The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1 has filed a complaint seeking a penalty of $168,700 against APlus Truck Sales, Inc. of Windham, Maine. EPA’s complaint alleges that from 2017 to 2019, the company tampered with emission controls on diesel vehicles by selling and installing aftermarket parts known as “defeat devices,” in violation of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).

“This action sends a strong message that tampering with emission controls on vehicles will not be tolerated,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. “Emission control systems on vehicles are designed to protect public health by reducing pollution. To ensure that we all have access to clean air, it is critical that vehicle repair facilities comply with the Clean Air Act.”

Tampering with a vehicle’s emissions control system is illegal under the CAA and results in excess emissions of a variety of pollutants including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The CAA prohibits manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, and installing aftermarket devices that disable, bypass, or reduce the effectiveness of emission control systems.

In its Complaint against APlus, EPA identified over 50 instances over a two-year period where the company illegally tampered with vehicles.

As a result of EPA’s efforts to improve air quality and fuel efficiency, cars and trucks manufactured today emit far less pollution than older vehicles. To meet EPA’s emission standards, engine manufacturers have carefully calibrated their engines and installed sophisticated emissions control systems. EPA testing has shown that aftermarket defeat devices can increase vehicle emissions substantially, which can contribute to a variety of public health problems typically associated with exposure to air pollution. These health effects can include premature death in people with heart or lung disease, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing.

Because vehicles that have been tampered with contribute excess dirty emissions to communities located adjacent to highways and freight facilities, EPA New England regards tampering as a key issue in working toward environmental justice.