U.S. oil refiners said this week that they will sue EPA to change diesel rules they say are too strict and threaten consumers with shortages and higher prices.
The rules released last month by the Clinton Administration are aimed at dramatically cutting air pollution from heavy-duty trucks and buses by more than 90 percent over the next decade.
The rules are to take effect in 2006.
Under the rules, refiners would have to cut sulphur in diesel fuel to 15 parts per million (ppm) compared to current levels of 500 ppm.
The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), the leading refiners association, said it is suing in order to prevent future diesel shortages.
"We think it''s a bad rule and we need to pursue every avenue in trying to improve it," said NRPA''s Bob Slaughter.
The group says high diesel prices will affect all consumers because trucks transport the majority of U.S. products.
NRPA has 60 days to file a suit following the publication of the new rules in the Federal Register.
President Bush''s pick to head EPA, Christine Todd Whitman, told senators at her confirmation hearing last week that she would review Clinton''s diesel rules to see if changes are needed.
by Virginia Sutcliffe