessary and ultimately will take away from the function of the truck…which is to get from place A to place B, safely hauling as much as possible without breaking down. To me it should be all about durability, simplicity and need. If it doesn’t help me get the job done but hinders it through unnecessary repairs or additional costs…don’t want it.

    My old man drove many many years – never had traction control, computer control nonsense. Always looked after his rig – keeping it well maintained and clean. Always came home safe and in one piece. He knew if he broke down, he could reasonably expect to be able to make the repairs right there. Can’t do that with all the electronics now. I know some of that is progress, some of it is comfort, but some of it is also not necessary and the result of regulations hurting the industry.

  • John Scott

    I bought a 2006 with a 60 series Detroit. Will need a in frame overhaul before 700,000 mile! Probably closer to 650,000. Detroit dealer said it was due to the EGR causing more heat.
    Wearing everything out sooner. So much for those million mile engines. He told me he had done In Frames on EGR engines in the 400,000 mile time frame. Really sad, but it pretty much makes any used truck a ticking money pit. Buyer beware I guess.

  • John Scott

    So we burn more fuel but its cleaner? Oxymoron?
    Sad these pencil pusher, tree huggers think they know how to save the planet. When we are all broke, does it really matter?