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Enforcement

Bandit Industries, Inc. Clean Air Act Settlement

(Washington, D.C. – January 18, 2017)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with Bandit Industries, Inc., for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for selling non-road diesel engines and equipment used to process wood and waste that do not meet federal standards. Bandit, based in Remus, Michigan, will pay a $3 million civil penalty. 

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Overview of Company

Bandit Industries, Inc., based in Remus, Michigan, is a manufacturer of self-powered, industrial-strength wood and waste processing equipment, such as whole tree wood chippers. 

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Violations

Based on information disclosed by Bandit and obtained through an EPA investigation, EPA alleged that Bandit committed 2,552 violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) due to non-compliance with the requirements of the Act’s Transition Program for Equipment Manufacturers (TPEM). Bandit allegedly sold certain non-road compression-ignition, diesel-fueled engines and equipment that were neither covered by the certificates of conformity required under Section 203(a)(1) of the CAA, nor exempt from that certification requirement because Bandit’s engines and equipment failed to meet the TPEM regulations. Additionally, at the outset of its participation in TPEM, Bandit allegedly “stockpiled” prior model year engines in exceedance of normal inventory. The CAA prohibits stockpiling engines that meet older emission standards before a new emission standard takes effect.

To meet current diesel-fuel Tier 4 emission standards, equipment manufacturers generally modify their equipment designs to accommodate engines with additional and improved emissions control devices.  In the TPEM program, EPA adopted transition provisions for equipment manufacturers to provide flexibility for equipment manufacturers to selectively delay compliance with current emissions standards for up to seven years. Bandit allegedly did not transition to the current emissions standards in time and sold equipment with older noncompliant engines, creating a competitive advantage over equipment manufacturers offering compliant products. 

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Injunctive Relief

Because this is a penalty-only settlement, there is no injunctive relief. 

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Health and Environmental Benefits

Emission standards for diesel engines and equipment reduce emissions of, among other pollutants, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

The key health effects categories associated with ambient particulate matter include premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravated asthma and acute respiratory symptoms including aggravated coughing and difficult or painful breathing, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function that can be experienced as shortness of breath. Symptoms of immunological effects such as wheezing and increased allergenicity have also been observed.

Diesel exhaust particulate matter is of special concern. The EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee has concluded that diesel exhaust is likely to be carcinogenic to humans. In addition to these health effects, particulate matter generally causes damage to, and soiling of, commonly used building materials and culturally important items such as statues and works of art. It is also a major cause of substantial visibility impairment in many parts of the United States.

NOx pollution contributes to the formation of harmful smog and soot, exposure to which is linked to a number of respiratory- and cardiovascular-related health effects as well as premature death. Children, older adults, people who are active outdoors (including outdoor workers), and people with heart or lung disease are particularly at risk for health effects related to smog or soot exposure. Nitrogen dioxide formed by NOx emissions can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, and may also contribute to asthma development in children.

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Civil Penalty

Bandit must pay a $3 million civil penalty in an ability-to-pay settlement. The penalty is payable over a three-year period in equal installments with prejudgment interest beginning 90 days after entry of the order by the court.

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Filing and Public Comment

A stipulation of judgment and a complaint were simultaneously filed filed in the Western District of Michigan. Since there is no injunctive relief in the stipulation, there is no public comment period.

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For more information, contact:

Greg Orehowsky
Environmental Engineer
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (MC 2242A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 343-9292
orehowsky.gregory@epa.gov

Kathryn Pirrotta Caballero
Senior Attorney
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (MC 2242A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-1849
caballero.kathryn@epa.gov

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