EPA fine of Lifan could exceed $1 million for import violations; bond sets precedent
March 28, 2014
Filed under News
WASHINGTON — American Lifan Industry, Inc., an Ontario, California-based vehicle and engine importer, has agreed to ensure that future imports meet federal emission standards after illegally importing and selling nearly 28,000 highway motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and engines manufactured in China that did not comply with Clean Air Act standards to limit harmful pollution.
The company will pay $630,000 in civil penalties and will also post a $300,000-$500,000 bond to satisfy any future potential penalties related to importation of model year 2014, 2015, and 2016 vehicles manufactured by China Lifan Industry (Group) Co., Ltd or affiliated companies. This is the first time that the EPA has secured such a bond in a Clean Air Act settlement.
“Mobile sources of pollution can threaten the clean air that we all depend on for active, healthy lives,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA will continue to hold importers of foreign-made vehicles accountable for meeting U.S. emission limits put in place to protect Americans from harmful air pollution.”
The settlement, approved yesterday by the Agency’s Environmental Appeals Board, alleges that the company violated the Clean Air Act by importing and selling over 6,700 highway motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and engines that lack the required certification indicating that emissions meet federal standards. The EPA also alleges that the company failed to provide purchasers with the full emissions warranty required by the Clean Air Act; imported and sold vehicles without proper emission labels; and failed to follow recordkeeping requirements.
EPA’s investigation showed that the company obtained certificates of conformity for numerous vehicles without conducting required emissions testing. In October 2013, EPA voided 45 invalid certificates of conformity held by the company, which affected over 21,000 additional model year 2006-2011 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles.
The EPA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection discovered the violations through inspections conducted at the Dallas/Fort Worth Service Port and the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, and through a comprehensive review of documents provided by the company.
The Clean Air Act requires that all vehicles have EPA-issued certificates of conformity, warranty, and labeling prior to being imported or sold in the United States to demonstrate that they meet federal emission standards. Engines that do not have proper emissions controls can emit excess carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides which can cause respiratory illnesses, aggravate asthma and contribute to the formation of ground level ozone or smog.
This settlement is part of EPA’s ongoing effort to ensure that all vehicles imported into the U.S. meet federal limits for emissions of harmful pollution. In a similar action last month, a Chinese company, CFMOTO, and its U.S. distributor agreed to implement corrective measures related to the illegal import of over 12,000 recreational vehicles and highway motorcycles.
American Lifan, based in Dallas, Texas until 2013, imports highway motorcycles, recreational vehicles, gasoline engines, and gasoline-powered generators, manufactured by Lifan Industry (Group) Co., Ltd., Chongqing Lifan Industry (Group) Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd., China Lifan Industry (Group) Co., Ltd. and Chongqing Lifan Power Co., Ltd.
More information for prospective importers on Clean Air Act requirements:
Certificates of conformity voided by the EPA:
More information on the settlement: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/american-lifan-industry-inc-settlement