Clean Air Violations for Caterpillar

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Caterpillar Inc. has been ordered to recall some 590,000 highway and non-road diesel engines that don’t have the correct emissions controls and to pay about $2.6 million in fines as part of a settlement on Clean Air Act violations.

EPA announced the settlement decree filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Caterpillar also allegedly failed to comply with emission-control reporting and engine-labeling requirements. The violations occurred in engines the company shipped, to 50 original equipment manufacturers, from February 2002 to November 2006, according to the complaint filed in court.

Engines operating without proper emissions controls can emit excess nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and other air pollutants that affect people’s health, potentially causing respiratory illnesses and aggravating asthma.

Caterpillar already has started the required recalls for engines that were equipped with incorrect catalyst or incorrect fuel injector or fuel map settings between Aug. 15, 2002 and April 23, 2005, according to the consent decree.

According to the complaint the recall includes the following engines: Model Year 2002 model 3126E; MY 2003 model C12; MY 2004 and 2005 model C13; MY 2004 C9; MY 2003 model C9; MY 2003 model C15; MY 2001 and 2002 model 3406E, and MY 2001, 2002 and 2003 model 3456. Caterpillar sold 56 model year 2003, C16 and model 3456 non-road engines without an emission information label or tag affixed to the engine.

“Caterpillar shall reopen (if necessary) and continue the recalls until all such engines have been retrofitted or until Dec., 31, 2011,” the decree said.

Caterpillar declined to provide information about the number of engines yet to be repaired and the number of farm vehicles involved. Caterpillar Media Relations Representative Bridget M. Young stated to DTN: “Caterpillar fully cooperated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board and Department of Justice in this matter. As the decree indicates, Caterpillar denies any wrongdoing, but does agree that the decree represents a good faith effort between the parties to resolve their differences and avoid potentially lengthy litigation. Caterpillar is committed to following the terms of the decree.”

The EPA complaint stated about 925 of the 590,000 engines shipped to equipment manufacturers with separately shipped after-treatment and/or fuel programming software, entered use without correct assembly by the final product distributors.


As part of the settlement, Caterpillar is required to begin an investigation to find any possible emission-related defects for any model year 2006 or later engines certified by Caterpillar, according to the decree.

“Caterpillar shall determine the number of engines with a suspected emission-related defect by counting warranty claims, information from quality assurance procedures, or any other information for which good engineering judgment may indicate that an emission-related component or system may be defective,” the decree said.

In addition Caterpillar will be required to retire pollution credits on 17.6 tons of nitrogen oxides plus non-methane hydrocarbons and nearly 1 ton of particulate matter.

The company will be required to permanently retire any credits designated and/or purchased for this purpose and is unable to use the credits for any other purpose, the decree said.

Caterpillar also settled with the California Air Resources Board for “excess pollution generated” by the installation of the improper equipment, including a $510,000 fine.

The Clean Air Act requires the use of certified after-treatment devices that control engine exhaust emissions once the emissions have exited the engine and entered the exhaust system. Typical ATDs include catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters. Correct fuel injector and fuel map settings are also crucial for proper engine emission control.

 Source: DTN

Posted by Northern Ag Network

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