EPA Clean Air Settlement Ensures Windham, Maine Company Ceases Diesel Truck Emissions Tampering
(Windham ME, Nov. 15, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with APlus Truck Sales, Inc. of Windham, Maine, resolving EPA allegations that from 2017 to 2019, the company tampered with emission controls on diesel vehicles by selling and installing aftermarket parts known as "defeat devices," in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. Under the terms of the settlement, APlus Truck Sales will pay a penalty of $75,000.
In its Complaint against APlus, EPA identified over 60 instances over a two-year period in which the company illegally tampered with vehicles. APlus has now certified to EPA that it has ceased the sale and installation of such defeat devices.
"EPA is committed to protecting peoples' health by protecting air quality in our communities. Emission control systems on vehicles reduce pollution, meaning we all have cleaner and healthier air to breath. It's important that pollution control systems are not altered so they continue to work as intended," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. "This action sends a clear message that tampering with emission controls on vehicles will not be tolerated. To ensure that we all have access to clean air, it is critical that vehicle repair facilities and truck owners comply with the Clean Air Act."
The penalty amount considers the effect of the penalty on the company's ability to continue in business as well as the financial impacts of COVID-19, based on detailed financial data provided to EPA.
Tampering with a vehicle's emissions control system is illegal under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and results in excess emissions of a variety of pollutants including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The CAA prohibits manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, and installing aftermarket devices that disable, bypass, or reduce the effectiveness of emission control systems.
As a result of EPA requirements, cars and trucks manufactured today emit far less pollution than older vehicles. To meet EPA's emission standards, engine manufacturers have carefully calibrated their engines and installed sophisticated emissions control systems. EPA testing has shown that aftermarket defeat devices can increase vehicle emissions substantially, which can contribute to a variety of public health problems typically associated with exposure to air pollution. These health effects can include premature death in people with heart or lung disease, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing.
Because vehicles that have been tampered with contribute excess dirty emissions to communities located adjacent to highways and freight facilities, EPA New England regards tampering as a key issue in working toward environmental justice.
This enforcement action is part of EPA's National Compliance Initiative for Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/national-compliance-initiative-stopping-aftermarket-defeat-devices-vehicles-and-engines.
For additional information about tampering and aftermarket defeat devices you can visit the Northeast Diesel Collaborative's website at https://www.northeastdiesel.org/tampering.html