A used truck dealership in Windham might pay a $168,700 penalty as the results of a federal grievance alleging the corporate illegally tampered with emission management gadgets on diesel autos.
Over a two-year interval, the U.S. Environmental Safety Company claims, A Plus Truck Gross sales Inc. offered and put in “defeat gadgets,” that are aftermarket components that scale back the effectiveness of emission management techniques.
The pollution-minimizing techniques are mandated on automobiles and vans underneath the federal Clear Air Act, which additionally outlaws tampering with the controls or promoting gadgets that do.
In its grievance, introduced in a information launch Friday afternoon, the EPA alleges A Plus tampered with emission controls on over 50 situations from 2017 to 2019.
“This motion sends a robust message that tampering with emission controls on autos is not going to be tolerated,” mentioned EPA New England Appearing Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. “Emission management techniques on autos are designed to guard public well being by lowering air pollution. To make sure that all of us have entry to scrub air, it’s vital that automobile restore services adjust to the Clear Air Act.”
A Plus is owned by Andrew Coppersmith and Andrew Lane, who didn’t reply to inquiries from Mainebiz. However Leonard Sharon, an lawyer representing the corporate, mentioned his consumer is cooperating with the EPA and is making an attempt to work out a monetary settlement with the company.
“A Plus could be very excited about settling the matter and was frankly blindsided by the lawsuit being filed,” he mentioned in an e-mail Monday to Mainebiz. “The preliminary supply from the EPA would have crippled the enterprise and we believed disproportionate to different settlements in comparable conditions.”
He added, “A Plus’ alleged violations have been a really small a part of their enterprise and because the final alleged violation in 2019 they’ve been in strict compliance with all legal guidelines and laws.”
In accordance with court docket paperwork, Maine State Police started investigating A Plus in 2016 after social media posts steered the dealership and truck customization enterprise was promoting and putting in the defeat gadgets.
“These postings point out that A Plus Vehicles is an entity that sells or installs gadgets that illegally modify or exchange motorcar and motorcar engine emission management gadgets, together with exhaust techniques that take away emission after remedy gadgets and digital gadgets that exchange computerized engine management and diagnostic techniques,” the state police affidavit reads.
After additional investigation, EPA obtained a warrant in June 2019 to go looking the A Plus facility at 8 Storm Drive in North Windham.
Federal investigators visited the positioning twice and obtained almost 15,000 data from 4 computer systems within the search. The EPA notified A Plus of the violation final yr.