Automotive electronics manufacturer fined $500,000 for selling illegal devices resulting in tons of excess particulate matter emissions
WASHINGTON -- In a settlement with the United States on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, automotive electronics manufacturer Edge Products LLC (Edge) has agreed to pay a $500,000 civil penalty for manufacturing and selling electronic devices that allowed owners of model year 2007 and later diesel pickup trucks to remove emission controls from their vehicles. Diesel trucks that are not equipped with emission controls known as “diesel particulate filters” emit excess particulate matter (PM). When running, trucks without these types of controls leave behind a trail of dark, black smoke. PM is associated with a number of health problems, including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and an increased risk of lung cancer.
The company, located in Ogden, Utah, sold more than 9,000 of these electronic devices nationwide, resulting in an estimated 158 tons of excess PM emissions released into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the emissions from 422 new long-haul semi trucks operating for a period of 29 years.
“The Department of Justice will continue to vigilantly protect America’s health and environment through the enforcement of the Clean Air Act standards governing emissions from vehicles and engines,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement holds Edge Products accountable for selling devices that allow consumers to disable the emission controls on their vehicles by requiring the company to pay a penalty, buy back the devices, and perform a project to offset the air pollution resulting from the Clean Air Act violations.”
“Our goal is to have these illegal devices removed and proper emission controls installed,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Allowing black smoke to billow conspicuously from the tailpipes of diesel pickup trucks is a practice that directly harms public health.”
Diesel particulate filters remove approximately 90% of the particulate matter emissions from a truck’s exhaust. If the filter is removed, the truck will generally not operate properly as the filter is monitored by the truck’s computer. However, the electronic devices sold by Edge allowed individuals to reprogram the truck’s computer so that the truck would continue to operate even after the filter had been removed.
Although Edge stopped selling the illegal devices in mid-2011, the consent decree requires Edge to offer to buy back the devices from anyone who possesses one. In order to sell the device back to Edge, the truck from which the device came must be returned to its original factory programming. Edge is also required to spend at least $157,600 to implement an emission mitigation project to offset the excess PM emissions that it caused. Edge will use the additional funds to offer rebates to individuals who own old wood-burning stoves and who wish to replace them with cleaner burning appliances such as new pellet stoves or EPA-certified wood stoves.
The civil penalty of $500,000 is based on the United States’ determination that Edge has a limited ability to pay a penalty in this matter.
The consent decree resolves allegations in a complaint, filed today, that Edge violated the Clean Air Act by manufacturing and selling motor vehicle parts or components whose effect is to bypass, defeat, or render inoperative a motor vehicles emission control device.
For more information about this case, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/enforcement/air/cases/edgeproducts.html