Cummins settles emissions case with California for $46 million

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California's Air Resources Board (CARB) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Friday announced a $46 million settlement with engine manufacturer Cummins.

The settlement resolves DOJ and CARB’s claims for violations of California engine emissions control and certification requirements. Cummins made undisclosed changes to approximately 120,000 engines in California after CARB had certified the engines for sale. In addition, roughly 2,000 Cummins engines had undisclosed auxiliary emission control devices that altered the emissions control system and resulted in emissions that exceeded regulatory limits.

This is the second case Cummins has settled with CARB this year. 

Of the $46 million in payments required under the settlement, approximately $42 million will be paid to CARB: $32 million for penalties and about $9.8 million for mitigation of the full amount of excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions created by the non-compliant engines. The state says the settlement monies will go to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support CARB’s mobile source emissions control program and other CARB activities related to the control of air pollution. The California Attorney General’s Office also entered into a settlement with Cummins, subject to court approval, for $4 million for unfair business practices and public nuisance claims and secured injunctive relief prohibiting Cummins from engaging in similar violations in the future.  

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“CARB’s rigorous, state-of-the-art enforcement efforts ensure that air quality laws are followed. And if issues are uncovered, collaboration and action from manufacturers such as Cummins make it possible to quickly implement needed fixes to provide the public health and air quality benefits that Californians need and deserve,” says Dr. Steven Cliff, CARB’s executive officer. 

“At the California Department of Justice, we are committed to vigorously enforcing environmental laws that protect Californians and our environment,” adds California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Today’s settlement makes clear that the DOJ will relentlessly continue its efforts to hold accountable those who seek to profit at the expense of people’s health and safety.”

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CARB states the violations were discovered through a combination of CARB’s investigation methods and protocols, and Cummins’ continued commitment to reporting emissions-related concerns as the company discovered them, while also enhancing its internal compliance efforts.

The company fully cooperated with CARB’s investigation and will conduct an emissions recall in about 2,000 affected engines to correct the violations at no cost to owners. Cummins has the option to offset a portion of the CARB penalty amount with a project that will increase heavy-duty zero-emissions charging infrastructure in California, CARB says.

This case marks another step in the evolution of CARB’s vehicle testing abilities and use of technology to catch and correct air quality violations. Development of the state-of-the-art testing and detection methods used in this case will accelerate CARB’s certification and testing operations, the state adds.

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