What is it with companies thinking they can get around the Clean Air Act? Earlier this year, the second-largest refinery in the U.S. was fined $5.3 million (and required to upgrade pollution control systems for $700 million) for CAA violations. Before that, companies like Pep Boys, Cummins and Mercedes (among others) were all forced to pay fines for selling products that are just plain dirtier than they should be.
Today, the EPA announced that PowerTrain is the latest to be hit with a CAA-violation fine. The company settled the case and will now have to pay $2 million because, between 2002 and 2007, it allegedly imported:
at least 79,830 nonroad engines or pieces of equipment containing nonroad engines that were not covered by certificates of conformity, and in most cases, could not be certified because they exceeded the emission standards.
These dirty machines, the EPA says, caused 152 tons of excess emissions of HC+NOx, which contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, and an excess of 4,533 tons of carbon monoxide. PowerTrain is a Mississippi-based company that is connected to Wood Sales Inc. and Tool Mart Inc.

[Source: Kansas City Star, EPA]
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PowerTrain to Pay $2 Million for Selling Thousands of Engines that Failed to Meet Clean Air Act Standards

Settlement will reduce emissions that cause smog and respiratory issues by more than 4,500 tons

WASHINGTON – 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.

More information on the settlement:
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/powertrain.html

Information on EPA requirements for imported vehicles and engines:
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/index.htm


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