Release 04-33      

December 21, 2004


Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
$404,500 Settles Violations of Clean Air Regulations for Off-Road Engines

-- The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced today that it has finalized settlement agreements with John Deere, Komatsu Zenoah and Vantage Power Vehicles for their violations of clean air regulations.   

"These enforcement actions assure that we achieve the maximum reductions possible from our regulations," said ARB Executive Officer, Catherine Witherspoon. "With public health in the balance we must be vigilant."

John Deere paid $315,000 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund (APCF) when it was found that dealers throughout the state were selling small engine lawn and garden equipment that did not comply with clean air regulations.

At the Spring 2003 Landscape Industry Show, ARB staff visited the booth of a local dealer and noticed that a hedge trimmer from John Deere was equipped with a non-California certified engine. A subsequent investigation revealed that John Deere dealers throughout California had sold 597 non-compliant portable power products and 174 lawn mowers. Fortunately, John Deere was able to recall 371 of the portable power products and 129 of the lawn mowers. The portable power products had insufficient filters in their ordering system and John Deere had relied on dealers to only order ARB compliant lawn mowers. Both the ordering systems have since been rewritten to avoid future sales of non-compliant products.

Komatsu Zenoah settled their case with a payment of $40,000 to the APCF. Komatsu Zenoah failed to report that during quality audit testing for the second and third quarters of 2003, one of their small off-road engine families exceeded the family emission level (FEL). Regulations require the manufacturer report such an event to ARB within ten days. Instead ARB staff discovered the infraction during an audit. Subsequently Komatsu Zenoah and ARB agreed to settle the alleged violations.

In September of 2003, ARB staff visited Vantage Power Vehicles (Vantage) in Yorba Linda, to verify allegations of illegal sales of light off-road utility trucks with non-California certified engines. During the inspection, ARB staff documented non-compliant vehicles on site. In addition, a search of records produced files documenting the sale of non-compliant vehicles to consumers in California. ARB issued a cease and desist order and subsequent to the order, Vantage committed further violations. With the assistance of the Orange County District Attorney's office, Vantage and the ARB were able to reach a settlement that included a program to recover the non-compliant vehicles and for Vantage to pay $44,500 to the APCF and $5000 to the California's District Attorney's Association.

The APCF is used to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.