Court upholds EPA consent decree

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U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy last month rejected a request from Caterpillar and Detroit Diesel that he postpone the “pull ahead” provision of the 1998 consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency on heavy-duty diesel engine emissions. The two engine makers argued that unanticipated cost increases make compliance substantially more burdensome and reduce the benefits to the public. Detroit Diesel is certifying engines in compliance with the consent decree’s Oct. 1 deadline but backed the lawsuit due to the impact of the consent decree on its customers and the economy.

Judge Kennedy also rejected separate motions from Caterpillar opposing EPA’s schedule of noncompliance penalties (NCPs) and challenging EPA’s approval of certain emissions control strategies used by some of its competitors to comply with the consent decree’s terms. Judge Kennedy’s decision is available on the Web at this site.

In a related action, Caterpillar announced layoffs of 470 full-time workers after Oct. 4 and the termination of 290 temporary employees because of decreased demand in the company’s last quarter. The reductions will be at the company’s engine plant at Mossville, Ill., and its fuel systems plant in Pontiac, said Caterpillar spokesman Carl Volz.