Cummins agrees to pay nearly $1.7B to settle federal Clean Air Act investigation

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Seal of the U.S. Department of Justice (IL file photo)

Cummins Inc. will pay $1.675 billion to settle allegations that the engine-maker violated the Clean Air Act, the company announced Friday.

This is the largest settlement ever reached under the Clean Air Act, and the second largest of any environmental penalties, according to a separate announcement Friday from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The company has cooperated fully with the relevant regulators, already addressed many of the issues involved, and looks forward to obtaining certainty as it concludes this lengthy matter,” Cummins said in its announcement.

The issue dates back to 2019, and it involves allegations that Columbus-based Cummins installed “defeat devices” on the emissions control components of pickup truck engines between 2013 and 2023.

“Today, the Justice Department reached an initial agreement with Cummins Inc. to settle claims that, over the past decade, the company unlawfully altered hundreds of thousands of engines to bypass emissions tests in violation of the Clean Air Act,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a prepared statement.

For its part, Cummins said it “has seen no evidence that anyone acted in bad faith and does not admit wrongdoing.”

The governmental entities involved in the matter include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the California Attorney General’s Office.

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