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Engine maker Cummins has agreed to pay a record-breaking $1.67 billion to resolve allegations that it installed illegal devices in its engines to bypass emissions tests, according to a recent article. This settlement marks the largest civil penalty ever levied under the Clean Air Act, surpassing the previous record of $1.2 billion set by Volkswagen in 2016 for its diesel emissions scandal.
The settlement covers claims that Cummins used “defeat devices” in its diesel engines, which are designed to detect when the engine is undergoing emissions testing and temporarily alter its performance to comply with regulations. Once the testing is complete, the devices switch the engine back to its normal operation, which allegedly produces higher levels of pollutants than allowed by law.
The health effects of exposure to these excess emissions are well-documented and can include respiratory problems, heart disease, and cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the devices installed in Cummins engines may have led to as many as 500 premature deaths in the United States.
Cummins has denied any wrongdoing but has agreed to cooperate with the EPA and other regulators as part of the settlement. The company has also recalled millions of trucks equipped with the allegedly illegal devices and expects to face additional charges in 2023.
This case highlights the growing focus on environmental regulations and the potential consequences for companies that violate them. The record-breaking settlement against Cummins sends a strong message to other manufacturers that the EPA is serious about protecting public health and the environment.