from House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL)
to postpone the Oct. 1, 2002, heavy-duty truck engine emission
deadline, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it will
not delay the rule.
Land Line Magazine the Oct. 1 deadline will not be changed. An
agency spokeswoman said, however, the schedule and amount of penalties
Caterpillar Inc. must pay has not been determined.
is facing stiff penalties because it decided not to meet the deadline
for compliance in favor of taking more time to pursue its own
approach to making cleaner diesel engines. But the company said
EPA has proposed a sliding-scale penalty system of fines of $4,680
to $15,000 per truck that are three times as great as originally
drawn into the dispute by Caterpillar of Peoria, IL, a leading manufacturer
of diesel engines and also a campaign contributor, largely to Republicans,
The Washington Post reports. Caterpillar's headquarters and main
engine plant are located in LaHood's district.
1998, the EPA and Justice Department announced a settlement in
which the enginemakers agreed to pay a combined $83.4 million
in fines and to move up a deadline for producing cleaner-burning
engines from January 2004 to October 2002.
Caterpillar and Detroit Diesel Corp. have petitioned a federal
court in Washington, DC, for a one-year delay in the new rule.
And Rep. Mac Collins (R-GA), a former trucking company owner,
and others said they'll find a way to sidetrack the regulation
or soften the penalties unless the administration relents.
new rule, nitrogen oxide emissions, which are said to cause acid
rain and upper respiratory diseases, would be reduced by 1.2 million
tons within the program's first year.
-- Dick Larsen, senior editor