Days after they were told by the EPA and the Justice Department that the consent decrees they signed in 1998 would be enforced, three of the engine makers that signed them said they fully intend to comply with the U.S. Government’s directive.

The agencies sent letters to the engine makers last week, stating that the October 2002 date they agreed to will stand. The manufacturers had agreed to produce engines meeting the 2.5 g/bhp-hr standard for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) by October 2002.

Cummins Inc., Detroit Diesel Corp. (DDC) and Caterpillar Inc. all responded to the letters they received from the EPA and Justice Department.

DDC and Caterpillar both said they will comply with the deadline, but Cummins went further, stating it will have engines ready for sale by the deadline.

Caterpillar said Friday it is still in negotiations with the EPA, but fully intends to comply with the terms of the consent decrees.

Unlike the other manufacturers, who said they would use exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) to meet the tighter 2002 EPA emission limits on heavy-duty diesel engines, Cat said in March it would employ its new, patented advanced combustion emissions reduction technology (ACERT) on engines it builds starting in the fourth quarter of 2003.

“We have committed to the EPA and are going to make all of our commitments to achieve the level of reduction in emissions that we have committed to,” said John Campbell, truck engine products director in Caterpillar's performance engine products division. “What we are doing is working within the flexibility of those agreements we have with those regulatory agencies.”

Tim Tindall, director of emissions engineering for DDC, said discussions have been ongoing between the manufacturers and the agencies.

"The main concern is the desire for additional testing to ensure the commercial acceptability of the new lower emitting engines,” Tindall said. “Our discussions with the government have been about alternative methods to capture the full environmental benefits anticipated while still allowing flexibility to assure market acceptance."

Tindall said DDC has always had plans in place to introduce engines with new emissions technologies by October 2002, and already has begun the installation of new engine manufacturing facilities that will cost in excess of $136 million.

In April, Cummins declared that it would meet the consent decree deadlines, which will result in an additional 38% reduction in NOx emissions from current emissions standards for all on-highway products.

"We have invested considerable resources to meet our commitments, and are confident that our development of emissions control technologies, coupled with our OEM partnerships, will allow us to provide customers with a reliable, durable product that contributes to a cleaner, healthier, safer environment," said Tim Solso, Cummins chairman & CEO.