U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Asks NHTSA to Address OBD-II Port Security Risks

On September 12th, 2016, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), along with subcommittee chairmen Greg Walden (R-OR), Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Michael Burgess (R-TX), submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), requesting the formation of a stakeholder group to develop a strategy to address the potential security risks posed by automotive On-Board diagnostics ports (OBD-II). OBD-II ports were first mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1994 as a means to test vehicle emissions under the Clean Air Act. Since then, the use of OBD-II ports has expanded to include repair diagnostics for both technicians and consumers.

To see the full text of the letter, click here.


EPA and DOT Finalize Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly finalized standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that would improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution to reduce the impacts of climate change, while bolstering energy security and spurring manufacturing innovation.

The final phase two program promotes a new generation of cleaner, more fuel efficient trucks by encouraging the development and deployment of new and advanced cost-effective technologies. Read EPA’s full release here.


House Passes H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016


The legislation allows states to pursue cost-effective and practical implementation of EPA’s ozone standards.   Under the Clean Air Act’s NAAQS program, the EPA sets standards for criteria pollutants, including ground-level ozone. EPA initially established ozone standards in 1971, and subsequently revised them in 1979, 1997, and 2008. Unfortunately, EPA did not publish implementing regulations for the 2008 standards until March 2015, and states are just beginning to implement those standards. Because EPA then revised these standards in October 2015, states now face the prospect of simultaneously implementing two ozone standards.

Further, states are increasingly confronting other challenges under the statutory construct of the NAAQS implementation program. These challenges range from the agency’s failure to issue timely implementation regulations and guidance when standards are revised, to specific issues relating to foreign emissions or exceptional events, provisions in the statute that have been interpreted to require states to pursue measures that may not be technologically or economically feasible, and the current statutory requirement that EPA review all NAAQS no later than every 5 years.

For more information, click here.


United States Files Complaint Against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations

The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, today filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC, Porsche AG, and Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The complaint alleges that nearly 600,000 diesel engine vehicles had illegal defeat devices installed that impair their emission control systems and cause emissions to exceed EPA’s standards, resulting in harmful air pollution. The complaint further alleges that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling, introducing into commerce, or importing into the United States motor vehicles that are designed differently from what Volkswagen had stated in applications for certification to EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). To see the EPA’s full statement, click here.


EPA Finalizes Increases in Renewable Fuel Levels

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program today for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, and final volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014 to 2017. This rule finalizes higher volumes of renewable fuel than the levels EPA proposed in June, boosting renewable production and providing support for robust, achievable growth of the biofuels industry. To see the EPA’s full release, click here.


U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee Holds Initial Hearing on Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheating Allegations

Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn and the Environmental Protection Agency are scheduled to testify as the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations examines Volkswagen’s alleged efforts to circumvent emissions requirements for certain models of diesel engine passenger vehicles. Members are working to understand the facts and circumstances surrounding Volkswagen’s reported Clean Air Act violations and what they mean for consumers and the general public. See more here.


EPA Issues Final Rule on Ozone Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from 75 ppb. The Clean Air Act provides states with time to meet the standards. Depending on the severity of their ozone situation, areas would have until between 2020 and 2037 to meet the standards. See EPA’s full release here.


EPA Continues to Investigate Clean Air Act Violation

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a letter sent to vehicle manufacturers notifying them that the agency is adding to its confirmatory testing additional evaluations designed to look for potential defeat devices.

View the letter here:

Last Friday, EPA sent a Notice of Violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. alleging that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards.

These cars contain software that turns off emissions controls when driving normally, and turns them on when the car is undergoing an emission test.  Known as a “defeat device,” this design feature results in the cars emitting up to 40 times the amount of NOx emissions that the standards allow.  NOx standards are in place to ensure public health is protected.

EPA’s notice of violation, along with an In-Use Compliance Letter that the California Air Resources Board issued, provide information and details relating to the VW violations:

View a pdf of the Notice of Violation here:

 View the California Air Resources Board’s In-Use Compliance Letter here:

For more information on EPA’s recent action, as well as information for owners of the affected vehicles, visit:


EPA, California Notify Volkswagen of Clean Air Act Violations

Carmaker allegedly used software that circumvents emissions testing for certain air pollutants

Today, EPA is issuing a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The NOV alleges that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. California is separately issuing an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have both initiated investigations based on Volkswagen’s alleged actions. Read more here.

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