U.S. EPA Settles with Recreational Vehicle Importer in South El Monte, California, Over Illegal Imports of Off-Road Vehicles
Two Southern California Companies also fined for Clean Air Act violations
LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Maxtrade LLC, a South El Monte-based recreational vehicle importer, for significantly underreporting the number of recreational vehicles it produced and imported. Such inaccurate counting can harm efforts to fight air pollution. The company will pay $150,000 in civil penalties, a fine that was adjusted after the company demonstrated a limited ability to pay a higher penalty.
“Companies must submit truthful and accurate information to EPA when producing vehicles for the U.S. market,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “We will continue to hold accountable violators who misrepresent information to the EPA, and thereby hinder our work to protect air quality.”
The Clean Air Act requires all vehicles imported into and sold in the United States to meet federal emission standards to control air pollution. Companies that manufacture and sell vehicles must obtain EPA-issued certificates of conformity (COC) to show their vehicles will meet emissions standards. Any vehicle manufacturer must also submit an application to the EPA that describes the engine or vehicle, its emission control system, and emissions data demonstrating compliance with emission standards. COC holders are required to submit reports to EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) that include production volume under that COC for each model year. EPA may void a COC upon finding that the COC holder submitted false or incomplete information to the EPA.
EPA’s investigation stems from a referral by OTAQ. It was found that Maxtrade underreported the number of recreational vehicles it produced and imported between 2014 and 2016 by over 106,000. As a result, EPA retroactively voided many of the COCs for those vehicles in July 2019, making Maxtrade’s importation of more than 83,000 recreational vehicles illegal.
In addition to the settlement above, EPA also announced separate administrative settlement agreements with the following companies:
China Motorparts Import, Inc., a Riverside-based company, had imported more than 160 off-road vehicles without valid certificates of conformity by erroneously claiming the imported vehicles were subject to a racing exemption. China Motorparts Import has agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty. The company’s penalty amount was reduced due to financial hardship.
Motor HQ, Inc., a Rosemead-based company, imported six uncertified highway motorcycles into the Port of Long Beach in January 2020. These six motorcycles are considered uncertified because the precious metal loading inside their catalytic converters deviates significantly from the precious metal loading established in the COC covering these motorcycles. Motor HQ has agreed to pay a $10,000 civil penalty.
Mobile sources, such as on-road and off-road vehicles, constitute one of the largest sources of air pollution in California and account for approximately 20% of PM2.5 (fine particulate matter up to 2.5 microns in diameter) and 83% of nitrogen oxide emissions.
For more information about importing vehicles and engines into the United States, please visit: http://epa.gov/otaq/imports/index.htm