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A used Harley-Davidson motorcycle allegedly fitted with air pollution “undo” devices.

Photo provided, Utah Doctors for a Healthy Environment

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A Harley-Davidson motorcycle allegedly fitted with air pollution “undo” devices.

Photo provided, Utah Doctors for a Healthy Environment

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An environmental group that won a Clean Air Act violation lawsuit against reality TV stars Diesel Brothers is now tackling another alleged source of illegal pollution: Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships along the Wasatch Front .

The nonprofit Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment is calling for civil monetary penalties to be imposed and orders issued prohibiting dealers from violating the Clean Air Act. Unlike the Diesel Brothers case, the lawsuit against the motorcycle dealers also cites alleged violations of noise control law.

Under federal law, citizen enforcement action may be sought by individuals or groups against alleged air and noise polluters who have not been subject to diligent enforcement of environmental laws. by state or federal authorities.

The doctors’ lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on July 18, alleged violations included removing air and noise emission control devices in motorcycles; the sale and installation of spare parts that circumvent air and noise emission controls; and owning, operating and selling new and used motorcycles without all required air emission and noise control devices present and functioning as intended.

The accused are Harley-Davidson of Salt Lake City, South Valley Harley-Davidson store in Sandy, Golden Spike Harley-Davidson in Riverdale, Saddleback Harley-Davidson in Logan, and owner and manager Joseph L. Timmons Jr.

In a response to the lawsuit filed Aug. 10, attorneys for the dealers and Timmons denied the allegations, saying their conduct had been reasonable and proper and that they “did not directly or indirectly take any action in violation of the law”. Defendants said they relied in good faith on vendors’ claims that the products complied with emissions and noise.

Timmons, reached in his office on Friday, declined to comment on the allegations or the litigation.

The decision against Harley-Davidson dealerships is at least the third such case brought by the group of doctors in recent years. In 2017, the group sued individuals and corporations surrounding the Diesel Brothers, who sell custom pickup trucks in Woods Cross and online. In 2021, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that Diesel Brothers manager David Sparks and other defendants committed 400 Clean Air Act violations involving the removal or modification of emission control devices, providing more volume and power in the trucks but considerably increasing their production of pollution.

Shelby in March 2020 ordered the defendants to pay over $700,000 in fines and $900,000 in attorney fees. The US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last December upheld the doctors’ group’s stance to enforce violations of the Clean Air Act, but told Shelby to review penalties and legal fees. Hearings on these issues are continuing. However, in July, Shelby ordered the Diesel Brothers defendants to pay the group of doctors an additional $90,000 for legal costs associated with defending the appeal.

The doctors also sued TAP Worldwide, operator of 4 Wheel Parts Performance Centers in Ogden and Salt Lake City, on similar charges, alleging that they market and sell vehicle emission neutralization devices to individual vehicle customers. This litigation, filed in 2019, is ongoing.

In the Harley-Davidson case, doctors alleged that dealers repeatedly removed catalytic converters and electronic emission control settings from motorcycles and sold or installed exhaust systems or aftermarket parts that did not had no catalytic converters. Complete systems replace a motorcycle’s entire manufacturer’s exhaust system, including mufflers, headers, combination junctions, and all catalytic converters in that system. The so-called “slip-on” exhaust parts replace all manufacturer’s catalytic converters in the muffler assembly.

Motorcycle exhaust contributes to and prolongs poor air quality in Utah that has been linked to serious illnesses ranging from short-term increases in rates of heart attacks, strokes and death to long-term neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, according to the lawsuit.

The group said it filed citizen complaints under the Clean Air Act because federal and state air quality laws and regulations had not been properly enforced by relevant government agencies, the very justification considered for enforcement actions by citizens.

Motorcycles fitted with aftermarket exhaust systems emit at least twice as much noise as they should, easily exceeding the 80-decibel limit of US noise control law, according to the doctors’ lawsuit. Aftermarket bikes roar through Utah’s cities, towns and national parks, subjecting people to health-damaging “loud and gratuitous” noise, according to the lawsuit.

The doctors asked the court to order the defendants to pay up to $100,000 for emissions mitigation projects, monetary penalties to the US Treasury for each violation and attorneys’ fees.


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