On November 3, 2014, the U.S. EPA and Attorney General Eric Holder announced a “historic” settlement under the Clean Air Act over auto emissions. According to remarks by Holder, the settlement would “send an unmistakable message to automakers around the world” that they would be required to comply with the Clean Air Act in their U.S. sales.
The government filed a complaint alleging that Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 1.2 million cars with inaccurate representations regarding their emissions and fuel performance. The automakers failed to meet standards established under the Clean Air Act for auto emissions set in 2012. Once an automaker meets the required emissions standards, it then applies to the EPA for a Certificate of Conformity, and it is eligible to receive certain credits. Hyundai and Kia misrepresented their fuel efficiency and emissions to the EPA.
Under the settlement announced on Monday, Hyundai and Kia would agree to pay a civil penalty of $100 million, the largest ever applied under the Clean Air Act. They would also forfeit the false greenhouse gas credits they claimed based on the inaccurate reporting, and would agree to implement new procedures and testing to prevent the problem from happening again.
According to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the settlement sends a message to businesses that cheating on compliance is not profitable. “Businesses that play by the rules shouldn’t have to compete with those breaking the law,” McCarthy said.
For more information, contact Toni Ellington at (504) 599-8500.