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EPA Prevents Illegal Imported Engines from Endangering U.S. Air Quality

EPA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have seized and prevented the import of over 11,000 pieces of illegal gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles and equipment in the past nine months.

In addition, EPA has assessed over $798,000 in civil penalties against the importers, in addition to U.S. Customs penalties and storage fees. The substandard equipment, which includes tractors, lawn and garden equipment, off-road motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and electric generators, poses a significant risk to the U.S. public health and the environment, according to the EPA.

The federal Clean Air Act (CAA) requires new gasoline and diesel engines sold or distributed in the United States to meet EPA emissions requirements to protect public health and the environment from air pollution. There has been a recent and dramatic increase in imports of gasoline and diesel equipment, chiefly from China, which do not meet these standards.

"The Bush administration will continue to enforce the Clean Air Act and stop illegal imports,' said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's assistant administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. 'The public's assistance and cooperation, along with EPA's commitment to enforcing these regulations, is essential to preserving and protecting the nation's air quality."

More than half the air pollutants in America come from "mobile sources" of air pollution, such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, construction, agricultural and lawn and garden equipment, marine vessels, outboard motors, jet skis and snowmobiles. Mobile source pollutants include smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, toxic air pollutants such as cancer-causing benzene, and particulate matter or "soot." These pollutants are responsible for asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Prospective purchasers should look for an emissions label before buying engines or equipment; if the label is missing, the equipment most likely is an illegal import and should be avoided. Sellers of such equipment should be reported to EPA (see last link below).

For more information on imports, see

More information on EPA's recent mobile source importation enforcement settlement agreements is available at

EPA's mission is to protect the nation's land, air and water. Citizens can help by reporting potential environmental violations at