The Motor Company must also spend $3 million on a project that mitigates air pollution by replacing conventional wood stoves with cleaner-burning stoves in local communities.
According to a settlement filed today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), Harley-Davidson must pay a $12 million civil penalty and will stop selling, offer to buy back and destroy tuning devices that increase air pollution from its motorcycles, which is prohibited by the Clean Air Act. According to the government’s complaint, approximately 340,000 illegal devices were sold.
The complaint also alleges that Harley-Davidson built and sold more than 12,000 motorcycles from model years 2006, 2007 and 2008 that were not covered by an EPA certificate of conformity, which also violates the Clean Air Act.
According to the EPA news release, Harley-Davidson has manufactured and sold two types of tuners since January 2008, which when hooked up to its motorcycles allow the user to modify settings that increase horsepower and performance, but which also increase emissions. These tuners have been sold at Harley-Davidson dealers throughout the United States.
According to a statement released by Harley-Davidson, however, the settlement only applies to one of the two tuners, the Pro Super Tuner. According to the statement, “[Harley-Davidson] will no longer sell its competition-only tuner in the U.S. The company will continue to sell a performance tuner designed to ensure Harley-Davidson motorcycles retain 50-state and EPA on-road emissions compliance. The settlement has no impact on the company’s other performance product offerings.”
The EPA alleged that by selling its Pro Super Tuner through its U.S. dealer network, Harley-Davidson enabled dealers and customers to tamper with motorcycles used on public roads. Harley-Davidson disagrees with the EPA’s position, noting that the tuner was designed and sold as an aftermarket, competition-only product used to adapt engine parameters for use with Harley-Davidson after-market equipment.
In the statement, Harley-Davidson’s government affairs director Ed Moreland explains, “This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good-faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition. For more than two decades, we have sold this product under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts. In our view, it is and was legal to use in race conditions in the U.S.”
Under the settlement, Harley agrees to stop selling the illegal tuners by August 23, 2016. It will also offer to buy back all such tuners in stock at Harley dealerships and destroy them. Harley must also obtain a CARB (California Air Resources Board) certification on any tuners it sells in the U.S. in the future, conduct tests on motorcycles that have been tuned with said devices and provide the results to the EPA. Any tuners sold outside the U.S. must be labeled as not for use in the United States.
The company also agrees to ensure that all of its future motorcycle models intended for sale in the U.S. are fully certified by the EPA.
According to the EPA release, the EPA “discovered the violations through a routine inspection and information Harley-Davidson submitted after subsequent agency information requests.”
If you have any opinions on the matter, you are invited to enter them on the DOJ’s website. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period before it can be entered by the court as a final judgment. To view the settlement or enter a comment, visit www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.