US EPA upholds the Consent Decree schedule
8 June 2001
Several US engine manufacturers confirmed that they received a letter from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirming the terms of the 1998 consent decrees. The government said it will not agree to change the schedule of any of the consent decrees to meet more stringent emission standards by October 2002, despite concerns raised by many manufacturers regarding the results of strict adherence to that timetable.
Tim Tindall, Director of Emissions Engineering for Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC), said, “In ongoing discussions with EPA and DOJ, and as recently as March, DDC and other consent decree manufacturers expressed concerns to the government regarding the practicality of the October 2002 date in capturing the intended environmental benefit of the consent decrees. The main concern was the desire for additional testing to ensure the commercial acceptability of the new lower emitting engines. Our discussions with the government have been about alternative methods to capture the full environmental benefits anticipated while still allowing flexibility to assure market acceptance.”
The consent decrees, signed in 1998 between the EPA, DOJ, and engine manufacturers, require that the signers produce engines meeting the US 2004 standard of 2.5 g/bhp-hr oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) by October 2002, or 15 months ahead of time.
Cummins, DDC, and Mack Trucks have announced that their engines will meet these requirements on schedule. All companies will use cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) as the prime NOx reduction technology.
“We extensively researched all technical solutions, and concluded that the only feasible technology for meeting the 2.5 gram (NOx + NMHC) levels is with exhaust gas recirculation,” said John Wall, Cummins Vice President and Chief Technical Officer. “No other option provides the benefits of fuel economy, cost, responsiveness and overall performance, and in our view, no other currently available technology can achieve a 2.5 gram (NOX + NMHC) emissions level in this timeframe.”
Caterpillar, on the other hand, announced that it will meet the 2004 standards using an undisclosed technology that does not involve cooled EGR. Caterpillar has not confirmed whether it will be able to produce 2004 compliant engines by the October 2002 deadline.
DOJ/EPA letter to Cummins (same letter sent to DDC, Caterpillar, Mack/Renault, Volvo)
Source: DDC, Cummins