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EPA fines Airway Heights truck importer for third time following emissions investigation

UPDATED: Fri., July 2, 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency building in Washington, D.C., is seen in this September 2017 photo. The agency says it's cracking down on devices intended to beat systems to reduce diesel emissions in vehicles.   (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The Environmental Protection Agency building in Washington, D.C., is seen in this September 2017 photo. The agency says it's cracking down on devices intended to beat systems to reduce diesel emissions in vehicles.  (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

An Airway Heights truck importer has agreed to pay a third fine stemming from a federal investigation that found it was trying to cheat emissions testing standards.

DDM Imports has agreed to pay $66,622 after an inspection of two Ford F-350s at the Canadian border in November revealed evidence of tampering with emission controls, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday. Emissions controls limit the amount of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter released into the air from exhaust fumes, which can cause health problems, including lung and heart issues.

In a lengthy statement released Friday, DDM Imports said it was acting as a “middle man” in importing the trucks and that it had made changes to its operations and communications to prevent further import of vehicles with defective or disabled emissions equipment.

“We respect the laws and regulations outlined by the EPA and want to do our part to reduce and eliminate unnecessary air pollutants, while providing affordable and efficient import services for our customers, which supports the US and local economies,” the statement read, in part. 

One of the trucks was returned to Canada. The other was imported after corrections were made to emissions equipment in Canada, according to the company. 

The trucks were discovered during a check at the crossing in Eastport, Idaho, according to a news release from the EPA. DDM Imports has been fined twice before for similar infractions, including a $65,000 fine last October after three trucks with disabled emission controls were found at the border, and a $2,400 civil penalty handed down in February 2020 after one noncompliant truck was found the previous month, according to EPA records.

In total, the company has agreed to pay $134,022 in fines to date.

In the order handed down by EPA, the company noted that it “neither admits nor denies the specific factual allegations and legal conclusions” contained in the document.

Federal regulators have increased enforcement efforts on so-called “defeat devices” and tampering with emissions controls following discovery in 2015 that German automaker Volkswagen had included software in their diesel-powered vehicles allowing them to appear to pass emissions tests. The automaker has paid billions in criminal penalties and fines, and the EPA said in December it has closed more than 70 cases in the past five years related to emissions cheating.

DDM has paid its previous two fines, an EPA spokesman said Wednesday.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Friday, July 2, 2021, to include comment from DDM Imports on the fines imposed by the EPA. 

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