Sept. 14 (UPI) — German automaker Daimler AG and its U.S. subsidiary Mercedes-Benz reached a $1.5 billion settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice and California Air Resources Board over alleged emissions cheating Monday.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and California Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen announced the settlement in a news conference Monday, saying Daimler agreed to pay $875 million in civil penalties and $70,300,000 in other penalties.
It also agreed to recall and repair emissions systems in Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles sold in the United States between 2009 and 2016 for a projected cost of $436 million and pay another $110 million to fund mitigation projects in California.
“By requiring Daimler to pay a steep penalty, fix its vehicles free of charge and offset the pollution they caused, today’s settlement again demonstrates our commitment to enforcing our nation’s environmental laws and protecting Americans from air pollution,” said Rosen.
The settlement came in response to allegations that Daimler manufactured, imported and sold more than 250,000 diesel vans and passenger cars with so-called “defeat devices” to circumvent emissions control software.
The EPA discovered a number of the devices in Daimler’s diesel vehicles that were not described in its application for the certificate of conformity.
“The message we are sending today is clear. We will enforce the law. We will protect the environment and public health. And if you try to cheat the system and mislead the public, you will be caught,” Wheeler said. “Those that violate public trust in pursuit of profits will forfeit both.”
In a statement Monday, Daimler denied the allegations and claimed that it has not admitted liability, saying it has “fully cooperated” with U.S. authorities.