The U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said they reached an agreement in court with Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas and Hyundai Industries Co. Ltd. for the companies to pay a $47 million civil penalty for importing diesel engines that were not certified to meet Clean Air Act emissions standards.
According to the Justice Department and EPA, Hyundai “stockpiled” diesel engines between 2012 and 2015 that no longer met U.S. emissions standards. These engines were installed in at least 2,269 pieces of construction equipment, which were then imported into the U.S.
In addition, Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas imported and sold this equipment in quantities that exceeded its exemption allowance under the Transition Program for Equipment Manufacturers (TPEM) regulations. TPEM is a temporary exemption authorized by the EPA that allows diesel equipment manufacturers to delay installing Tier 4-compliant engines in their products for up to seven years.
EPA said the company’s illegal off-road diesel vehicle imports were not certified to meet pollutant emissions standards, particularly for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.
“By ignoring regulatory requirements, Hyundai not only gained a market advantage over their competitors, but they also introduced higher polluting vehicles into the United States, undermining the protection of human health and the environment,” said Susan P. Bodine, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, in a statement.
EPA started its investigation into Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas’ diesel engine imports in 2015 after receiving a tip from a whistleblower. The agency launched both criminal and civil investigations. The court recently imposed a $1.95 million criminal fine against the company for the Clean Air Act violations.