EPA, Justice target emissions control-defeating devices

Under an agreement with EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Performance Diesel Inc. of St. George, Utah will continue to refrain from selling products the agencies allege violate the Clean Air Act by defeating heavy-duty diesel engine emissions control systems, while paying a $1.1 million fine.

“Performance Diesel manufactured, sold and installed thousands of aftermarket defeat devices, and as a result thousands of heavy-duty trucks now operate without the filters, catalysts and other emissions controls that keep our air clean,” says EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “[The] settlement will prevent future violations by requiring PDI to ensure that their products do not adversely affect emissions.”

This settlement prohibits PDI from selling illegal devices that defeat motor vehicle emissions controls and make an end run around federal laws that protect the public’s health,” adds DOJ Environment and Natural Resource Division Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Brightbill.

In a U.S. District Court for the State of Utah complaint, the agencies allege that PDI sold at least 5,549 aftermarket products—suited to Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, International and Paccar power—that defeat the emissions control systems of heavy-duty diesel engines in violation of the Clean Air Act. Prior to May 2018, the company manufactured, sold and installed electronic tuning software, known as “tunes,” that allowed installers to disable emissions control devices, or otherwise bypass, defeat or render inoperative parts of the engine used to comply with federal standards for diesel engine emissions exhaust.

The settlement has been lodged in U.S. District Court and is subject to a 30-day public notice and comment period. It marks what the EPA notes is an important step in the recently launched National Compliance Initiative on Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines.


In a separate joint-agency action, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced full withdrawal of the Obama Administration’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Compliance & Regulatory staff calls the action “another win for the concrete industry” and “a welcome step toward finalizing a balanced, consistent and clear regulatory scheme for determining federal jurisdiction” over natural resources.

The association ardently opposed the measure, citing the prospects for compliance complications surrounding even the most negligible bodies of water, and has tracked litigation resulting in stays of the rule covering 28 states. The withdrawal is part of the Trump Administration’s two-step plan for repealing and revising WOTUS regulations. NRMCA and its industry partners continue to communicate with EPA to ensure any new revised rule is clear, concise and adheres to sound regulatory principles with equitable enforcement. In the interim, the agencies will implement pre-2015 regulations, which are currently in place in more than half of the states. As part of the second step, EPA and the Corps are set to deliver by December 2019 a clear definition of the difference between federally regulated waterways and those waters that rightfully remain solely under state authority.