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Importers Pay $120,000 For Clean Air Act Violations

Posted on January 6, 2014

A Dallas-based group of companies and their owner must either stop importing vehicles or follow a comprehensive compliance plan to settle alleged Clean Air Act (CAA) violations stemming from the alleged illegal import of over 24,167 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles into the United States without proper documentation, according to an announcement from the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The four parties are also required to pay a $120,000 civil penalty.

“Importers of foreign made vehicles and engines must comply with the same Clean Air Act requirements that apply to those selling domestic products,” said Robert G. Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will continue to vigorously enforce the law to ensure that imported vehicles and engines comply with U.S. laws so that American consumers get environmentally sound products and violators do not gain an unfair economic advantage.”

Savoia, BMX Imports, BMX Trading, and their owner, Terry Zimmer, allegedly imported the vehicles from several foreign manufacturers into the U.S. through the Port of Long Beach, Calif. The vehicles were then sold through the Internet and from a retail location in Dallas, Texas.

The settlement requires that the companies either certify that they are no longer engaging in CAA-regulated activities or follow a comprehensive plan over the next five years that would include regular vehicle inspections, emissions testing and other measures to ensure compliance at various stages of purchasing, importing, and selling vehicles.

In addition, the companies are required to export or destroy 115 of their current vehicles that have catalytic converters or carburetors that do not adhere to the certificate of conformity that they submitted to EPA.

EPA discovered the alleged violations through inspections at Long Beach and other U.S. ports of entry, and through information provided by the company. EPA’s investigation showed that approximately 11,000 of the imported vehicles were not covered by an EPA certificate of conformity, which means that EPA is unable to confirm that the emissions from these vehicles meet federal standards. Other violations included approximately 23,000 vehicles sold without the required emissions warranty, and approximately 500 vehicles that did not have proper emission control labels.

The consent decree, lodged today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval. The consent decree is available for review at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

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