EPA last week issued a final rule implementing a manufacturers'' supported program to significantly reduce diesel emissions from heavy-duty trucks and buses.
The program deals exclusively with cleaner engines. Under this program, diesel truck and bus engines will be required to emit 50 percent less oxides of nitrogen beginning in 2004.
In response to manufacturers'' requests, EPA is expected to finalize later this year a separate program to significantly improve the quality of diesel fuel, thus enabling another significant reduction in diesel engine emissions.
The Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) announced their support of the 50 percent reduction.
"This ruling is the product of over five years of hard work and cooperation between the diesel industry, the California Air Resources Board and EPA," said Glenn Keller, EMA executive director. "The standards for heavy-duty engines that the agency has developed with industry support are technically challenging but achievable."
However, EMA remains concerned about the inclusion of supplemental testing requirements that will not take effect until 2007.
"We believe that the inclusion of these requirements in the final 2004 rule is premature," said Keller. "Not only would further work on the supplemental requirements have yielded a more effective program, but these requirements won''t be applied until the adoption of new rules and emissions control strategies that are part of the on-going EPA rulemaking. EPA should not separate out test procedures and emission standards in different rulemakings."
With regard to speculation that the final ruling will allow the manufacturers to renege on 1998 consent decrees with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Keller said, "the final 2004 regulations have nothing to do with the on-going dialogue between some consent decree companies and federal officials regarding engine certification procedures. That is a completely separate matter."
Keller noted that engine manufacturers said they remain committed to working with government to assure a cleaner environment.
"We are proud of our record of improving the environment and remain confident that our industry can produce reliable, durable, fuel efficient, high performing diesel engines that are as clean or cleaner than any other power source," said Keller.
by Virginia Sutcliffe