Cummins to pay $2.1m penalty

Engine maker Cummins is to pay a $2.1m (£1.4m) penalty and recall 405 engines to resolve alleged violations of the US Clean Air Act.

Cummins stood accused by the US Justice Department of shipping more than 570,000 heavy-duty diesel engines to vehicle equipment manufacturers without pollution control equipment.

The equipment, known as exhaust after-treatment devices (ATDs), controls engine exhaust emissions once the emissions have exited the engine and entered the exhaust system. Typical ATDs include catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters.

Engine manufacturers must prove through testing that their engine designs meet US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards and seek certificates of conformity. According to the Justice Department, Cummins tested the engines with the ATDs to meet the standards, but failed to include the ATDs with the engines when it shipped the engines to the vehicle manufacturers. Instead, Cummins relied upon the vehicle manufacturers to purchase and install the correct ATDs.

The shipment of engines to vehicle manufacturers without the ATDs violates the Clean Air Act’s prohibition on the sale of engines not covered by certificates of conformity.

The settlement between Cummins and the department means that it will recall approximately 405 engines that were found to have reached consumers without the correct ATDs in order to install the correct ones.

The EPA estimates that Cummins’ actions resulted in approximately 167 excess tons of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon emissions and 30 excess tons of particulate matter emissions over the lifetime of the non-conforming engines.

The State of California Air Resources Board will receive $420,000 of the civil penalty under a separate settlement agreement with Cummins, continuing a US federal government practice of sharing civil penalties with states that participate in clean-air enforcement actions.