EPA sues Navistar for $300 million in penalties

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Navistar’s decision years ago to meet ever-stringent emissions standards by using Advanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR, continues to bite the truck-making giant.

After spending a reported $700 million on its now failed emissions technology systems, Navistar could face at least $300 million in legal penalties from the federal government. The company says it will fight the allegations.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency filed a civil lawsuit seeking $300 million in penalties. The EPA claims Navistar made International trucks with 7,750 engines that didn’t meet 2010 federal emissions standards.

According to the Springfield News-Sun, Navistar completed 7,750 trucks in 2010. The company classified the trucks’ engines as 2009 model year engines because it began assembling them in 2009. The EPA reportedly say in the civil complaint the trucks didn’t meet 2010 federal emissions standards.

“Because (Navistar) completed manufacturing and assembling processes for the subject engines in 2010 … each and every engine was ‘produced’ in 2010 and is therefore not a model 2009 engine,” the complaint said, according to the News-Sun.

While the rest of the trucking industry met recent federal truck emissions standards by using selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, Navistar gambled that its EGR systems would improve enough to meet the regulations.

They never did, and the company exhausted emissions credits it had built up and sometimes bought. International finally abandoned the exclusive use of EGR in 2012 following the ousting of former company CEO Daniel Ustian.

The Lisle, Ill.-based truck manufacturer typically remains quiet on legal allegations. A company spokesman, however, struck back at the EPA’s claim.

“We dispute these allegations,” Steve Schrier, Navistar spokesman, told Land Line Monday.

“We believe our 2010 engine transition was appropriate, and we intend to aggressively defend our position going forward.”

“Beyond this, we don’t comment on pending litigation.”

In 2012, Navistar announced it was ceasing production of 15-liter MaxxForce diesel engines for Class 8 trucks and halting the production of all EGR-only technology in other Class 8 engines. The Environmental Protection Agency had previously notified Navistar it could be fined up to $285 million for selling back-dated engines during the 2010 engine transition and Navistar’s inability to meet federal NOx emissions standards.

Navistar is no stranger to legal battles.

In December 2014, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that 13 of 14 civil lawsuits brought against Navistar for MaxxForce engines would be consolidated into one case.

The consolidated lawsuits say Navistar’s use of Advanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation emission control system, or EGR, was defective and resulted in repeated engine failures and frequent repairs and downtime.

The consolidated lawsuits all claim the MaxxForce engines with EGR were defective, and suffered “repeated failures and fault warnings, resulting in costly and time-consuming repairs,” court documents say. Together, they will be adjudicated in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois, near both the Lisle, Ill. headquarters of Navistar and many plaintiffs.

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