District Court Upholds EPA Right to Enforce Against Illegal Imports from Chinese Vehicle Makers
Case Demonstrates Agency Commitment to Enforcing Requirements for Vehicles Under the Clean Air Act
WASHINGTON (April 11, 2022) - On Thursday, March 31, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied a challenge to EPA’s successful litigation of significant Clean Air Act vehicle importation violations, upholding the agency’s right to enforce the law and protect the public from dangerous air pollution. The challenge was brought by Taotao USA, Inc, Taotao Group Co., Ltd., and Jinyun County Xiangyuan Industry Co., Ltd. (plaintiffs).
“This case and the District Court’s decision sends a clear signal that EPA will hold companies accountable for failure to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act, requirements designed to protect human health and reduce harmful air pollution,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Specifically, plaintiffs challenged an Environmental Appeals Board decision that affirmed plaintiffs violated Clean Air Act sections 203(a) and 213 by importing for sale 109,964 motorcycles and recreational vehicles with catalytic converters that did not comply with certification requirements. In addition to affirming plaintiffs’ liability, the District Court also affirmed the $1,601,150 civil penalty assessed by the Administrative Law Judge.
Certification requirements ensure that vehicles brought into commerce conform to design specifications for pollution control equipment.
Producing vehicles for sale that do not match such specifications, such as nonconforming catalytic converters, undermines the integrity of the Clean Air Act certification scheme, designed to protect human health and air quality. Catalytic converters convert toxins into less harmful byproducts, such as water vapor and carbon dioxide, and in so doing reduce harmful emissions that include hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide.
To report a violation, please visit: https://echo.epa.gov/report-environmental-violations