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Violation of U.S. Emissions Requirements Leads to CBP Seizures

On 25 September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that their joint enforcement efforts at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, have resulted in seizures or involuntary export of more than 500 vehicles and engines imported from mainland China, including fork lifts, bicycle engine kits, loose engines and chainsaws. In addition, fines of US$11,775 were assessed against the seven companies that had imported these vehicles and engines without certification of proper emissions controls.

Engines operating without adequate controls emit excess carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which can cause respiratory illnesses, aggravate asthma and lead to the formation of ground-level ozone. The EPA estimates that these recent actions prevented the release of 600,000 pounds (272,155 kilogrammes) of air pollutants into the atmosphere.

The U.S. Clean Air Act prohibits the import or sale of any new engines or vehicles unless certified by the EPA to meet federal emissions standards. The EPA has been conducting regular inspections with CBP at California ports since 2014.

An EPA-issued certificate of conformity (or a proper exemption from the certification requirement) must cover every vehicle and engine sold in the United States. To obtain a certificate of conformity, manufacturers or importers must submit an application to the EPA that describes the engine or vehicle, including its emissions control system. The application must provide emissions data demonstrating that the engines and vehicles meet applicable federal emissions standards.

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