The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department announced today that Mississippi-based PowerTrain, Inc. will pay a civil penalty of $2 million to resolve claims that the company imported and sold nearly 80,000 nonroad engines and equipment from China that did not meet standards under the Clean Air Act.
'We enforce the standards for emissions from imported engines to protect the air we breathe and at the same time protect responsible companies that play by the rules,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement helps ensure cleaner air and a level playing field for companies that meet U.S. emissions standards.”
“As this settlement shows, we will vigorously enforce the law to ensure that Americans buying foreign imports get environmentally sound products that conform with U.S. laws,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “We will not allow those who cut corners and violate federal emission standards to gain an unfair economic advantage over responsible businesses who comply with our nation's clean air law.”
Between 2002 and 2008, PowerTrain imported 79,830 nonroad engines or pieces of equipment into the U.S. that were not covered by a Clean Air Act-required certificate of conformity. The engines and equipment were sold to businesses and individuals through Wood Sales Company Inc. and Tool Mart, Inc. The engines and equipment were not covered by certificates of conformity because they were different models, had different power ratings, or were made by a different manufacturer than the listed on the certificate. The engines also lacked two-year emissions-related warranties, as required by law.
Under the settlement, PowerTrain will implement a plan to ensure that the engines and equipment they import in the future comply with Clean Air Act requirements. They will also offset the excess emissions of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide resulting from the sale of the illegal engines and equipment. As one of the offset projects, PowerTrain will spend an estimated $600,000 to provide subsidizes for consumers to replace old wood-burning appliances with efficient, EPA-certified wood stoves.
EPA estimates that the PowerTrain engines that were sold to the public caused excess emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog). Ground level ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion. It can also worsen bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.
The settlement is the latest in a series of cases brought as part of EPA’s effort to ensure that vehicles and engines imported into the U.S. comply with Clean Air Act standards. EPA and the Justice Department announced settlements with Pep Boys – Manny, Moe and Jack and Baja Inc., in 2010 and with the McCulloch Corporation, Jenn Feng Industrial Co. Ltd., MTD Southwest Inc. and MTD Products Inc. in 2008.
The proposed consent decree lodged with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, will be subject to a 30-day public comment period.