WASHINGTON, D.C. - American Lifan Industry Inc. is liable for what may be more than $1 million in penalties and bonds after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruled that the company illegally imported into the United States and sold nearly 28,000 motorcycles, recreational vehicles and engines made in China.
Announcing the consent decree, EPA said the company will pay $630,000 in civil penalties along with a bond amount from $300,000 to $500,000 to "satisfy any future potential penalties related to the importation of model year 2014, 2015 and 2016 vehicles manufactured by China Lifan Industry (Group) Co. Ltd." or affiliated companies, including "any company that applies for or holds an EPA certificate for products manufactured" by those companies.
This is the first time that EPA has secured a bond in a settlement related to Clean Air Act violations.
EPA's action against Lifan follows similar enforcement activities this year against other importers of Chinese-made vehicles and/or parts for allegedly violating CAA provisions, including CFMOTO (which involved 12,000 vehicles) and a group of importers in Texas (with more than 24,000 vehicles affected).
"EPA will continue to hold importers of foreign-made vehicles accountable for meeting U.S. emission limits put in place to protect Americans from harmful air pollution," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
The Lifan settlement, approved March 27 by EPA's Environmental Appeals Board, alleges that the company violated CAA by importing and selling more than 6,700 highway motorcycles, recreational vehicles and engines that lack the required emissions certification in order to be imported and sold in the United States. EPA also alleges that the company failed to provide purchasers with the full emissions warranty required by CAA, and imported and sold vehicles without proper emission labels. The agency also alleges "widespread" recordkeeping violations by Lifan.
An EPA investigation showed the company "obtained certificates of conformity for numerous vehicles without conducting required emissions testing," the agency announced. The agency has voided 45 invalid certificates of conformity held by Lifan, affecting more than 21,000 additional model year 2006-11 motorcycles and other vehicles.
EPA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Customs and Border Protection discovered the violations through inspections at the Dallas/Fort Worth Service Port and the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, and through review of documents provided by Lifan.