A Windham truck sales company has agreed to pay a $75,000 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly tampering with emissions controls on diesel vehicles between 2017 and 2019.

The EPA said in a news release Monday said that it had reached a settlement with APlus Truck Sales, Inc. of Windham that resolved allegations that APlus tampered with emission controls on diesel vehicles by selling and installing aftermarket parts known as “defeat devices.”

In its complaint against APlus, the EPA identified over 60 violations of the federal Clean Air Act. As part of the settlement, APlus has ceased the sale and installation of defeat devices, federal officials said.

“EPA is committed to protecting peoples’ health by protecting air quality in our communities. Emission control systems on vehicles reduce pollution, meaning we all have cleaner and healthier air to breathe,” said Deb Szaro, the EPA’s New England acting regional administrator. “This action sends a clear message that tampering with emission controls on vehicles will not be tolerated. To ensure that we all have access to clean air, it is critical that vehicle repair facilities and truck owners comply with the Clean Air Act.”

Leonard Sharon, the attorney for APlus, said the owners cooperated with the EPA and accept the results of the Clean Air Act enforcement action.

“My clients never denied responsibility as to these violations. Andrew Lane and Andrew Coppersmith worked hard to provide the EPA with all the financial documents necessary to enable the EPA and APlus to come up with a fair settlement,” Sharon said in a statement Tuesday. “I can say on behalf of APlus that they are happy to put this behind them and believe that the settlement was fair. APlus and its owners have accepted responsibility from the outset and will avoid any repetition of this behavior.”

In an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court of Maine 2019, an environmental engineer for the EPA said that he had reason to believe APlus Trucks was violating the Clean Air Act after he reviewed social media posts and a Maine State Police sergeant had met with the business’s owners.

“Those postings indicate that APlus Trucks is an entity that sells or installs devices that illegally modify or replace motor vehicle and motor vehicle engine emission control devices, including exhaust systems that remove emission after-treatment devices and electronic devices that replace computerized engine control and diagnostic systems,” the affidavit says.

Tampering with a vehicle’s emission control system is illegal under the Clean Air Act, and results in the excess emissions of pollutants that may include nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

The EPA has conducted testing that shows aftermarket defeat devices can significantly increase vehicle emissions. Adverse health effects can include premature death in people with heart or lung disease, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function and respiratory problems such as coughing or difficulty breathing.


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