By Bob Vaccaro
Published Tuesday, May 1, 2012
I know that many of you have been following the never-ending saga of the 2010 EPA engine guideline articles—a topic FireRescue has reported on in detail in the following three-part series:
- Part One: We Have a Problem, Don’t We?
- Part Two: Departments Weigh In
- Part Three: The Future of Fire Service Emissions
Well it seems that Navistar, which has been building and promoting non-selective-catalyst reduction (SCR) engines due to pollution credits from the EPA, is about to run out of those credits.
As most of you know, Navistar is the only diesel engine–builder using exhaust diesel recirculation (EGR) alone to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. All the other competitors (e.g., Detroit, Cummins, Volvo) use SCR to reduce NOx.
Last year, Navistar sued the EPA over the other manufacturers’ use of SCR technology, arguing that the EPA submitted to pressure from truck and engine makers to authorize the use of SCR and disregarded evidence that trucks could operate without an SCR system. A federal judge ruled in January that Navistar failed to prove that the SCR technology was flawed, stating that the testing submitted by Navistar resulted in contractor drivers intentionally circumventing the manufacturer-designed inducements of test vehicles. Further, the judge ruled that truck makers cannot be held responsible for deliberate misuse of SCR systems.
In the meantime, the EPA stated that it would fine the company $1,900 per engine beginning in late February if the engines didn’t comply with the 2010 standards without the credits. Navistar said it plans to introduce a new engine that meets the 2010 standards soon.
If Navistar runs out of the credits and cannot meet the EPA 2010 guidelines, the EPA could possibly force the company to stop building engines for heavy-duty trucks, which includes a large segment of the fire service business.
It will be interesting to see what happens in this case, as the last thing the government needs right now is to force a big corporation out of a big chunk of its business—particularly in this tough economic climate. Stay tuned.
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