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EPA To Fine Diesel Engine Makers

October 22, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to impose a record $185 million in fines against diesel truck engine makers to settle claims they violated clean air standards, published reports said.

A lawsuit alleges the companies equipped their engines with devices that insured they’d run cleaner in federal emissions tests than when the vehicles were actually on the road.

The settlement, reported today by the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, also would force the companies to introduce cleaner engines, which could cost nearly $1 billion, and significantly reduce pollution from diesel trucks.

Up to one million trucks are involved in the suit, some emitting as much as twice the legal limit of pollution, The New York Times said. They were built in the last 10 years by seven companies including Mack Trucks, Cummins Engine Co., Detroit Diesel, the Navistar International Transportation Company, Caterpillar, Renault and Volvo.

It was unclear which of the makers would be covered by the settlement.

Word of the possible deal upset both trucking companies and environmentalists, who said such a deal would be too lenient because makers won’t have to repair the trucks.

Walter B. McCormick Jr., president of the American Trucking Association predicted in a letter to President Clinton that the changes in new engines would wreak havoc on the industry.

He asked Clinton to block the settlement because it ``will have a devastating effect on the economy, the environment and energy security in the next 12 months,″ the Los Angeles Times said.

Under the settlement, the companies would agree to make all engines after October 2002 meet emission standards that were supposed to take effect in 2004.

Diesel engines have become a major source of smog and acid rain, especially in the Northeast and California.

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