The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that they reached a settlement with Advanced Flow Engineering under which the company agreed to pay a $250,000 penalty and halt its manufacturing and sales of “defeat devices.”
These devices reportedly override emission controls that are approved through the EPA, causing a decreased air quality. The EPA alleged in a complaint filed on Tuesday, after the settlement was reached, that the defendants actions violated the Clean Air Act. According to the plaintiff, Advanced Flow Engineering has manufactured and sold over 63,000 defeat devices since 2014.
The $250,000 fine is reportedly based on the defendant’s “financial situation.” In another EPA defeat devices settlement with a similar amount of illegal products sold, the settlement amount was $3 million, in this case the defendants included multiple companies. A settlement in another matter, however, included much smaller fines than either of these cases.
The EPA stressed the importance of limiting sales of defeat devices for keeping city air free from pollution. The agency’s press release estimated that this weeks’ settlement will “prevent the release of approximately 112 million pounds of NOx and one million pounds of particulate matter” from entering the atmosphere from vehicles which would otherwise have been modified with defeat devices from the defendant, based on sales records.
“Today’s settlement will prevent the future sale of approximately 12,000 illegal product units per year,” said Deborah Jordan with the EPA. “The increased particulate matter and NOx pollution stemming from defeat devices threatens the health of everyone, especially those with pre-existing health conditions, children and older adults. We also know that air pollution can lead to worse outcomes from COVID-19. It is unacceptable that the same communities that are being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic are often the same communities that bear the disproportionate impact of air pollution.”
Reportedly, defeat devices contribute to public health problems including respiratory and cardiovascular disease and other lung-related issues. This step, the EPA claimed, will help reduce air pollution and benefit families in communities which are “overburdened by pollution.”