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EPA Penalizes DDM Imports $41K for Importing Tampered Truck

Fourth case against Airway Heights company for importing trucks without required emission controls

SEATTLE (October 7, 2022) -- For the fourth time in less than three years, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency has penalized DDM Imports of Airway Heights, Washington for another attempt to import from Canada a diesel pickup truck lacking required emission controls. 

Under the terms of the Consent Agreement and Final Order filed September 23, the company agreed to pay a $41,582 penalty for an attempt to import a 2016 Ford F-350 diesel pickup that had been stripped of its major emissions control devices. 

In 2020 the company paid a $2,400 penalty for importing a tampered vehicle and later paid a $65,000 penalty for importing three tampered vehicles.  In 2021, DDM paid a $66,662 penalty for importing two tampered vehicles. In each case, the violations were uncovered after officers from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection inspected U.S.-bound diesel pickups at the U.S.-Canada border in Eastport, Idaho and found the vehicles’ emissions control systems had been tampered with or removed. The Clean Air Act requires all used vehicles imported to the U.S. be outfitted with the emission controls required at the time of their manufacture.

Tampering with vehicle engines, including installation of aftermarket defeat devices intended to bypass manufacturer emission controls, results in significantly higher releases of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, both of which contribute to serious public health problems in the United States. These problems include premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of existing asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function. Numerous studies also link diesel exhaust to increased incidence of lung cancer. 

“Diesel emissions are known health threats,” said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assistance Division. “Importers of vehicles are responsible for ensuring required pollution controls are intact. We appreciate the partnership with the Customs and Border Protection agents in ensuring compliance with these important laws to protect public health.”

In recognition of the substantial excess pollution caused by illegally modified vehicles and engines, EPA is implementing a National Compliance Initiative entitled Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines. In furtherance of this initiative, EPA will continue to vigorously pursue enforcement against those who violate the defeat device and tampering prohibitions of the Clean Air Act. In addition, EPA has and will continue to prosecute criminal activity related to the illegal sale and installation of defeat devices.

Learn more about EPA’s regulations for onroad vehicles and engines.

Click here to read the full press release on the EPA website.

© Copyright 2023 United States Environmental Protection AgencyNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 281

About this Author

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The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA is to protect human health and the environment.

EPA's purpose is to ensure that:

  • all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work;
  • national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information;
  • federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively;
  • environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies...