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Mack, EPA enter talks

June 27, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

Mack Trucks Inc. and other major diesel manufacturers have started talks with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to avoid a date in court, the company said Friday.

The talks involve the level of nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines over certain driving conditions - the central issue of a lawsuit filed by the federal government against Mack.

The federal government alleges that Mack engine's injection timing device is designed in such a way that illegally high levels of nitrogen oxide emitted on the highway don't show up on the federal emissions test.

Mack contends that while the systems might have the "incidental effect" of increasing nitrogen oxide levels under highway driving conditions, they're designed to increase fuel efficiency.

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Mack filed its own lawsuit against the government in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, challenging the EPA's allegations and contending that the injection-timing system performs the same on the test as it does on the highway.

Mack has said the penalties being sought by federal government in its suit, which include engine recalls, fines and other steps it must take to prevent pollution, are so great they would put the company out of business.

Mack Trucks, a subsidiary of Renault, S.A., employs about 4,800 workers, including about 1,200 in its Hagerstown engine and transmission manufacturing plant on Pennsylvania Avenue.

While the talks between Mack and the EPA continue, the two have agreed not to actively pursue the suits, the company said in a news release. Both Mack and the EPA have agreed not to publicly disclose the substance or progress of the discussions, the release said.

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