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EPA Works with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to Enforce the Clean Air Act

Release Date: 11/09/2010
Contact Information: Stacy Kika, kika.stacy@epa.gov, 202-564-0906, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are collaborating to ensure that all imported vehicles and engines comply with the Clean Air Act requirements. In the past year, more than $6.5 million worth of vehicles including motorcycles, dirt bikes, tractors, and generators were imported into the U.S. and found to be in violation of the Clean Air Act, according to EPA records.

“Importing vehicles and engines without proper pollution controls is bad for human health and the environment, and unfair to those companies that play by the rules," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Americans deserve products with emission controls that comply with our nation’s environmental laws."

“CBP's partnerships with other government agencies and private industry are a critical link in the protection of the American public, the economy, and the environment,” said Don Yando, executive director for Commercial Targeting and Enforcement in CBP’s Office of International Trade. “These partnerships enhance CBP's ability to more effectively focus on those goods that pose the greatest threat.”

CBP officers identify shipments, with particular focus on companies that have previously violated the Clean Air Act, and put them on hold for inspection. EPA investigators, working closely with a special team of CBP officers, inspect the vehicles and engines. Vehicles and engines found to be uncertified are seized by CBP. In a recent seizure, EPA and CBP at the Port of Savannah confiscated illegal off-road motorcycles worth more than $125,000.

The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires most new vehicles and engines imported into the U.S. to have an emissions label and a corresponding EPA certificate of conformity stating that the vehicle or engine meets federal emissions requirements. Ensuring compliance with the CAA is important because it protects US citizens from potentially harmful air emissions. Vehicles and engines emit carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Exposure to even low levels of ozone can cause respiratory problems, and repeated exposure can aggravate pre-existing respiratory diseases.

CBP, as the primary federal agency responsible for monitoring importations to the U.S., cooperates with over 40 federal agencies to play a critical role in assisting with the enforcement of U.S. law.

EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. EPA works with other federal agencies to enforce environmental laws.

Information on EPA requirements for imported vehicles and engines: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/index.htm

Report potential environmental violations: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/complaints/