In the EPA’s never-ending quest to paint motorcycles as the bad guy and blame these economical, gas-saving machines for the air pollution in this country, the government agency has finally landed the biggest fish in the U.S. bike pond. The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, filed suit against Harley-Davidson for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act. The government claims that H-D manufactured and sold approximately 340,000 “illegal devices” that, according to the EPA, increase air pollution.

Harley disagreed with the EPA’s stance, stating that its Screamin’ Eagle Race Tuners and SE Pro Super Tuners were designed and sold for competition only, that packaging was clearly labeled to indicate that the products were not intended for street use, and that dealers and customers were educated on the legal ramifications of installing these products for street use.


The suit was recently settled, with Harley’s Government Affairs Director Ed Moreland stating, “By settling this matter, we can focus our future attention and resources on product innovation rather than a prolonged legal battle with the EPA.” The complaint also states that Harley manufactured and sold over 12,000 model-year 2006, 2007 and 2008 motorcycles that were not explicitly covered by an EPA certificate of conformity.

The settlement requires Harley to pay a $12 million civil penalty and spend $3 million on a project to replace wood stoves with cleaner-burning stoves in various communities. Harley must also stop selling and offer to buy back from H-D dealerships all “illegal aftermarket defeat devices” in stock, and then destroy them. The MoCo must also test and obtain a certification from the California Air Resources Board for any still-legal street tuners it sells in the future.

Moreland commented, “This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret different, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition.” So there.


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