GOLDEN — Three Mississippi companies have agreed to pay $2 million to resolve claims they illegally imported and sold more than 78,000 small engines made in China.
The engines did not meet federal air pollution standards, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice said in a joint news release.
The government’s lawsuit was filed in 2009 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., against PowerTrain Inc., Wood Sales Co. Inc. and Tool Mart Inc., all based in Golden, a Northeast Mississippi town near the Alabama state line.
The government contended the engines were sold across the country online and through telemarketing. EPA estimated the 78,000 engines had contributed to excess emissions of more than 150 tons of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides and more than 5,000 tons of carbon monoxide.
The complaint said the “non-road” engines were imported and sold by the companies from Sept. 2002 through at least May 2007. The engines emit carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that contribute to smog.
Under the settlement filed in federal court, PowerTrain will implement a plan to ensure that the engines and equipment they import in the future comply with Clean Air Act regulatory requirements.
Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, said PowerTrain would also implement projects to offset the excess pollution from these engines.
Moreno said in one of the offset projects, which is estimated to cost $600,000, PowerTrain will provide subsidies for consumers to replace older, dirtier wood stoves with efficient, EPA-certified wood stoves.