MTD Southwest Inc. fined $435,000 for selling garden maintenance equipment that violated California’s air pollution laws
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board announced that MTD Southwest Inc. has agreed to a settlement totaling $435,000 to resolve violations of California laws related to sales of uncertified small off-road engines such as lawn, garden and other maintenance utility equipment in California.
In early 2012, MTD Southwest discovered unexpected emission testing results while preparing certification documentation for engines to be used in its equipment. The manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, with a facility in Tempe, Ariz., immediately launched an internal investigation and determined that a change in engine materials resulted in engines whose emissions did not match those submitted for the original certification. MTD Southwest voluntarily disclosed the matter to ARB and conducted a comprehensive audit which resulted in the discovery of a second issue, promptly disclosed to ARB, involving a noncompliant fuel system component.
“Companies must demonstrate that manufactured engine products will not result in excess emissions to our air,” said ARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden. “In order to protect public health, all engine equipment must be evaluated by ARB and determined to be legal before being offered for sale in California.”
Although the actions by the company were unintentional, 12,500 small off-road uncertified engines were sold in California in violation of the California laws that prohibit the manufacture and distribution of engines that do not comply with the state’s clean air laws.
Of the full amount collected under the settlement, $326,250 will be paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which supports efforts to decrease air pollution through education and the adoption of cleaner technologies. The remaining $108,750 of the settlement will be directed to the Foundation for California Community Colleges Supplemental Environmental Project to enhance and improve small engine maintenance/repair courses, with corresponding emission reduction benefit and emission education, conducted at nine California community college campuses.
In addition to the voluntary self-disclosures, MTD Southwest took immediate corrective action with shipment holds, sales holds, inventory buybacks and future certification revisions. The company fully cooperated with ARB in the investigation and resolution of this matter, including all communication, disclosure and remediation.