Engine makers don’t see Canada’s smoke signals

TORONTO (March 10) — Three of six engine manfacturerers alleged to have violated emissions rules are not aware of any effort by Transport Canada to negotiate a settlement on the matter.

Transport Canada said it contacted Caterpillar, Cummins Engine, Detroit Diesel, Mack Trucks, Navistar International, and Volvo Trucks last November, shortly after the companies agreed to spend more than $1 billion US to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Dept. of Justice that they used “defeat devices” to circument government pollution rules.

Lui Hrobelsky, chief of energy and emissions engineering at Transport Canada, said that in some cases the department had spoken with outside legal counsel for the companies, in others with the companies directly.

Representatives of several engine manufacturers were puzzled by the statement.

“We’re not in discussions with the Canadian government,” said David Koppenhofer, director of marketing strategies at Cummins. “I’ve spoken with the people at this company who ought to know, including our chief legal counsel, and they know of no formal negotiations on any sort of settlement with Transport Canada.”

Volvo Trucks also is not engaged in discussions with Transport Canada, according to public relations specialist Phil Romba. “We’ve heard nothing from them,” he said.

A spokesperson for Detroit Diesel declined comment because she was not aware of any negotiations with Transport Canada.

Caterpillar, Mack, and Navistar officials were not available for comment.

Hrobelsky said Transport Canada wants to “arrive at a Canadian solution that has the same results as what has been agreed to in the United States. How exactly that will translate into action has yet to be determined.”

The settlement with the EPA requires the manufacturers to collectively pay $83.4 million in fines and spend another $959 million on research and development of new cleaner engines.

The manufacturers must also meet 2004 emissions targets, which cut emissions by 80% compared to current levels, by Oct. 1, 2002 — 15 months sooner than planned. EPA did not order a recall of existing engines, but engine makers are responsible for fixing pollution-control software when engines are rebuilt.

Heavy-duty emissions regulations in Canada mirror those in the United States.

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