Cummins Faces Largest-Ever Clean Air Act Fine

December 29, 2023

Engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. has reached an agreement in principle with the United States and State of California to pay a $1.675 billion penalty to settle claims it violated the Clean Air Act by installing emissions defeat devices on hundreds of thousands of engines, according to a news release from the U.S. Justice Department.

The Clean Air Act requires vehicle and engine manufacturers to ensure their products comply with applicable emission limits. Defeat devices are parts or software that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative emissions controls such as emission sensors and onboard computers. The company allegedly installed defeat devices on 630,000 model-year 2013 to 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 pickup truck engines. The company also allegedly installed undisclosed auxiliary emission control devices on 330,000 model-year 2019 to 2023 RAM 2500 and 3500 pickup truck engines, the Justice Department said in its release.

"Today (Dec. 22, 2023), the Justice Department reached an initial agreement with Cummins Inc. to settle claims that, over the past decade, the company unlawfully altered hundreds of thousands of engines to bypass emissions tests in violation of the Clean Air Act," Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated in the Justice Department release. "As part of the agreement, the Justice Department will require Cummins to pay $1.675 billion, the largest civil penalty we have ever secured under the Clean Air Act, and the second-largest environmental penalty ever secured."

The types of devices the Justice Department alleges that defeat devices on some Cummins engines have caused them to produce thousands of tons of excess emissions of nitrogen oxides.

The Justice Department is working to incorporate this agreement into a consent decree that will be filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Source: DTN