EPA approves stiffer penalty for Navistar engines

Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012 @ 6:01 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 @ 6:01 PM

Navistar International Corp. will be able to sell engines that do not meet 2010 emissions standards — but the company will pay a fine of up to $3,800 per engine to do so.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday night approval of the final rule, which is double the amount originally proposed. Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld its decision to block Navistar from selling engines that do not meet carbon emissions standards in exchange for a fine of around $1,900 per engine.

Navistar President and COO Tony Clarke said the EPA ruling provided clarity.

“We can now provide our dealers and customers with clarity and certainty as we transition to our clean engine technology and look forward to utilizing the final rule as needed,” Clarke said in a statement.

Navistar has a plant in Springfield that employs around 850 workers. The plant owes some of its recent growth to the production of trucks that use the heavy duty engines currently in contention.

“There’s definitely a concern there,” said Jason Barlow, president of United Auto Workers Local 402, which represents local employees. “We’ve been able to gain work and production because of the WorkStar, ProStar and TranStar, which were all originally produced at other facilities.”

After renewing a favorable contract with Local 402, Navistar hired local workers for the first time in a decade.

“If they can’t manufacture those models, it’s bad for all plants, but we want to have as much production as possible in this plant,” Barlow said.

The federal court ruling said Navistar must stop production of trucks with the noncompliant engines once it runs out of banked emissions credits, but it also allowed the EPA to come up with a final rule that would be more appropriate.

Noncompliance penalties are allowed under the Clean Air Act — which establishes the carbon emissions standards — but trucking manufacturing competitors and the court maintained the EPA’s initial $1,900 fine was unfair to those who became compliant with standards.

The EPA increased the cost of the noncompliance penalty. In the final rule document from the EPA, it says the increase in cost is mostly because of a change in fuel and diesel exhaust prices. The penalty is not meant to punish noncompliant manufacturers but to take away the competitive disadvantage compliant manufacturers face by accruing the costs associated with meeting carbon emissions standards.

The rule also states that there must be three criteria met to enact a noncompliance penalty: that the new standards are more difficult to meet, that a lot of work is required to meet them, and that there is a company unable to meet them due to technological reasons that could go out of business without the penalty.

The EPA argues that Navistar is the company that could go out of business without the penalty.

“EPA estimated that Navistar’s inability to certify any Class 8 engines early in model year 2012 would cause layoffs of thousands of Navistar employees, the loss of billions of dollars in revenue to Navistar, and negative impacts on customers and suppliers,” according to federal court documents.

National analyst Vicki Bryan verified the danger Navistar faces manufacturing noncompliant engines.

“When those (banked emissions) credits are gone, any time between now and the next few months at the latest, Navistar will be forced to stop selling all new engines and trucks in the U.S.,” said Bryan, analyst for Gimme Credit, in a report released Thursday before the new EPA rule was announced.

That could have caused production shutdowns and a loss of up to $1 billion in revenue a month. In July the company announced it would combine the technology it developed with the treatment its competitors use to ensure the heavy duty engines are compliant with emissions standards and have it ready by 2013.

Bryan called that plan “exceedingly ambitious for management to accomplish in a matter of months …”

Navistar has been plagued with problems since courts overturned the EPA rule. Since June, Navistar:

  • Stock has declined more than 50 percent and activist investors sought to gain more shares — prompting rumors of a takeover, change in management or even bankruptcy.
  • Reported two straight quarters of revenue loss including $172 million loss in second quarter 2012.
  • Was taken out of the running for a $14 billion military contract to engineer and develop 55,000 Humvees.

  • Announced a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Navistar’s finances because of concerns about disclosure and accounting.

  • CEO Dan Ustian announced his retirement effective immediately Monday. He was replaced by on an interim basis by former Textron Inc. executive Lewis Campbell.

State lawmakers pick sides on UAW efforts at Fuyao

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:57 PM
Updated: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 4:45 PM

Fuyao Glass America workers Dustin Sparkman, left, and Deraesha Stewart work as a team to clean and quality check windshields in the Moraine plant in this 2016 photo. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Fuyao Glass America workers Dustin Sparkman, left, and Deraesha Stewart work as a team to clean and quality check windshields in the Moraine plant in this 2016 photo. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Public officials are choosing sides in the United Auto Workers’ efforts to unionize the Fuyao Glass America Plant in Moraine.

Letters from officials and lawmakers in both parties are circulating, urging the company to accept unionization efforts or, alternatively, advising workers not to embrace “outside forces.”

In an “open letter” released Monday, 15 Republican lawmakers said in part:

“Unfortunately, we understand that there are outside forces trying to come into Fuyao. We are confident in Fuyao’s leadership in being able to work out all issues with you internally and quickly. This choice is up to you as employees to make. As those who represent you every day and fight for you, we urge you to reject these outside forces.”

RELATEDFuyao labor relations board hearing set for possible UAW vote

“We will stand with you and Fuyao as the company continues to grow and develop,” the letter adds. “Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.”

The letter appears over the signatures of Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miami Twp.), Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), Bill Dean (R-Xenia) and 11 other members of the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate. 

RELATEDFuyao workers seek union election: What we know now

But an earlier letter from Democrats and union supporters, dated Oct. 16, was sent to Jeff Liu, president of Fuyao Glass America.

“We believe that Fuyao has an obligation to pay fair wages, ensure a safe workplace, comply with all applicable laws, and respect workers’ right to form a union and collectively bargain, if that is what they choose,” said that letter, signed by State Rep. and Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn and 31 others, including Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland.

“We stand with the workers at Fuyao Glass, and are prepared to stand with them every step of the way as they join together to make positive changes at the plant,” that letter added.

As this news outlet first reported last week, workers at Fuyao’s Moraine plant filed with the National Labor Relations Board for a vote on whether to accept representation by the UAW.

Some workers have said the company’s management and disciplinary policies are arbitrary and unpredictable while other workers have pointed to what they say are safety problems at the plant.

Fuyao has about 2,000 workers at the the West Stroop Road plant, which the company says is the world’s largest automotive glass production operation.

In an interview Monday, Antani said he wrote the letter, which springs from “conversations we’ve had with Fuyao’s leadership regarding the situation.”

Beyond that, it’s up to workers whether to accept or reject the union, Antani said.

“Our job here is not to be directly involved with the election,” he said. “It is the workers’ choice.”

He recalled that at the plant’s groundbreaking ceremony last October, Sen. Sherrod Brown in public remarks endorsed efforts to unionize the plant. Antani said he felt that was inappropriate.

“Democrats came out with this first,” Antani said. “We’re being much more light-handed.”

Messages seeking comment were left for Brown’s office and Fuyao management. 

PUCO: New DP&L plan raises rates

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 10:38 AM
Updated: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 2:46 PM

Plant worker shares scenes of explosion on Facebook Live. This power plant is in Aberdeen, Ohio along the Ohio River.

With Dayton Power & Light arguing that its “financial integrity” is at stake, a state regulatory agency has approved new charges and a new “electric security plan” for DP&L customers.

The plan means higher electric bills for some DP&L customers, but a decrease for others, according to the utility.

A state consumer group said the plan’s new charges — or “rider” — for DP&L would be harmful to residential customers, with the “average residential ratepayer” paying $9 a month, or $107 a year, according to its filing outlining the decision on the case.

RELATEDDP&L criticized for bonuses, expenses paid from customer revenue

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio said in a release its approval means that DP&L will end the collection of its annual $73 million retail stability charge.“ Instead, a residential customer using 750 kilowatt hours per month will see a monthly bill increase of $2.92 during the term of the” new charge, the PUCO said.

A DP&L spokeswoman concurred that the PUCO’s estimate and disagreed with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel in its $9 a month estimate.

City to vote on contracts worth millions for Dayton airport work

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:31 PM


            FILE
FILE

Dayton City Commission will vote Wednesday to approve two contracts worth millions of dollars for major renovations at the Dayton International Airport.

The Department of Aviation is requesting permission for a contract with Messer Construction Co., which will not exceed $3.8 million. The contract is for work during Phase 1 of the Airport Terminal Modernization Program. This work includes renovation of the pre-security restrooms, moving the United Services Organization from its current location to next to the security checkpoint, and HVAC and lighting upgrades.

» RELATED: Meijer recalls vegetables for potential Listeria contamination in Ohio

Five bids were also received for the Dayton International Airport Terminal Apron Reconstruction, Phase 2 project, for the demolition and reconstruction of part of the terminal concrete apron. Other aspects of the project include replacement of the existing edge lighting fixtures, replacement of underground conduits, cables and light bases and new pavement markings. The project also includes water main replacement.

» Dayton Airport director’s plan to lure passengers: Bigger planes, more flights

The Department of Aviation is recommending the city approve the lowest bid, which was received by Anthony Allega Cement Contractor Inc. The total contract amount is $11.2 million, including a base bid of $7.4 million. The time of completion for the project is 200 days and the contract would close on Dec. 31, 2019.

The Dayton airport will need to spend $130 million in infrastructure improvements in coming years, an investment that could lure in passengers and airlines. Airports across the U.S. will need an infusion of nearly $100 billion in the next five years to accommodate passenger and cargo growth, and to rehabilitate aging hubs, according to a 2017 report from the Airports Council International - North America.

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Kroger announces executive leadership changes

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:57 PM

FILE
FILE

Kroger Co. announced new leadership changes within its executive leadership branch.

The Cincinnati-headquartered grocery chain announced the retirement of Central division President Katie Wolfram and the promotion of Pam Matthews, currently the QFC division president, to succeed her. Suzy Monford will join the company to serve as the president of the QFC division.

“Both leaders bring successful and distinguished retail experience to the roles and will help with the execution of the Restock Kroger Plan that will bring valuable changes to our customers, associates, communities and shareholders,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO.

» RELATED: Meijer recalls vegetables for potential Listeria contamination in Ohio

Wolfram will retire from the company after 38 years of distinguished service, effective on Nov. 4. Wolfram was named to her current role in 2016 and has been spearheading an “aggressive growth strategy in the Central division since joining the region as the vice president of merchandising in 2014,” Kroger said in statement.

In the last two years, the company has invested nearly $329 million in the central Indiana market, adding five new Marketplace stores and 12 new gas stations, remodeling and/or expanding 14 existing stores, building a regional training center and adding more than 1,400 new jobs to the region.

The Central division operates 138 stores with more than 19,500 associates.

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