Courts back diesel emission standards

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals has unanimously upheld the timetable for EPA regulations reducing the emissions from diesel trucks starting in 2002. According to The Washington Post, several groups had sued the EPA in court to delay the implementation of emission regulations in October this year, as well as those scheduled for 2006 and 2007. The National Petrochemical and Refiners Assn. (NPRA) in particular sought to delay the 2006 mandate for the introduction of low-sulfur fuel, seeking to reduce the sulfur content of diesel from 500 parts per million (ppm) to 50 ppm instead of the 15 ppm level demanded by the regulations. NORA is concerned that refiners do not have enough time to formulate and produce enough 15 ppm fuel to meet the 2006 deadline. However, the Bush Administration strongly supported implementation of those truck-focused emission rules, which were introduced in 1997 by the Clinton Administration following a settlement between the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) and the major truck engine manufacturers. The settlement came after accusations by the EPA and DOJ that truck engine makers had deliberately designed engine control software to turn off pollution controls at highway speed. Though the engine makers denied the accusation, they settled the case by agreeing to speed up implementation of emission reduction standards.

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