The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have announced a settlement with Detroit Diesel Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America, that resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for selling heavy-duty diesel engines that were not certified by the EPA and did not meet applicable emission standards.
Under the settlement, Detroit Diesel will spend $14.5 million on projects to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and other pollutants, including replacing high-polluting diesel school buses and locomotive engines with models that meet current emissions standards. Further, Detroit Diesel will also pay a $14 million civil penalty.
The government’s complaint alleges that Detroit Diesel violated the CAA by introducing into commerce 7,786 heavy-duty diesel engines for use in trucks and buses in model year 2010 without a valid EPA-issued certificate of conformity demonstrating conformance with CAA standards to control NOx emissions.
The complaint also alleges that the engines did not conform to emission standards applicable to model year 2010 engines. The school bus and locomotive replacement projects will reduce ambient air levels of NOx and other pollutants. In addition, the school bus program will improve air quality inside school buses by reducing exposure to diesel exhaust. Detroit Diesel intends to target areas for the replacement projects that do not meet CAA standards for certain air pollutants and areas with low-income communities.
“This case demonstrates the critical importance of EPA’s vehicle and engine certification program to achieving the goals of the Clean Air Act,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the DOJ’s environment and natural resources division. “By not certifying the engines in accordance with the rules, Detroit Diesel Corp. increased pollution and undercut competitors. We will uphold the integrity of that program by holding accountable those that skirt the rules.”
The CAA requires manufacturers to obtain a certificate of conformity demonstrating compliance with emission standards before introducing an engine into commerce. Certificates of conformity cover only those engines produced within a single model year. A model year for a family of engines ends either when the last such engine is produced or on Dec. 31 of the calendar year for which the model year is named, whichever date is sooner.
The complaint alleges that Detroit Diesel commenced construction of the heavy-duty diesel engines during model year 2009 but did not complete construction of the engines until calendar year 2010. Because Detroit Diesel completed all manufacturing and assembling processes for the engines in 2010, the complaint alleges that the engines were produced in 2010 and required a certificate of conformity demonstrating compliance with 2010 emission standards. From approximately Jan. 5, 2010, through approximately June 1, 2010, Detroit Diesel sold engines that were not certified to the more stringent 2010 NOx emission standards for on-highway use in heavy-duty vehicles, resulting in excess emissions.
Under the consent decree, Detroit Diesel will be required to spend a total of $14.5 million on clean diesel projects, including the following:
Replacing older, high-polluting school buses with new school buses that meet current, more-protective emissions standards. The amount to be spent on this project is $10.875 million.
Replacing or repowering high-polluting switch locomotives, which are locomotives used in ports to move goods short distances. The amount to be spent on this project is $3.625 million.
Detroit Diesel is also required to post data and information about the clean diesel projects on a public website.
The EPA says the consent decree was lodged in the District Court for the District of Columbia. Notice of the lodging will appear in the Federal Register, allowing for a public comment period of not less than 30 days before the consent decree can be entered as final judgment. The agency says the $14 million civil penalty is due 30 days after the effective date of the consent decree.