EPA issues fines over ‘defeat device’ violations

By Mike Brezonick01 September 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessed civil penalties against two companies for installing or selling “defeat devices” in vehicle engines to render emissions controls inoperative, in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

EPA logo

Diesel repair shop Midwest Truck Products LLC of Cantril, Iowa, will pay a $75,000 penalty. South Central Diesel Inc. of Holdrege, Nebraska, an industrial machinery and equipment distribution company, will pay a penalty of $50,954. According to EPA, the companies tampered with vehicle engines and/or sold devices to remove emissions controls for hundreds of customers.

In addition to paying civil penalties, the companies certified that they have stopped disabling vehicle emission controls.

“Aftermarket defeat devices are a significant contributor to harmful air pollution,” said Diane Huffman, acting director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “These illegal practices also impede federal, state, and local efforts to implement air quality standards that protect public health.”

Tampering with vehicle engines, including installation of aftermarket defeat devices intended to bypass manufacturer emissions controls, results in significantly higher releases of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

EPA said that stopping aftermarket defeat devices for vehicles and engines is a top priority for the agency and one of six National Compliance Initiatives in 2019.

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