Cummins settles dispute through fine, recall

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Cummins recently paid nearly $1.1 million and agreed to recall 11,600 engines for allegedly violating its 1998 agreement with the California Air Resources Board to perform clean air projects and certify its engines to reduce smog-forming emissions, CARB announced.

“We are very pleased that Cummins is taking steps to reduce excess emissions from the heavy-duty engines in question, and that they are cooperating by instituting recalls and retiring emissions credits,” said Catherine Witherspoon, CARB executive officer.

Among the violations of the 1998 agreement alleged by CARB, Cummins obtained state certification for 11,600 heavy-duty engines equipped with emissions control systems that did not meet emissions requirements, omitted 26,347 engines from eligibility for the chip reflash program, and failed to complete work on and to submit reports for agreed-upon emissions reduction projects in a timely manner, CARB said.

CARB investigated these alleged violations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which entered parallel agreements to settle them. In addition to paying the penalties, Cummins is required to recall the 11,600 engines nationwide that did not meet state emissions requirements, CARB announced.

Cummins also will retire emissions credits from further use. Emissions credits are a market mechanism created to help industries meet emissions standards. They are bought, sold and traded by refineries, power plants and other emissions sources. Cummins is reimbursing the equivalent of 979 tons of nitrogen oxide to compensate for the excess tons generated by the prohibited emissions control devices, and 1,042 tons of NOx for its noncompliance with the earlier settlement agreement, CARB announced.

All monies are being paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund.

The seven heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturers, including Cummins, entered into an agreement with CARB in 1998 and paid their civil penalties at the time. Some manufacturers since have paid additional penalties. In addition to the recent Cummins fine, Caterpillar paid $8 million and Detroit Diesel $43,375 for violations of the ’98 agreement. Caterpillar missed a certification target on certain engines, and DDC had an improper emissions-control device on some engines.

Mack, Navistar/International, Renault and Volvo have not violated the terms of the ’98 agreement and have incurred no additional penalties, according to CARB.