By DREW LAWSON
Staff Reporter 

Business tagged with fine for illegal truck imports

 

Last updated 10/29/2020 at 11:04am



AIRWAY HEIGHTS – DDM Imports, a import/export vehicle company with an address listed on South Russell Street, has been fined $65,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency for illegally importing three diesel trucks that didn’t have required emission controls from Canada in March 2020.

It wasn’t DDM Import’s first violation of such a nature. The company previously paid a $2,400 fine in February for importing a different truck without necessary diesel emission controls from Canada in January.

“This was a second violation, so the penalties were much stiffer,” EPA public affairs specialist Bill Dunbar said.

The more recent violation came when U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection officers inspected the three trucks at the U.S./Canada border in Eastport, Idaho. The officers found that the wires and connections between emissions controls and sensors on two of the trucks had been cut, while emissions controls devices were completely removed from the third truck.


According to consent agreement documents, the two trucks with cut wires and connections were a 2014 Ford F-350 and a 2016 GMC Sierra 2500. The truck with removed emissions controls devices was a 2013 Dodge Ram 2500.

This violated the Clean Air Act, which requires any used vehicle imported into the U.S. be outfitted with the required emissions controls at the time of their manufacture.

“These laws were enacted to reduce air pollution from mobile sources, including particulate matter (“PM”), non-methane hydrocarbons (“NMHC”), oxides of nitrogen (“NOx’’), and carbon monoxide (“CO.”)”, consent agreement documents state.


The company’s $65,000 fine was signed by both Dillon Ellis, president of DDM Imports and the EPA under terms of the Consent Agreement and Final Order. Ellis signed the agreement on Oct. 5, according to consent agreement documents.

If DDM Imports fails to pay the fine, the money would become immediately due. If payment still isn’t made after that, the EPA would be entitled to pursue civil action.

Dunbar said the EPA doesn’t have the authority to revoke DDM Imports’ business license, which is handed out by the state, if further violations occurred. More violations would continue to warrant financial penalties, though Dunbar declined to say how much more any potential violations would cost the company.

“We’re going to assume they’re not going to do it again,” Dunbar said. “It can’t be good for business.”

DDM Imports didn’t return multiple calls for comment.

“Diesel emissions are known health threats,” Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assistance Division Ed Kowalski said in a press release. “We appreciate the partnership with the Customs and Border Protection agents in ensuring compliance with these important laws to protect public health. Importers of vehicles are responsible for ensuring required pollution controls are intact. It’s important to the health of their fellow community members.”

The press release from the EPA added that diesel pickup truck engines can emit copious amounts of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter, which contribute to many health problems.

“These problems include premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of existing asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function,” the press release said. “Numerous studies also link diesel exhaust to increased incidence of lung cancer.”

Drew Lawson can be reached at drew@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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