Once again, to further sink their teeth into the diesel industry, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has struck a few more companies for emissions control-defeat devices. In fact, to keep everyone on their heels and know this isn’t a joke, both Flo~Pro Performance and Thunder Diesel & Performance Company have been issued $1,600,000 in penalties and instructed to halt the sale of emissions control-defeat devices.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s statement is as follows:
WASHINGTON – Red Deer Exhaust Inc. (doing business as Flo~Pro Performance Exhaust) and Thunder Diesel & Performance Company have agreed to stop selling devices that bypass or disable vehicle emissions control systems, and pay a $1.6 million penalty, to resolve allegations that they violated the Clean Air Act (CAA).
The complaint filed simultaneously with the consent decree, alleges that the parts described above are “defeat devices” prohibited by the CAA. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that prior to its 2018 investigation, Flo~Pro manufactured or sold more than 100,000 aftermarket defeat devices in the United States per year. In early 2019, Flo~Pro suspended sales of the defeat devices in the United States in an effort to resolve this matter.
“The exhaust from diesel pickup trucks equipped to operate without essential emissions controls causes severe harm to our nation’s air quality,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This action will stop the manufacture and sale of these illegal products, preventing additional excess pollution caused by aftermarket defeat devices and keeping the air we breathe clean.”
“Defeat devices violate Clean Air Act emissions requirements meant to protect public health and the environment, as well as vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). “This settlement ensures that Flo~Pro will stop the sale of all defeat devices in the U.S. and is the latest reminder that the Department of Justice will hold the aftermarket automotive parts industry accountable for violations of federal anti-pollution laws.”
Under the agreement, Flo~Pro, an automotive parts manufacturer based in Alberta, Canada, has agreed to stop manufacturing and selling parts for diesel pickup trucks in the United States, that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative EPA-approved emission controls and harm air quality. Thunder Diesel, a distributor based in Mountain Home, Arkansas, has shut down its operations and is no longer selling auto parts. The companies will pay a $1.6 million penalty, which is a reduced amount due to verified financial information indicating the companies’ limited ability to pay. The companies will notify customers who purchased subject parts that the products violate the CAA, will no longer provide technical support or honor warranty claims for the products, and will provide CAA compliance training for employees.
This settlement will improve public health and prevent substantial amounts of air pollution in the future, as the installation of defeat devices prevents emission controls from working correctly. Tampering with diesel-powered vehicles by installing defeat devices causes large amounts of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions, both of which contribute to serious public health problems. These include premature death, aggravation of the respiratory system and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of existing asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function. Numerous studies also link diesel exhaust to an increased incidence of lung cancer. Respiratory issues disproportionately affect families, especially children, living in underserved communities overburdened by pollution. EPA estimates that the subject parts from these companies in 2016-2019 may have resulted in more than 775 million pounds of excess nitrogen oxide emissions and 6.7 million pounds of excess particulate matter over the life of the affected vehicles. Stopping the sale and use of defeat devices will help reduce harmful air pollution that exacerbates the health effects of pollutant exposures. Stopping the manufacture, sale, and installation of defeat devices on vehicles and engines used on public roads as well as on nonroad vehicles and engines is a priority for EPA.
That being said, we went to Facebook to see the official statement from one of the two companies.
“FLO~PRO has hit the news recently regarding our settlement with the EPA. There seems to be a concern among some about our ability to continue doing business going forward with such a hefty fine. Let me assure you, it will be business as usual going forward. The only changes to our business were 3 years ago when we stopped the sale of race products in the US. We also agreed to change our website and marketing materials which you will see soon but that’s the extent of it. Although the penalty is a major financial blow, FLO~PRO’s 40 years in business gives us the financial ability and strength to continue producing performance exhaust products with minimal interruption. In fact, we’ve doubled our raw materials inventory to try and alleviate the supply chain issues we’re all experiencing of late. We’re committed to continuing to do what we do best as well as developing new opportunities in the performance business. I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all our supporters and well-wishers over the last 4 years. Dealing with these government entities can be quite daunting. Sitting with my lawyer in an EPA board room with 8 lawyers on the other side of the table is very intimidating. The bottomless amount of their resources gives little hope you’re going to come out on top in any negotiations. Although considerably stressful, I try to look at the positives in most things and chalk it up to an expensive learning experience. Our biggest wish right now is that all our great supporters going through a similar experience come out of this with minimal damage and stress on themselves and their businesses. Thank you for all that you do for us at FLO~PRO as we remain committed to manufacturing the best affordable product in the industry. We appreciate your business and support and look forward to continuing our great relationships going forward,” Don Schumacher, CEO of Flo~Pro Performance Exhaust.
It seems that this is only a minor hiccup for our friends over at Flo~Pro Performance and they are going to double down and dig deep and make things happen for those who need new equipment. Unfortunate news, but we’re glad at least one of the two can keep the doors open and continue doing business.