Caterpillar settles Clean Air Act case

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Justice Department announced a settlement with Caterpillar to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations for shipping more than 590,000 highway and non-road diesel engines without the correct emissions controls.

Caterpillar also allegedly failed to comply with emission control reporting and engine-labeling requirements, the EPA said. Caterpillar will pay a $2.55 million penalty, continue a recall of non-compliant engines and reduce excess emissions.

“The enforcement of vehicle emissions standards, labeling and reporting requirements is critical to protecting the air we breathe and ensuring that companies play by the rules,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a statement. “Today’s settlement will protect public health and create a level playing field for companies that meet their environmental obligations.”

California, through its Air Resources Board, is also settling its claims for violations arising from the sale of improperly configured engines in that state. California will receive $510,000 of the civil penalty.

The settlement was lodged Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

Caterpillar, in a statement, said it fully cooperated with the EPA, the California Air Resources Board and the Justice Department.

“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,” the company said. “Caterpillar is committed to following the terms of the decree.”


10 comments on “Caterpillar settles Clean Air Act case

  1. Jim

    So Caterpillar denies any wrongdoing, big surprise. I find it hard to believe that a major engine building company can’t understand EPA rules. This makes for unfair competition for the compliant engine companies and dirty air for the rest of us. Caterpillar has been playing loose with its marketing and I am happy that they finally had to pay for it. I would bet that the fines and punishment don’t come close to the extra profits Caterpillar made cheating the system.

  2. Exhausted

    Jim, have you ever had to work with the EPA regs? I have different interpretations of the rules from EPA regulators working in the same office! Don’t be so quick to assume that companies purposely ignore the rules for the sake of profit. Most spend a lot of time and effort trying to comply, but it is not always easy to do so.

  3. siboatyard

    The issue is considerably more complex than writer #1 alleges. I am a member of the San Diego Port Tenants Association Environmental Committee. I severed many years representing recreational boaters on the advisory board for the CA Air Resources Board’s local district. Our SDPTA committee chair and SD Port advisor is a Caterpillar official. He is a highly educated scientist, former ARB enforcer and a much respected environmental professional in our community. He and many of us spend countless hours making sense of air, water, waste and health laws, regulations and procedures. Often competing government agencies work far fewer hours at cross purposes creating a labyrinth of unimaginable and unobtainable requirements, which they don’t fully understand themselves. Our boatyard has many times settled alleged violations rather than spend ten or one hundred times as much fighting for what was right.

  4. Gary Arthur

    Caterpillar produces one of the finest products made in the US and competes on a global level against companies in China, Russia and other third-world markets where there are NO pollution laws to impede commerce. Here in the US, we make it a practice to handicap our manufacturing so that they are almost guaranteed to fail on the world market because of the governmental restrictions placed on the products. The EPA is nothing but pure politics–the US needs jobs; good manufacturing jobs–and Caterpillar provides those jobs to Americans, not Asians. Because of the left-wing radical environmental agenda prevalent in Washington DC today, the US can no longer compete in the world market with country-financed manufacturing in the third world. Wake up, America–we need to be competitive and the EPA is a major impediment to our economy.

  5. Mike Joyce

    That’s the thanks they get for trying to help the Obama Administration. CAT was one of the first blue chips to try to say something positive about Obama.

  6. AnonymousBob


    Well, you’re welcome to move to those third world countries that have NO pollution regulations. When you develop premature lung and skin cancer from the resulting carcinogens in the air, please don’t come back to the US for health care.
    As to American products failing on the global stage, your vision is truly myopic. Caterpillar (you know, CAT, as in the CAT in this article) realized huge overseas sales the last couple years due to the growth in developing countries. Now, in my rudimentary economic knowledge, I don’t exactly think record sales and profits generated from overseas sales is actually “failure on the world market”. Your overt politically biased unelightened statement is countered by facts. Not that I would expect facts to figure in any of your thought processes based on your post, but I thought you should know they exist.

  7. CP

    CAT has 59 factories overseas and 51 factories in the U.S. Be careful with your praise, Gary. The EPA has proven that they will not put themselves out of business, so we’ll end up with engines in the future that emit cleaner air than they intake. Does the technology exist? No, but that is what the government will force engine companies to do to stay in the marketplace. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the regulations however, it is good to see that the laws are being enforced. $2.55M for 590,000 non-compliant engines really seems like a pittance, though…

  8. john ennis

    Gary is a perfect example of a person who puts the dollar bill before human health. If we do it his way we revert back to the pollution that choked this nation during the last century and caused many deadly health problems that have now been eliminated or greatly reduced.Sounds like a bottoms up for the Tea Cup.

  9. Pat

    At about $4.32 per engine it was cheap at twice the price for CAT to keep the plants running and people employed and best yet sales being made to retain CAT’s sales levels and their market share in the global market of which the USA is only a part of the Cat global strategy. We need to keep the “CATs” of our USA economy spending this kind of “political payola” money to the various departments of our government so they can continue to get around those departments’ crazy rules that other manufacturers do not comply with in other parts of the world economy.

  10. MJ

    “It’s the fuel stupid”.When the government regulated fuel(ultra-low sulfa diesel) What happened ?
    1..Prices went up 4..Engine life cut up to 40%
    2..Emissions went up 5..Performance went down
    3..Operating cost went up

    Cat, Cummings,Detroit and Rools Roice, didn’t forget how to make an engine !!
    Thanks fon nothing EPA !

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