ATA Members and Lawmakers Seek Low-Emissions Delay

The American Trucking Associations, many of its carriers members and more than 70 lawmakers are lobbying Washington to delay low-emission engine regulations set to go into effect on Oct. 1.

The ATA blasted the Environmental Protection Agency for what it calls mistakes and inaccuracies in the agency’s assessments of the costs and benefits of the new engines.

Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Volvo and Mack have developed engines that use exhaust gas recirculation to meet the new standards. The engines will be available by Oct 1.

Caterpillar is using a different technology that will not be fully available until early 2003. It will be introduced in part in a bridge engine that will be ready by Oct. 1, though the company expects to pay penalties to the government on those engines because they will not completely satisfy the new emissions levels.

The ATA petition is based on “new information concerning reliability and maintenance issues, energy impacts, life-cycle costs, and their impact upon the anticipated emissions reductions.” It asks EPA to “revise the emission standards, giving appropriate consideration to cost and energy factors using the best and most current information.”

In a letter to President Bush, 345 carriers, all members of ATA, said the new engines required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency remain unproven and threaten the industry’s ability to operate efficiently.

“ATA wants the EPA, the Congress, and the White House to focus on a solution that helps protect the environment and ensures that the next generation of truck engines can deliver the freight as well as our current models,” said ATA President William Canary.

The limited testing has prompted questions about the performance, reliability, and maintenance of the new engines, according to ATA.

EPA calculations “have resulted in a rule that overstates the total amount of emissions that will be reduced and grossly underestimates the costs associated with the claimed emissions reductions,” said the ATA. ATA also said there is a “stark contrast” between EPA maintenance and repair estimates for the new engines and real costs.

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According to news reports, approximately 70 members of Congress also signed a letter to EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman in June, seeking a one-year delay of the EPA deadline

“Trucking industries are the backbone of our economy, and this new emissions standard would have devastating economic consequences,” stated the memo drafted by Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.).

“Unless our trucking industry is given lead time to field and test new equipment, they will not purchase these new engines, resulting in thousands of layoffs across the country,” the letter stated.