March 1, 2024


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The US engine maker will pay $1.6 billion to settle emissions cheating claims

The US engine maker will pay $1.6 billion to settle emissions cheating claims

The United States and the state of California have reached a tentative agreement with truck engine maker Cummins on a $1.6 billion fine to settle allegations that the company violated the Clean Air Act by installing devices to circumvent emissions controls on hundreds of thousands of engines. The Ministry of Justice announced on Friday.

It would be the largest penalty ever under the Clean Air Act and the second-largest environmental penalty ever in the United States.

Defeat devices are parts or software that bypass, invalidate, or render ineffective emission controls such as pollution sensors and on-board computers. They allow vehicles to pass emissions inspections while still emitting high levels of smog-causing pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, which is linked to asthma and other respiratory diseases.

The Department of Justice accused the company of installing defeat devices on 630,000 2013 to 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup truck engines. The company is also alleged to have secretly installed emission control auxiliary devices in 330,000 model year 2019 to 2023 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks.

“Violations of our environmental laws are having a tangible impact. They are causing real harm to people in communities across the country,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “This landmark agreement should make clear that the Department of Justice will be aggressive in its efforts to hold accountable those who seek to “Profit comes at the expense of people's health and safety.”

Cummins said in a statement that it had “seen no evidence that anyone acted in bad faith and does not admit to any wrongdoing.”

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The company said it has “fully cooperated with the relevant regulators, has already addressed many of the issues involved, and looks forward to obtaining certainty when this protracted matter is concluded.” Cummins conducted an extensive internal review and worked collaboratively with regulators for more than four years.

Stellantis, the truck manufacturer, has already recalled 2019 model year trucks and has begun recalling 2013 to 2018 model year trucks. John Mills, a spokesman for Cummins, said the software in those trucks will be recalibrated to ensure they are fully compliant with the law. Federal emissions.

Mr. Mills said “next steps are unclear” for model years 2020 through 2023, but the company “continues to work collaboratively with regulators” to resolve the issue.

The Department of Justice cooperated with the Environmental Protection Agency in its investigation of the case.

The EPA has stepped up its investigations into illegal emissions control programs since the 2015 Volkswagen scandal, when the automaker was found to have illegally installed the devices in millions of diesel passenger cars worldwide. Volkswagen has agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion in a consumer class-action settlement. The company also agreed to buy back about 430,000 cars out of about 11 million cars that carried the cheating software.

In 2020, another EPA investigation found that individual owners and operators of more than half a million diesel pickup trucks illegally disabled emissions control technology in their vehicles.

“The EPA is on the job because of what it learned through the Volkswagen scandal, and its oversight has increased dramatically,” said Luke Tonachel, an expert on clean vehicle policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “Our government needs to continue to be vigilant to ensure fraud does not continue.”

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