Under a rule implemented in 2012 to combat its worst-in-the-nation air quality, California requires trucks and buses older than 2007 to install diesel filters.
The agency says a large percentage of the 600,000 out-of-state commercial vehicles violate that standard. Without it, they emit pollution equivalent to 100 cars.
EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld says companies don’t necessarily know about the rule.
"This is a pretty unusual regulation," says Blumenfeld. "California was the first in the nation to put a rule for trucks and buses that are on the highway today, and roads. Most other states and even the federal legislation just deals with new engine models."
Estes Express Lines of Virginia settled with the agency for about $500,000 last week, most of which will be used to educate other companies. The trucking company says it didn’t know its vehicles were out-of-compliance.
The EPA says it will announce settlements with other companies soon.
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