Engine makers challenge Navistar on SCR
Most suppliers of heavy-duty diesel engines that will rely on selective catalytic reduction in 2010 are opposing Navistar’s legal challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s certification requirements for SCR.
On June 1, Cummins, Daimler Trucks North America, Detroit Diesel, Mack Trucks and Volvo Group North America filed documents with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit opposing Navistar’s position.
Navistar on March 31 filed its challenge in a federal appeals court to EPA’s Feb. 18 certification requirements for heavy-duty engines using SCR. On May 4, the truck maker submitted a statement of issues to the D.C. Circuit raising the question of whether EPA can adopt the 2009 SCR guidance without a rulemaking proceeding.
Navistar noted that EPA’s 2001 rule established a 0.2-gram nitrogen oxides standard for all 2010 model trucks; it also found SCR not to be a feasible technology to meet the standard. Navistar charges that the 2009 SCR guidance relaxes the 0.2 gram standard and approves a technology that EPA in 2001 concluded would not allow the standard to be met on a fleetwide basis.
The Feb. 18 document provides guidance to manufacturers on various issues surrounding SCR, including several related to the required diesel exhaust fluid. Navistar’s challenge appears to rest on the notion that EPA is allowing SCR-equipped trucks to be operated for a number of miles or hours – albeit at significantly reduced torque – without DEF, with poor-quality DEF or with a partially inoperable SCR system.
“There is absolutely no benefit to society, customers or the environment in the approach Navistar has deliberately chosen to confuse this very important issue,” says Volvo spokesman Jim McNamara.
– Jill Dunn and Avery Vise
Highway funding almost depleted
Money for current highway construction will run out in August unless Congress approves up to $7 billion more, according to the Obama administration.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said June 2 the administration has told senators the Federal Highway Trust Fund will need an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion to maintain existing construction projects.
The administration said another $8 billion to $10 billion will be needed for the year ending Sept. 30, 2010.
Reduced driving since 2007 has cut federal gas tax revenue, which is the primary source of highway fund money. Some members of Congress have proposed increasing the federal gas tax, which has been at 18.4 cents a gallon since the 1990s.
Trust fund money is separate from the $48 billion in transportation projects included in the economic stimulus program.
Last year, Congress approved an emergency transfer of $8 billion in general treasury money to make up a projected shortfall in the fund – the first time in the program’s history that had happened.
The Federal Highway Trust Fund began with the start of the federal interstate highway program in 1956.
– Staff Reports
Coalition backs higher weight
More than 100 shippers and other parties on June 8 launched the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, urging Congress to raise the federal vehicle weight limit on U.S. interstates.
CTP supports the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 (H.R. 1799), which would increase the interstate weight limit that it says would improve productivity and allow for safer highways, a cleaner environment and a stronger economy.
H.R. 1799, introduced by Reps. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), would authorize states to allow trucks with a gross weight of up to 97,000 pounds to operate on interstate highways within their state, provided that trucks operating above 80,000 pounds add a sixth axle, with brakes.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced bills (S. 779, H.R. 1618) that would extend the current limit of 80,000 pounds and maximum length of 53 feet for tractor-trailer trucks on interstates to the National Highway System. The NHS covers some 160,000 miles of highway, while interstates represent 44,000 miles.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are backing the Lautenberg-McGovern bill, citing safety and infrastructure concerns.
– Staff Reports
Overdrive wins six awards
Overdrive won six editorial and design awards in the American Society of Business Publications competition. First, second and third-place honors in each category are being announced at regional and national banquets this summer.
A seventh award was won by Overdrive’s Custom Rigs in the New Publication category at the national level.
Overdrive’s two national awards are for its Spec Guide, in the Annual Buyer’s Guide category, and Channel 19, in the Humorous/Fun/Human Interest category.
Overdrive’s four regional awards are for:
· The “One bite at a time” feature, in the Opening Page/Spread Photo category.
· Viewpoint, in the Editorial category.
· Dollars & Sense, in the Regular Column, Staff Written category.
· Gauges, in the Regular Department category.
– Staff Reports
Yanke driver named Highway Angel
N. Yanke Transfer driver Richard Rossnagel was selected as a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for assisting the victims of an overturned SUV.
On Dec. 27, 2008, Rossnagel was on Highway 71 in Emo, Ontario, when an SUV passed him and another tractor-trailer. Soon the SUV driver lost control on the icy road and swerved into a ditch. Rossnagel and the other truck driver found a mother and daughter inside the vehicle, strapped into their seatbelts. The drivers remained with the two women until the police and an ambulance arrived.
In recent years, Rossnagel has assisted other motorists with car fires and an elderly couple whose car was leaking fuel. Rossnagel received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch, while Yanke Transfer received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
– Staff Reports
Win a custom truck
Overdrive’s Custom Rigs magazine is giving away an International 9400 Aug. 22 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.
To register for the drawing, fill out and mail the card between Pages 12 and 13 of this issue. Or you can register online at www.customrigsmag.com. Subscribers to Custom Rigs will be automatically entered.
The truck has a Reliabilt replacement engine from Detroit Diesel with a three-year/300,000 mile warranty. Other specs include: new Alcoa polished aluminum wheels, new Michelin tires, including X-one singles on the rear axles, dual chrome 6-inch exhaust pipes, full polished stainless steel rear fenders and frame covers, 18-inch chrome wrap-around front bumper with stainless lower spoiler, full custom interior, dual swivel seats, 26-inch flat-panel TV, custom stainless sun visor and decorative fiberglass fifth wheel cover.
– Staff Reports
Among the many stops the Shell Rotella Road Show tractor-trailer will make through this fall are the Truckers Jamboree in Walcott, Iowa, July 9-10, and The Great America Trucking Show in Dallas, Aug. 20-22. In addition to information about Rotella oils, the show features a movie with scenes of extreme trucking in Australia, Pikes Peak and the Canadian Arctic. For the full schedule, visit www.rotella.com.
Canada considers EOBR standard
The Canadian Trucking Alliance said the nation’s Council of Deputy Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety has responded to a request from CTA and the provincial trucking associations to create a standard for electronic onboard recorders by directing the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators to proceed, rather than wait for the United States, as Canada has done since 2006.
In 2006, Transport Canada issued a discussion paper that concluded there were no insurmountable challenges to introducing an EOBR mandate in Canada. However, rather than start then, the Canadian governments decided to wait six months to see what the United States was going to do.
In 2007, FMCSA issued a notice of proposed EOBR rulemaking. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance called the rules too weak and told the FMCSA to adapt a universal EOBR mandate.
The issue heated up again in December when, at an EOBR meeting in Minneapolis, then FMCSA chief administrator John Hill said the final rule would expand the NPRM’s scope and that it likely would evolve as a universal mandate. In January, under the Obama administration, FMCSA withdrew its rule for further review.
– Staff Reports
Court upholds drug test observation rule
A federal appeals court upheld a 2008 U.S. Department of Transportation rule requiring direct observation of transportation workers during drug testing.
On May 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against BNSF Railway Co. and some transportation unions that had petitioned the court to review the rule modified to prevent cheating.
Petitioners had argued that direct observation of drug testing violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the Fourth Amendment.
Circuit Judge David Tatel, in writing the opinion, said the federal policy is neither arbitrary nor capricious.
– Jill Dunn
Mexican trucking group sues U.S. for $6 billion
Mexico’s National Cargo Transportation Association (Canacar) said June 1 it is suing the United States for $6 billion because of its refusal to allow Mexican haulers onto its roads as required under the North American Free Trade Agreement. About 4,500 Mexican trucking companies are involved in the lawsuit, according to Canacar.
The omnibus appropriations bill signed by Obama March 11 included a ban on funding for the Bush administration’s cross-border program, which began in September 2007 and allowed the U.S. Department of Transportation to select a limited number of Mexican and U.S. fleets to do business beyond the border zone.
Mexico imposed higher tariffs on about 90 U.S. exports, such as fruits and industrial goods, worth an estimated $2.4 billion. Mexico said it would remove the tariffs as soon as the United States drops the trucking ban.
Mexico’s government asked Obama to permit all of the country’s tractor-trailers to operate across the border, a Mexican Transportation Department official said. A consortium of 140 U.S. business and other groups urged Obama to settle the dispute.
– Staff Reports
Affected trucks include model year 2008-2018 Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 4700, 4900, 5700 and 6900 trucks. DTNA says after hard brake applications, the brake light pressure switch may not activate the brake lights with the light application of the brake pedal.