U.S. EPA assesses fines, seizes vehicles and engines at Southern California ports

LOS ANGELES CA (9/25/2019) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced $11,775 in EPA fines to companies that illegally imported more than 500 vehicles and engines from China, including fork lifts, bicycle engine kits, loose engines and chainsaws, most of which were seized, exported and prevented from being sold in the United States.

These are the latest results of joint operations between EPA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to identify foreign-made engines, ATVs, motorcycles, and construction equipment without proper emission controls.

“EPA is looking closely at the emission controls on foreign-made engines being imported through the Southern California ports,” said Mike Stoker, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Region. “We will continue to work with CBP to ensure items coming into the U.S. meet all federal requirements to protect our air quality.”

Under the joint program, seven companies were found to have imported vehicles and engines without certification or proper emissions controls. Engines operating without adequate controls emit excess carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which can cause respiratory illnesses, aggravate asthma and lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog.

The companies include:

Birnstengel Investments, Inc.
Lawrence Group (April 2019) Lawrence Group (May 2019)
Chongwei He, dba Sonic Technology Co., Ltd.
Dynasty Shipping Inc.
Luck Yong
Long Time Trading Co
Yae First Trading

EPA has been conducting regular inspections with CBP at California ports of entry since 2014. With more than 40 percent of containerized goods coming into the U.S. through Los Angeles and Long Beach, the focus has been on engines, vehicles and pesticides. Mobile sources, such as on-road and off-road vehicles, are one the largest sources of air pollution in California and account for approximately 20% of PM2.5 (fine particulate matter up to 2.5 microns in diameter) and 83% of nitrogen oxide emissions. The seizures of these goods prevented the release of 600,000 pounds of air pollutants.

The Clean Air Act prohibits the importation or sale of any new engines or vehicles unless they are certified by EPA to meet federal emission standards. An EPA-issued certificate of conformity or a proper exemption from the certification requirement must cover every vehicle and engine sold in the U.S. To obtain a certificate of conformity, manufacturers or importers must submit an application to EPA that describes the engine or vehicle, including its emission control system. The application must also provide emissions data demonstrating that the engines and vehicles will meet applicable federal emission standards. For more information about importing vehicles and engines into the United States, please visit: http://epa.gov/otaq/imports

Media Contact: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415.947.4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

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