Cummins pays penalty for EPA violation

By Ron Kotrba | January 19, 2010
Posted February 23, 2010

Diesel engine maker Cummins Inc. agreed to a settlement of $2.1 million in penalties for violations to the Clean Air Act that occurred between 1998 and 2006, the U.S. EPA and Justice Department announced on Feb. 22.

The complaint against Cummins alleged that it shipped more than 570,000 heavy-duty diesel engines to vehicle equipment manufacturers nationwide without the proper pollution control equipment required under the Clean Air Act, such as diesel oxidation catalysts and diesel particulate filters.

Engine manufacturers must prove through testing that their engines meet emissions standards set by EPA, and acquire certificates of conformity stating such. According to the complaint, Cummins tested the engines with the proper pollution control, or aftertreatment, devices to meet the standards, but failed to include those devices with the engines when they were shipped to the vehicle manufacturers. Cummins instead relied on the vehicle manufacturers to purchase and install the correct aftertreatment devices.

"The United States alleges that the shipment of engines to vehicle manufacturers without the aftertreatment devices violates the Clean Air Act's prohibition on the sale of engines not covered by certificates of conformity," the EPA stated.

In addition to the $2.1 million in penalties, the settlement agreement requires Cummins to recall and retrofit approximately 405 engines that were found to have reached end-market consumers without the correct emissions control devices.

"This settlement assures that the environment suffers no ill effects because it requires that Cummins not only install the proper pollution control devices, but also mitigate the effects of the harmful emissions released as a result of its actions," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's environment and natural resources division.

EPA estimates that Cummins' actions resulted in approximately 167 excess tons of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon emissions, and 30 excess tons of particulate matter emissions over the lifetime of the nonconforming engines. The effects of the excess emissions will be mitigated by Cummins through permanent retirement of emission credits equal to the excess tons of pollution.

A separate settlement agreement between Cummins and the state of California's Air Resources Board was also reached, which determined that CARB will receive $420,000 of the $2.1 million penalty as part of the federal government's practice of sharing civil penalties with states that participate in clean air enforcement actions.

The Cummins settlement was lodged Feb. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

Calls to Cummins about the settlement and Clean Air Act violations were not returned.
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