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13 US States consider following California in adopting NTE limits for 2005-2006 heavy-duty engines

22 November 2000

Two state air pollution organizations, the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials, have announced that 13 US states will follow California in adopting the not-to-exceed (NTE) emission limits and the supplemental steady-state testing protocol (European Stationary Cycle - ESC) for model year 2005-2006 heavy-duty diesel engines. The states are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Nevada.

California Air Resources Board (ARB) will consider the adoption of NTE limits/ESC test requirements during its December 7-8 meeting in Sacramento. Under the US Clean Air Act (CAA), California has the authority to set its own air quality regulations, more stringent than the federal standards. Other States may either comply with the federal laws or adopt the California pollution control measures.

California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Winston Hickox said, “I have asked other states to join California in adopting these requirements for 2005 and later. These new rules are needed to prevent diesel manufacturers from deliberately designing and building higher polluting trucks in those years than they will build between 2002 and 2004”.

The purpose of the NTE limits/ESC test is to avoid the possibility that engines certified on the current FTP emission test emit higher pollutant levels under driving conditions that are not sufficiently represented in the FTP procedure. Under the Consent Decrees signed in 1998 between the US government and engine manufacturers, the NTE limits/ESC test requirements are currently in place for Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Mack, Renault, and Volvo (Navistar has been excluded from the NTE/ESC requirements). These requirements will generally expire around 2004. Under the federal regulations, the NTE limits/ESC test will be required from all engine manufacturers starting in 2007. In effect, no engines certified in 2005-2006 would have to meet the NTE limits.

The adoption of federal NTE limits has been delayed until 2007, due to the regulatory stability requirements as stipulated by the CAA. Current action of the 13 states and California is designed to circumvent these CAA regulatory stability provisions. As such, it is likely to be challenged by engine manufacturers.

Caterpillar and Cummins have attempted to play the NTE/ESC issue as a bargaining chip in the debate about the EPA proposed 2007 heavy-duty emission standards. The Caterpillar/Cummins plan challenges all engine manufacturers to voluntarily meet the more stringent NTE/ESC engine emission testing requirements in 2005, rather than in 2007 as legislated by the EPA, in exchange for revised emission levels in 2007 and beyond.

The engine manufacturers presented their proposal to the EPA Administrator Browner, but the EPA said it was unwilling to consider the plan. The proposed 2007 rule, which calls for a 0.01 g/bhp-hr PM and 0.2 g/bhp-hr NOx standards and a 15 ppm sulfur cap in diesel fuel, is now in the final review process by the EPA.

Source: California ARB, Caterpillar Inc.