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EPA loses legal battle over Navistar’s EGR engine

The Environmental Protection Agency lost a legal battle over Navistar engines

The Environmental Protection Agency lost a legal battle last week when a federal appeals court agreed with several long-haul truck manufactures that the agency shouldn’t have let Navistar sell certain engines. Specifically, Fleetowner reports that the ruling says that the EPA should not have allowed the company to continue selling its MaxxForce advanced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) diesel engines subject to non-conformance penalties (NCPs) even though they did not meet the agency’s standards for oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

The decision will unlikely effect Navistar because in 2012, the company made the move to switch the select catalytic reduction (SCR), and according to Fleetowner, it has completed the transition to SCR for all of its Class 8 products.

The complaint alleged that throughout the period, Navistar issued “materially false and misleading statements” regarding its business and financial prospects. Specifically, it says that Navistar's attempted methods to achieve compliance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions guidelines had failed and Navistar would be forced to revise its plan to meet them, incurring enormous costs to the company. NCPs have been an option under EPA regulations for more than 25 years, but they had always applied to emission standards that had to be achieved in the future. The longstanding NCP rule required, among other things, an EPA finding that substantial work will be required to meet the standard.

In response, EPA’s final rule declared that the substantial work criterion “is to be evaluated based on the total amount of work needed to go from meeting the previous standard to meeting the current standard, regardless of the timing of such changes.” EPA also redefined “substantial work” from including the application of “technology not previously used in an engine or vehicle class or subclass” to including “technology that was not generally used in an engine or vehicle class or subclass to meet standards prior to the implementation of the new or revised standard.” And EPA got around the “will be” versus “was” problem by stating that substantial work “is required.”

Recently, the International trucking company said the it’s hitting the ‘reset’ button with scores of recent lawsuits and other litigation it has been marred in. “We really feel like our competitors are telling our story instead of us, and we want to change that,” Jack Allen, North American Truck Group President for Navistar, during a meeting at Navistar’s headquarters in Lisle, Ill., with editors from Randall-Reilly Publishing Co., publisher of Overdrive.

“So we started early back in 2000 building engines that allowed us to stockpile credits because we knew we’d have a race against time on our hands to get to the EPA’s 2010 NOX requirement of .2 grams before those credits expired,” Allen explained in the interview that ran in “And it really surprised us how loud our competition screamed about our efforts. They were scared to death.”

In the end, “Our EPA credits ran out before we could get the technology perfected,” he said. “The angst in the marketplace was starting to become overwhelming. So we’re going to move forward.”


For more on EPA compliance, read these InsideCounsel articles:

Compliance: How to comply with the EPA’s final industrial wipes standard

Compliance: Supreme Court consideration of greenhouse gas decision a mixed bag

Compliance: Pending vapor intrusion regulations threaten commercial real estate

Contributing Author

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Alexis Harrison

Alexis Harrison is a Connecticut-based writer and public relations professional whose career spans both print journalism and broadcast news. Alexis started her professional life as...

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