The California Air Resources Board today said a settlement of $160,000 with Kawasaki Motors will resolve clean-air violations related to the sale of small off-road engines, typically used as replacements in lawn mowers and leaf blowers, in California.
This is the first time that a manufacturer has been cited for failing to comply with the regulation specifically as it relates to replacement engines since its adoption in 1990. The so-called Small Off-Road Engine (aka SORE, with irony?) Regulation requires that all small off-road engines sold in California be covered by an Executive Order certifying that the engine meets and was tested to the required exhaust emission standards.
Certification also requires that the engines have an emissions label, be covered by specific warranty provisions, and be subject to manufacturer reporting requirements. Manufacturers are required to comply with all portions of the certification regulation in order for the engines to be legal for sale in California.
Kawasaki self-reported its violations of the SORE regulation to CARB staff, specifically that it manufactured and sold replacement engines for model years 2002, 2004- 2006, and 2008-2018 and did not properly label them. In addition, it failed to report the actual numbers of engines sold for each of those years as required by reporting mandates.
“We commend a major manufacturer such as Kawasaki coming forward to report lapses in meeting our certification requirements,” said Todd Sax, CARB’s Enforcement Division Chief. “Reporting is a required part of our regulations and to not do so undermines our certification programs and hinders our ability to effectively enforce California’s anti-pollution laws.”
Because Kawasaki self-reported, CARB worked with Kawasaki and determined that to resolve these violations, the company will implement a compliance plan to ensure that they adhere to California’s SORE regulations and pay a settlement of $160,000. Half of the funds will go to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, while the remaining $80,000 will be paid to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton Environmental Justice Program, a Supplemental Environmental Project. These funds will be used to install air filtration systems at George Washington Elementary School.
Violations of California’s emission requirements pose a significant health threat to California residents. Certification of compliance with regulations ensures that non-compliant engines and equipment do not make their way into the California market, leading to higher amounts of air pollution, which can then exacerbate respiratory ailments and negatively affect other health conditions, CARB said.