EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman met July 11 with 33 congressional members who requested a one-year delay of the October 1, 2002 deadline for manufacturers to build cleaner diesel engines.
In a letter requesting a meeting with Whitman, the legislators said: "To date, the companies that have an EPA-certified engine that meets the new standard have only a handful of engines out for field testing.
"Unless our trucking industry is given lead time to field and test new equipment, (it) will not purchase these new engines, resulting in thousands of layoffs across the country. A one-year delay of the new emission standard would allow time for adequate field tests of complaint engines."
An EPA spokeswoman told Land Line July 12 that "EPA continues to believe the consent decree (which stipulated the October 1, 2002 deadline) should be implemented as scheduled."
However, it should be noted that other factors could change the October date. For example, various groups through petitions and lawsuits have asked the White House and EPA to delay the October timetable. In addition, political pressure is mounting to delay the regulations. What's more, Caterpillar Inc. has sued Cummins - the only engine maker with an EPA certified engine - claiming the engine does not in fact meet the new standard.
--Dick Larsen, senior editor