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Ford Motor Company Clean Air Act Settlement
EPA filed a settlement with Ford Motor Company, in the U.S.District Court for the District of Columbia, under the terms of which Ford will spend $7.8 million to settle allegations that it violated the CAA by illegally installing a device that defeats the emission control system in 60,000 1997 Ford Econoline vans. The defeat device involved in this case was a sophisticated electronic control strategy designed to enhance fuel economy. According to EPA, the system led to an increase of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions well beyond the limits of the CAA emission standards when the vans are driven at highway speeds. EPA estimates the settlement will prevent thousands of tons of nitrogen oxide from being released into the atmosphere.
The smog caused by nitrogen oxides can aggravate asthma and cause other respiratory problems. The consent decree requires Ford to deactivate the strategy in all affected Econolines at an estimated cost of $1.3million, pay $2.5 million in civil penalties, purchase 2,500 tons of nitrogen oxide credits valued at up to $2.5 million to offset the excess emissions, and spend $1.5 million on projects designed to reduce future harmful pollutants in the air. Ford voluntarily stopped the sale of the Econolines and deactivated the strategy in March 1997 when notified by EPA that the affected vans may be in violation of the CAA. The company also initiated a special service instruction to dealers to deactivate the strategy in the vans when they are brought to Ford dealerships for other services. Ford cooperated with EPA and DOJ during the investigation. Owners of the affected vehicles received a recall notification letter from Ford. The company will perform all recall work free of charge at the convenience of the vehicle's owner. Ford has entered into a separate consent decree with the California Air Resource Board. That decree required Ford to recall the California-certified Econolines and pay civil penalties of $335,000.
For additional information, contact:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2242A)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460-0001