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Caterpillar penalized for Clean Air Act violations

29 July 2011

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with Caterpillar Inc. to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations for shipping more than 590,000 highway and non-road diesel engines without the correct emissions controls. Caterpillar also allegedly failed to comply with emission control reporting and engine-labeling requirements. Caterpillar will pay a $2.55 million penalty, continue a recall of noncompliant engines and reduce excess emissions.

The state of California, through the Air Resources Board, is also settling its claims for violations arising from the sale of improperly configured engines in California. California will receive $510,000 of the civil penalty.

Caterpillar allegedly shipped over 590,000 engines to vehicle assemblers without the aftertreatment devices (ATDs) and/or with improperly configured fuel injector and map settings. In some cases, the mis-configured engines were incorporated into vehicles which resulted in excess emissions of NOx and PM, said EPA.

The consent decree requires Caterpillar to continue its recall of non-compliant engines to install the correct ATDs and correct the fuel injector and fuel map settings. In addition to the recall, Caterpillar will mitigate the effects of the excess emissions from its engines through permanent retirement of banked emission credits.

In a similar case last year, the EPA penalized Cummins for shipping engines without ATDs. Shipping engines without aftertreatment devices had been a common practice in the heavy-duty engine and vehicle industry. As the ATDs are typically integrated with the vehicle’s exhaust system rather than with the engine, the practice of shipping them from the exhaust system manufacturer directly to the engine buyer simplified the logistics.

Source: US EPA