Julie Domike in Law360: $100M Hyundai, Kia GHG Penalty Ups Stakes For Plant Rule


The first-of-its-kind $100 million penalty levied Monday against Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. puts companies on notice that regulators will bring civil cases to enforce federal greenhouse gas laws, increasing the pressure on those fighting to weaken the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s still-pending rule on emissions from existing power plants.

Monday’s consent decree resolved the government’s charges that Hyundai and Kia misrepresented their vehicles’ greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy by installing special equipment on test cars and submitting the most favorable test results to the government. The penalty is four times larger than the next-biggest Clean Air Act penalty, and it resolved the first civil judicial case to enforce federal GHG laws...

Julie Domike, a partner at Haynes and Boone, LLP, said that while the fact that the EPA cracked down on misrepresentations made by the auto makers was not surprising, she was surprised by the amount of effort the EPA put into tracking down and understanding what had gone into the certification process for the Hyundai and Kia vehicles, and that the agency had done quite a bit of its own homework in order to determine whether those particular vehicles had complied in the way that the companies claimed.

“This is a clear indicator of the agency’s interest in this greenhouse gas emissions and reductions and in attempting to verify these reductions, and make sure that the process for certifying vehicles is robust and solid,” Domike said.

Excerpted from Law360, November 4, 2014. To view full article, click here (subscription required).

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