Former Suzuki employee pleads guilty to breaking U.S. environmental laws
Posted by Admin on August 03, 2017 in the following categories: Emissions News
Wayne Powell was employed as a government relations analyst at Suzuki Motors in the U.S. Powell admitted that, during his employment with the Japanese car company, he filed false reports that subsequently broke emissions laws.
The Clean Air Act strictly regulates the maximum amount of emissions a company is allowed to produce in the U.S. This extends to the vehicles the companies make as they too emit significant volumes of pollution.
It’s these laws Powell has reportedly broken.
After the “Dieselgate” scandal broke out in the autumn of 2015, the U.S have been on a mission to sniff out other companies who may have also violated their Clean Air laws. Once the authorities were alerted to the cheating, there were major concerns that illegal manipulations may be common practice (yet still against the law).
Agencies and law enforcers have already raided several giant car makers’ head offices around the world in their active investigations for legal wrongdoing. America has been particularly hot on hunting potential perpetrators, especially since their legislation is stricter than others.
The Suzuki fraud case
Whilst employed by Suzuki, Powell was in charge of submitting the company’s “certificate of conformity” to the EPA to show that Suzuki’s vehicles were not emitting excessive pollution. Powell is potentially facing up to two years in prison for submitting falsified reports.
In terms of how this works: companies have a certain number of ‘credits’ that allow them to emit certain levels of pollution. The idea is that, if everyone sticks to the number of credits they have, the level of pollution will be controlled and limited. Powell reportedly lied in his reports that Suzuki still had credits for the emissions produced by their motorcycles. By doing this, the levels of emissions being emitted into the atmosphere will be more than expected and may arguably have caused unaccounted damage to the health of the environment and human life.
It gets worse…
In a second report, Powell apparently falsified another report by adjusting the emissions figures to purport that Suzuki’s motorbikes did not emit excessive levels of pollution. He tried to defend his actions by sending the report to the EPA with a suspiciously deceptive email alleging he only manipulated the numbers due to a computer tech problem that produced mistakes.
This was not accepted by regulators.
Admission of guilt
Powell admitted his guilt by entering a plea deal with the U.S. District Court in Detroit, and he may now be facing up to two years in prison as well as a fine of up to £250,000. Suzuki may also be facing their own lawsuits from authorities for allowing and allegedly even “instructing” Powell to take the action he did.
The emissions saga continues…
The motor industry have been in ‘rocky waters’ these past few years, and many companies only have themselves to blame. It seems as though there are some automotive manufacturers who’d rather put profits before people and pollute excessive amounts in to the air we breathe.
Governments need to take action. The U.S. government also recently charged a former Audi manager of instructing staff to come up with the software that was reportedly used in Volkswagen’s so-called “defeat devices” system. Volkswagen itself and a number of its current and former employees are still being investigated and charged for civil and criminal wrongdoing.
Fiat Chrysler are also feeling the sting of the U.S authorities’ probes; as of May 2017, the car maker is being sued by the Department of Justice for allegedly using illegal software to cheat emissions testing on 104,000 cars.