The Environmental Protection Agency issued its final non-conformance penalty rule for heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturers Aug. 1, with fines ranging from as little as several hundred dollars to more than $12,000.
The stiff penalties apply to those engine makers unable to produce engines that emit 2.5 grams or less of Nitrous Oxides and other paticulates, a standard engine makers agreed to in a legal arrangement with the EPA four years ago. Under the agreement, Caterpillar, Cummins, International Truck and Engine Company, Detroit Diesel, Mack and Volvo, pledged to speed up production of cleaner engines to Oct. 1.
Cummins and Mack have both produced engines, which the EPA says meets those standards. Other manufacturers have submitted engines for testing, but haven’t received certification yet. Caterpillar will not meet the Oct. 1 deadline. Caterpillar says it will have a fully compliant engine available by January.
For those engine makers that do not have a compliant engine, the EPA has created non-conformance penalties (NCPs) that allow the engine maker to continue producing engines while paying a fine for each engine made. According to the rule, “NCPs remedy the potential problem of having a manufacturer’s engines forced out of the marketplace due to the manufacturer’s inability to conform to new, strict emission standards in a timely manner.” At the same time, they keep manufacturers that meet the standard from being placed at a competitive disadvantage.
The penalties vary widely depending on how much extra grams of pollutants the engine emits.
The fee schedule slides upward and fees increase over time, accounting for an engine makers inability or unwillingness to comply.
Although the agency has passed its rule, legal and legislative efforts continue challenging the Oct. 1 deadline and standard. By late July, members of Congress had failed to persuade the Bush administration to delay the engine deadline. Still, lawsuits by Caterpillar and Detroit Diesel, neither of which had passed the EPA’s certification, were intact and lobbying efforts by the American Trucking Industry continued.