Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 28, 2011
Mississippi Companies to Pay $2 Million for Selling Thousands of Engines from China That Failed to Meet Clean Air Act Standards

WASHINGTON – Mississippi-based PowerTrain Inc., Wood Sales Inc., and Tool Mart Inc., (collectively known as “PowerTrain”) will jointly pay a civil penalty of $2 million to resolve claims that the company imported and sold almost 80,000 nonroad engines and equipment that were not covered by emissions-related certificates of conformity, and in most cases could not be certified because they exceeded emissions standards under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.

 

Under the settlement filed in federal court today, PowerTrain will implement a plan to ensure that the engines and equipment they import in the future comply with Clean Air Act regulatory requirements. PowerTrain will also implement projects to offset the excess pollution from these engines. For one of its offset projects, which is estimated to cost $600,000, PowerTrain will provide subsidies for consumers to replace older, dirtier wood stoves with efficient, EPA-certified wood stoves.

 

“As this settlement shows, we will vigorously enforce the law to ensure that Americans buying foreign imports get environmentally sound products that conform with U.S. laws,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.  “We will not allow those who cut corners and violate federal emission standards to gain an unfair economic advantage over responsible businesses who comply with our nation's clean air law.”

 

“We enforce the standards for emissions from imported engines to protect the air we breathe and at the same time protect responsible companies that play by the rules,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement helps ensure cleaner air and a level playing field for companies that meet U.S. emissions standards.”

 

Between 2002 and 2008, PowerTrain Inc. imported 79,830 nonroad engines or pieces of equipment into the U.S. that were not covered by Clean Air Act-required certificates of conformity. The engines and equipment were then sold to businesses and individuals through Wood Sales Inc. and Tool Mart Inc. The engines and equipment were not covered by certificates of conformity because they were different models, had different power ratings or were made by a different manufacturer than was listed on the certificates. The engines also lacked two-year emissions-related warranties, as required by law.

 

EPA estimates that the PowerTrain engines that were sold to the public caused excess emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. Ground level ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion. It can also worsen bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

The settlement is the latest in a series of cases brought as part of EPA’s effort to ensure that vehicles and engines imported into the U.S. comply with Clean Air Act standards. The Justice Department and EPA announced settlements with Pep Boys – Manny, Moe and Jack and Baja Inc., in 2010 and with the McCulloch Corporation, Jenn Feng Industrial Co. Ltd., MTD Southwest Inc. and MTD Products Inc. in 2008.

 

The proposed consent decree lodged with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, will be subject to a 30-day public comment period.

 

Information on EPA requirements for imported vehicles and engines: www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/index.htm

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