NST's all-terrain vehicle

A California-based importer of recreational vehicles and motorcycles will pay $50,000 in fines after reaching an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Justice (DOJ) over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. The vehicles affected include "recreational vehicles, highway motorcycles, and nonroad spark ignition engines."

California-based Yuan Cheng International Group Inc. (YCIG) and its successor NST Inc. allegedly imported and sold vehicles that violated Clean Air Act laws, the EPA says.

For the five years that ended 2011, the companies, which are now dissolved, imported more than 17,000 non-certified vehicles. The problem is that those vehicles may have emitted carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide above federally acceptable levels. In 2010, NST agreed to pay the state of California $250,000 because of similar allegations. The EPA's press release is available below.
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Chinese vehicle importers settle with EPA, will pay fines over Clean Air Act violations

November 14, 2012

Vehicle And Engine Importers To Pay Civil Penalty To Resolve Clean Air Act Violations

Senior company executives jointly liable for consent decree obligations

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice announced a settlement with two former importers of highway motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and small spark ignition engines. The defendants, Yuan Cheng International Group, Inc. (YCIG) and NST, Inc. (NST), located in Montclair, Calif., allegedly imported and sold vehicles and engines from China in violation of Clean Air Act requirements.

The settlement resolves allegations that, between 2006 and 2011, the companies imported and introduced into commerce 17,521 recreational vehicles, highway motorcycles, and nonroad spark ignition engines without proper EPA certifications required under the Clean Air Act to prevent excess emissions of pollutants. Vehicles and engines that are not certified may be operating without proper emissions controls and can emit excess carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides and cause respiratory illnesses, aggravate asthma and contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, or smog. The settlement also resolves claims for failure to adequately respond to EPA's requests for information and labeling violations under the Clean Air Act.

The settlement requires the companies and Mr. John Cheng and Ms. Jenny Yu, senior company executives, to pay a combined civil penalty of $50,000. This amount is based on the United States' determination that the parties have a limited ability to pay a civil penalty in this matter. Both companies have ceased importing vehicles and engines and are now dissolved. In the fall of 2010, NST agreed to pay $250,000 to the State of California to resolve similar violations concerning the illegal sale of uncertified vehicles.

"When companies or their executives fail to comply with U.S. standards when importing vehicles and engines into the United States, it affects the nation's air quality, impacts consumers and puts businesses that play by the rules at a disadvantage," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today's settlement demonstrates EPA's commitment to ensuring that imports comply with requirements that protect our nation's air quality, while leveling the playing field for businesses that comply with the law."

"We will continue to vigorously enforce the law to ensure that imported vehicles and engines comply with U.S. laws so that American consumers get environmentally sound products and violators do not gain an unfair economic advantage," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. "By holding individuals personally accountable under the consent decree, this settlement shows not only that we will pursue companies who violate the law, but where appropriate, will take additional measures to ensure that individual executives who act on behalf of companies cannot repeat the same conduct under a new corporate identity."

In addition, Mr. Cheng and Ms. Yu must enter into a compliance plan with EPA prior to any future importation, distribution, selling, or offering for sale of any products covered by the Clean Air Act. They must also provide EPA with notice prior to forming any U.S. business entity that engages in the importation, distribution, selling or offering for sale of any products covered by the Clean Air Act, or before individually engaging in such activities. Mr. Cheng and Ms. Yu may be liable for any additional penalties for any violations of the settlement agreement, including $25,000 per vehicle or engine imported, sold or distributed that is not in accordance with an EPA-approved compliance plan, and up to $5,000 per day for each failure to provide notice to EPA as mentioned above.

John Cheng (also known as Yuan Cheng) was the sole shareholder, director, president, secretary, chief financial officer, and treasurer of the YCIG. NST was the corporate successor to YCIG after YCIG dissolved. Mr. Cheng's wife, Ms. Jenny Yu, was the president, secretary, chief financial officer, one of two directors, and a 50 percent shareholder of NST. Mr. Cheng was the other 50 percent shareholder of NST. Both Mr. Cheng and Ms. Yu are individually bound by the terms of the settlement and are personally jointly and severally liable for the liabilities and obligations arising from the consent decree.

The Clean Air Act prohibits any vehicle or engine from being imported and sold in the United States unless it is covered by a valid, EPA-issued certificate of conformity indicating that the vehicle or engine meets applicable federal emission standards. The certificate of conformity is the primary way EPA ensures that imported vehicles and engines meet emission standards. This settlement is part of an ongoing effort by EPA to ensure that all imported vehicles and engines comply with the Clean Air Act's requirements.

More information about EPA enforcement of mobile sources: http://www.epa.gov/enforcement/air/index.html#mobile


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Jesse Gurr
      • 3 Months Ago
      I think Pep Boys got in trouble for selling these vehicles as well. That is the reason I was able to get a nice electric mower on the cheap! That was part of the EPA deal to discount the electric mowers when a gas mower is traded in.
        Marcopolo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        @ Jesse Gurr Electric mower, way to go ! Not only good for the environment, but good for your neighbourhood relations !
          Jesse Gurr
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Marcopolo
          I only have a front lawn and nothing in back. I couldn't keep a gas mower in the garage because the gas engine smell bothered my wife. Now there is really no smell, slight smell from freshly cut grass but who doesn't like that? I could also hose it off if i wanted to, though it doesn't recommend that. All i hear is the "WHOOOSH" from the blades spinning really fast. To me that is one of the coolest sounds.
          paulwesterberg
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Marcopolo
          I agree, for most city lots an electric mower is much better, quiet, clean. Just sharpen the blade once a year and it works great. I can listen to podcasts while I mow. My wife like the electric mower because it always starts easily.
      EVnerdGene
      • 3 Months Ago
      Wow. Good business plan. Paying the fine was cheaper than the engineering development costs for making them compliant.
        Jesse Gurr
        • 3 Months Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        Seriously, $3 per vehicle fine. Less than a gallon of gas.
      Marcopolo
      • 3 Months Ago
      Meantime, the importer of these cheap and illegal machines has sold 17,000 units in the US, thus denying US manufacturers who do comply with the regulations sales. A mere $ 50, 000 fine is pathetic ! The importer should have his import license revoked, or every vehicle should be repurchased and returned to the PRC as the manufacturer/importers expence! In a specialist market, 17,000 sales could mean the difference between profit and insolvency for the US manufacturer. This sort of behavior not only costs US employment, but has already seen the disappearance of whole industries from the US. Once gone, these US industries and their supplier industries require too much capital to recreate. Competition, can be positive. But allowing unfair competition to destroy local industry unfairly, is just crazy. The short term gain is lower prices (but lower quality), the long term losses are immeasurable !.
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Whenever these importers (of junk) have a products liability lawsuit, same product seems to be imported by a different distributor. Dong Long Imports is now superceded by Long Dong Imports.
          EZEE
          • 3 Months Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Dong Long and Long Dong made me lol at Starbucks.
          Marcopolo
          • 3 Months Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          @ EVnerdGene Very true ! Meantime these defiant shysters, just laugh at the weak regulations that hurt local industry, and lower quality control generally !
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Months Ago
      $50,000 fine for importing 17,000 crap engine vehicles, sounds like they are laughing all the way to the bank. I was in Peru recently, they have all kinds of cheep Chinese vehicles there. The air in their big cities is very polluted. We should have the EPA checking cargo at our ports and confiscating, then melting down all non-complaint products into scrap.
      EZEE
      • 3 Months Ago
      Stuff from China that will hurt you and/or destroy the environment? I just don't know what to believe in anymore.