Yamaha, Pep Boys Settle Emissions Suits

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Pep Boys Co. and Yamaha have agreed to pay settlements in separate cases brought by California's Air Resources Board (ARB) over sales of vehicles that did not conform to ARB emissions standards, ARB announced. Yamaha and South Seas Cycle Exchange, Inc. of Honolulu, Hawaii, agreed to a court-approved settlement agreement with the Mobile Source Enforcement Section, in conjunction with the Office of Legal Affairs and Office of the Attorney General.

This case involved the importation or delivery of non-California certified motorcycles to California residents that were subsequently registered or sold in California, which is prohibited by Health and Safety Code sections 43150 and Business and Professions Code Sections 17200 and 17500.

Under the terms of the agreement, Yamaha U.S.A. agreed to pay $1.2 million to the Air Pollution Control Fund, $500,000 to fund a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) to test the impact of ethanol fuel blends on evaporative and exhaust emissions from off-road gasoline engines, and $300,000 to the Office of the Attorney General for attorneys' fees. A court order also prevents Yamaha USA and South Seas from violating Health and Safety Code section 43150 for 10 years. The agreement does not constitute an admission of violation of any law or regulation.

In addition to the monetary penalties, Yamaha and South Seas will initiate a vehicle purchase program to buy back and either destroy or remove from California motorcycles that ARB identified in the complaint as not having been certified for use or registration in California.

Separately, Pep Boys agreed to pay $154,000 in penalties for selling Baja Motorsports' Storm 125cc all-terrain vehicles in California in December 2006, and Cypress, Calif.-based Yamaha Morot Corp.. USA, agreed to pay $2 million for

After becoming aware that the ATVs failed to meet California emissions requirements, Pep Boys reported its violations and settled that case.

The $154,000 in penalties were paid to the Air Pollution Control Fund, which is used to fund projects that mitigate pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology. This fund uses penalties paid in enforcement actions to support various pollution-related research projects and programs. The Legislature controls the use of the Air Pollution Control Fund through the annual Budget Act.

"Retailers who sell engines not certified to meet California standards will be held fully accountable for their actions," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Compliance with our regulations is a crucial step toward improving air quality and protecting public health."

Evaporative emissions from off-road recreational vehicles are a major source of hydrocarbon emissions in the state especially during the summer ozone season, ARB says. California has dramatically tightened emission standards for off-road mobile sources and the fuels that power them because they contribute to both ozone-forming pollutants and carbon monoxide.