Two China-based companies and a US-based importer affiliate were fined a combined $725,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their roles in bringing in motorcycles and recreational vehicles from China that didn't comply with federal clean-air laws.

Minnesota-based CFMOTO Powersports, along with China-based Zhejiang CFMOTO Power Co. and Chunfeng Holding Group, among other things, will have to recall and replace fuel tanks that improve gasoline-vapor control. The EPA found that more than 12,000 vehicles imported between 2007 and 2013 didn't comply with clean-air laws and that about 1,000 vehicles had non-compliant fuel tanks.

The EPA has periodically taken China-based powersports vehicle makers to task for importing dirty vehicles that didn't comply with clean-air mandates. Last summer, Chi Zheng, whose Los Angeles-based companies MotorScience Inc. and MotorScience Enterprise Inc. specialized as a consultant for all-terrain vehicle imports from China, was fined $3.6 million because his companies violated US emissions requirements. Those companies violated the Clean Air Act by importing almost 25,000 all-terrain vehicles without properly testing them for emissions. And in 2012, California-based Yuan Cheng International Group Inc. (YCIG) and its successor NST Inc. were hit with $50,000 in fines as part of an EPA and US Department of Justice Settlement settlement stemming from alleged clean-air violations. Check out the EPA's most recent press release below.
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EPA Stops Illegal Import of Vehicles That Fail to Meet Pollution Standards

WASHINGTON – A Chinese powersports company and its related U.S. distributor have agreed to recall and replace fuel tanks that will better control gasoline vapors in approximately 1,000 vehicles and take other steps to control pollution stemming from the illegal import of over 12,000 recreational vehicles and highway motorcycles. These motor vehicles were manufactured in China and imported without the required certification indicating that emissions would meet federal standards.

CFMOTO Powersports, Inc., (a successor to CFMOTO America, Inc.) based in Plymouth, Minn., and Zhejiang CFMOTO Power Co., Ltd., and Chunfeng Holding Group Co., Ltd., both based in China, will pay a combined civil penalty of $725,000.

"Enforcing emission standards is a critical way we protect clean air for all Americans," said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "The upgrades and changes required by today's settlement will help reduce harmful air pollution that can cause respiratory illnesses, aggravate asthma and lead to smog.

In the settlement, approved today by the Agency's Environmental Appeals Board, EPA alleges that over 12,000 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles imported by the companies between 2007 and 2013 were not certified by EPA, as required by the Clean Air Act (CAA), to meet applicable federal emission standards. Of these, EPA found that 993 vehicles had fuel tanks that did not operate properly to control evaporative emissions, or gasoline vapors, and that approximately 1,400 vehicles were imported without proper emission control information labels.

In addition to the penalty, the companies must institute a Recall and Fuel Tank Replacement Program to replace all uncertified fuel tanks with certified ones to prevent any excess gasoline vapors. The companies must also correct the emission control information labels for those vehicles that are still within the control of the companies.

EPA discovered the alleged violations through joint inspections conducted with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and through a review of importation documents and other information provided by the companies.

Federal emissions standards for highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles have been in effect since 1977 and 2006, respectively. The CAA prohibits any vehicle or engine from being imported and sold in the United States unless it is covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity indicating that the vehicle or engine meets required emission standards

Recreational vehicle and highway motorcycles emit carbon monoxide, a gas that is poisonous at high levels in the air even to healthy people and is especially dangerous to people with heart disease. These vehicles also emit hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Exposure to even low levels of ozone can cause respiratory problems, and repeated exposure can aggravate pre-existing respiratory diseases.

CFMOTO Powersports, Inc. is a Minnesota corporation that holds certificates of conformity and that imports highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles manufactured by Zhejiang CFMoto Power Co., Ltd. and ChunFeng Holding Group Co. Ltd., both Chinese companies. CFMOTO America, Inc. is a now-dissolved Michigan corporation that was the predecessor to CFMOTO Powersports, Inc.

EPA filed an administrative complaint against CFMOTO Powersports in April 2013 and reached agreement on the settlement through an alternative dispute resolution process.

More information on the settlement: ca-inc-zhejiang-cfmoto-power-co-ltd-and-chunfeng

More information on EPA's Clean Air Act mobile source enforcement programs:

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