That’s the message from EPA on the status of a 1998 consent decree that requires manufacturers to speed up their compliance with emission rules.
Manufacturers have been talking with EPA about ways to adjust the compliance schedule. The engine builders are encountering technical difficulty making some higher horsepower engines meet the emission requirement.
As engine makers press for accommodations, EPA is under pressure from others who want the 2002 emissions deadline to be enforced no matter what.
At a public meeting on the status of the consent decree this week, EPA official Bruce Buckheit indicated that a compromise with engine makers is possible.
“We share the goal of trying to get diesel engines as clean as possible,” he said. “But none of us can change the laws of physics.”
Buckheit said he could not predict when there will be closure on the discussions.
The issue arises from the $1 billion settlement between EPA and the major diesel manufacturers over a breakdown in the emissions testing process. Part of the agreement requires six manufacturers – Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Mack, Navistar and Volvo – to take extra steps to meet the 2002 emissions requirements.