Harley-Davidson Settles US Government Lawsuit Over Numerous EPA Violations

harley-davidson-skull-logoThe suit was alleging that Harley-Davidson sold more than 12,000 motorcycles not covered by a certification ensuring the engines meet federal standards, according to a statement from the EPA.

The suit also accused the company of selling 340,000 after-market engine tuners that, once installed, “caused motorcycles to emit higher amounts of certain air pollutants than what the company certified to EPA,” the statement said. Harley-Davidson agreed to settle this US Government Lawsuit for a total of 15 million fines.

“This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, 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,” said Ed Moreland, Harley-Davidson’s government affairs director, in a statement.

Under the settlement, Harley-Davidson will stop selling the illegal aftermarket defeat devices in the United States by August 23. Harley-Davidson will also offer to buy back all such tuners in stock at Harley-Davidson dealerships across the country and destroy them. The settlement requires the company to obtain a certification from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for any tuners it sells in the United States in the future. EPA discovered the violations through a routine inspection and information Harley-Davidson submitted after subsequent agency information requests.

44 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Settles US Government Lawsuit Over Numerous EPA Violations”

  1. 1 SYF Aug 18th, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Wow that is interesting. Are they referring to the Screamin’ Eagle Super Tuners?
    And 12,000 bikes. I wonder which models they are referring to?

    But as long as they pay up it’s OK.
    What a effin waste of time.

  2. 2 cafesportytc Aug 18th, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    EPA , another government organization that makes up rules without public oversight…. Stupid.

  3. 3 Woody's Aug 18th, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Kind of pathetic in the big picture. Wonder how those motorcycle & NASCAR emissions compare to what the recent & current wildfires are putting in the air? They (wildfires) should be illegal. And don’t even get me started on unlicensed volcanos…

  4. 4 Boots Aug 18th, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Boy, I’m glad the EPA has hammered another American company! Who knows, maybe they’ll push Harley into moving to Taiwan or Mexico like so many other American companies!
    I’m surprised we haven’t entered into an another Ice Age with all of these horrendous EPA violations from these motorcycles!
    Good job EPA! I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that your on the job 24/7!!
    (Psst. EPA, I’ve heard that there are people in the U.S.A. That BBQ, outdoors, that don’t have an EPA approved smoke filters for their cooker and grills. Just thought I would help you guys out as much as possible)

  5. 5 catfish Aug 18th, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    i think y’all missed the point “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,” said Ed Moreland, Harley-Davidson’s government affairs director, in a statement. DON’T GET STOPPED WITHOUT YOUR STOCK PIPES AND AIR CLEANER.ETC. THE FINES WILL BE YOURS TO PAY.

  6. 6 Bob Athey Aug 18th, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Once again, a U.S. Government oversight organization, goes for a big money grab involving low hanging fruit, when there are far bigger polluters than motorcycles. So pathetic.

  7. 7 rebel Aug 18th, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Every dealership has a dyno on site to re-tune the bikes to run close to good after it’s sold for a couple thousand extra (then it usually isn’t right, just close), everyone knows those stock air boxes and slip-ons are just to get them on the road, just ask the “Performance Consultant”

  8. 8 2Wheels Aug 18th, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been to China… as obnoxious as they are we need the EPA.

  9. 9 Tom Ryan Aug 18th, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Given time, Crooked Hillary will blame HD for global warming just like they tried to blame cow farts.

  10. 10 Patrick Aug 18th, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Because Trump is not crooked? 10 times more.

  11. 11 pabstbluerigid Aug 18th, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    and then we have the Power Commander, V & H Fool/Fuel Pack, the Cobra unit, carb jets, etc & so on.

    give a man a motor, he will enhance it?

    why don’t we start replanting trees, a finite resource that in invaluable in that whole o2/co2 cycle? as in life? deforestation sucks, and we need o2!

    love my gas burning/wide open emissions ol’ 4 speed, don’t get me wrong. clearly this was just a muscle flex/stab at a vulnerable high profile target? money-grab, making an example hoping to scare others. back in the day, Harley would’ve beat this, when Teerlink was at the Helm. few rider’s left with upper/mid management at the HDMOCO now.

    yawn. and life goes on.

    “make sure your life/house is in order…before you go messin’ with someone elses” I say.

    to hell with em.

  12. 12 1550tc Aug 18th, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    tried to blame cow farts….put the crack pipe down please and step away from the keyboard

    Yeah those Buffaloes farting in the park are to blame for the air pollution in SD!!!
    Thank god it wasn’t my ZERO baffled WFO pipe!!

  13. 13 evo80 Aug 18th, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Lets ban the all government travel by jet for political gain.That will save the planet more than the epa worrying about 20 or 30 thousand mcs that do not pollute as much as one 747 does in a year.

  14. 14 Mike Aug 18th, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Crap. Now I am going to have to vote for Trump so I can keep my power commander.

  15. 15 fuji Aug 18th, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Life is tough when they ( EPA ) start manipulating with our toys. How will we ever survive.

    Just imagine riding a stock bike that doesn’t make a lot of noise.

    We have gone from polluted air ,
    Rivers that caught fire from being polluted ,
    Hazardous chemicals (humanly consumed in food) on farm land for larger yields,
    Factories dumping hazardous waste polluting the very ground we lived on.
    Vehicles that one found difficult to drive behind.(poor emissions ) on the highway.
    Noisy (non compliant) motorcycles may be next.

    As Dave Despain has professed only you will be the one to blame.

    Just a tip of the Ice Berg.

  16. 16 Roberto Aug 19th, 2016 at 5:04 am

    The EPA killed the Animus river last year.no sanctions, no one disciplined or fired.

  17. 17 Rogue Aug 19th, 2016 at 7:32 am

    If you want to stop this kind of thing Contact Your Legislators and Ask Them To Cut Funding To The EPA.
    It is obvious that the EPA is and has been to big and out of control for some time.
    It wastes your and my tax dollars on harassing people and not going after the real polluters.
    This can also open the door to more harassment to motorcycles with routine roadside or other stops.
    I have asked my legislators to cut funding to the EPA every chance I get.

  18. 18 Rogue Aug 19th, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Oh on another note I have a good friend who is retired from the EPA and is on Trumps Environmental Team and he has assured me that if Trump is elected there will be a lot of changes made at the EPA
    The VP Candidate Rides A Harley and I believe we can count on his support as well.

  19. 19 Patrick Aug 19th, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Trump is a demagogue, a con artist.

  20. 20 highrpm Aug 19th, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Hillary is a demagogue, a con artist.

  21. 21 Chris Aug 19th, 2016 at 8:14 am

    It seems that the point is being missed.

    Harley, as a manufacturer of motorcycles, must obtain EPA certification verifying that their motorcycles meet a certain emissions standard.

    The suit alleges that Harley sold more than 12,000 motorcycles not covered by that certification. Harley broke the rules.

    Harley sold its tuners which were approved by the EPA based on Harley’s statement of the emissions coming from the pipe. Harley misrepresented the facts and got busted for it.

    This doesn’t seem to be an issue of a government bureaucracy gone rogue, it seems to be a case of a motorcycle manufacturer misrepresenting the truth to a government agency.

    To those who want to cut funding to or eliminate the EPA, I suggest that you spend some time in Beijing, China or Mubai, India then see if you still believe that unfettered right to pollute the water, air, and earth are good policies.

  22. 22 Chris Aug 19th, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Are folks here truly supporting the rights of individuals and corporations to dump raw toxic waste into our rivers, spew lead into the air, and poison our drinking water as long as there is some profit to be made? Are you really, honestly, advocating for that type of structure?

  23. 23 Chris Aug 19th, 2016 at 8:25 am

    The point is being missed.

    Harley certifies to the EPA that its engines meet certain standards and the EPA signs off and approves the sales. Harley sold more than 12,000 units that were not covered by the certification. Harley broke the rules.

    Harley certifies to the EPA that its tuners, when installed, result in a certain threshold of tailpipe emissions. Harley made a statement to the EPA that appears to have been false. Harley broke the rules.

    This isn’t about whether or not swapping mufflers makes a bike no longer compliant, this isn’t about a government agency gone rogue, its about a company making false or misleading statements to a government agency and for that is should be punished.

    While the details are different, this shares some similarities with the recent Volkswagen saga. Be a good actor that operates within the rules and you won’t be punished. Pure and simple.

  24. 24 Woody's Aug 19th, 2016 at 9:49 am

    2 Chris, of course not, and there’s no reason to try and make the connection to this specific action and a Country with virtually no care about pollution, that starts up a new coal-fired plant every 2-3 weeks on average. The point some of us are making is the current EPA is running amuck pushing political agendas as much or more than actual needs. Nobody wants to live in a Bejing environment, but nobody in the US should want to have the thumb of unelected officials dry-humping them with clipboards, either. A good example is them constantly letting the CARB tail wag the dog. Fuck California, they can have whatever loonie laws/political bent they wish, but thanks to the EPA that applies to the whole country? CA can’t fall into the ocean fast enough if their going to be the defacto law.

  25. 25 Woody's Aug 19th, 2016 at 9:55 am

    The Volkswagon reference is an excellent example. We in the US are constantly told to be more like the “awesome Europeans” in emission control, yet cars that Volkswagon met European pollution standards with, could not be sold here. Really? Any wonder they and others cheat? If you were to put 100km/hr limits on the Autobahn, folks would reject them. It’s turning into the Chris Rock/OJ routine, where, “I don’t condone it, but I understand” 😉

  26. 26 Kent Aug 19th, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Take a look over at your child or grandchild and when they cough (dirty air and the hottest month on record- July 2016) tell them, we can send satellite probes to Jupiter (advance technology) “suck it up child” Harley gets to lie and I get to drive that lie faster! Give me a break quit telling other to do their part and then let Harley get off! The technology is out there ride their bikes, that would send a message to Harley “quit ripping off your customers”!!

  27. 27 Matt W. Aug 19th, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Chris: I agree this is kinda like if Harley was found guilty of lying on it’s tax return and then people blamed the IRS.

  28. 28 richards Aug 19th, 2016 at 11:09 am

    The EPA is not perfect but they are attempting to control emissions in the US. We may not like it in all cases but we need to do better or we will end up in lot more more trouble than we live with currently. Anyone making blanket statements about the “evil” EPA don’t understand or just don’t want to understand.

  29. 29 Brian J Aug 19th, 2016 at 11:14 am

    I agree whole heartily Chris. Most of the comments here are exactly why motorcycles, will eventually, get banned from the open roads. Loud pipes, leather vest, 1% poser mentality means we can not have nice things anymore.Hardley saying they were sold for competition only is a red herring too. People need to stop with the BS biker attitude. Ride, enjoy, repeat and STFU!

  30. 30 Super Tone Aug 19th, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    They will force HD to check your bike for a catalytic convertor while doing state inspections, and/or fail and fine you accordingly.

  31. 31 Pauly2 Aug 19th, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    And some of you are going to vote Trump because he is going to “reorganize” the EPA? Laughable, Rogue and others. You better count on Hillary Clinton to do this. Trump is a complete fraud. He was a candidate for his own PR personal interest. Never thought he would go far in the race. Then, to his surprise, each time he insults everybody, says the dumbest things, he climbs in the polls and become the nominee! Even him didn’t know there was so many redneck in the country who are vulnerable to his demagogy. Now that he is the nominee he is obliged to read on a prompter his speeches prepared by the GOP to prevent him to say again the most stupid things about everything. This guy is very dangerous, a complete fraud with thin skin. Remember how hitler started with about the same arguments. Always worry about any guy who color his hair blonde at the age of 70.

  32. 32 Christian Decatur Aug 19th, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Trump. Politically incompetent. Clinton. Business smart. I can give you the November 8 election results. She wins 44% to 36%. Big relief in the rest of the world. Then Trump concedes defeat stating he won but that the election was rigged. And some will believe him.

  33. 33 blu dog Aug 19th, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Trump is far worse than incompetent but Hillary, business competent? Like I said before both sides just keep drinking the KoolAde and the rational suffer.

  34. 34 Shanedrive Aug 19th, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    These are baby steps. They’ll be targeting the aftermarket relatively soon. Doesn’t anyone recall the SEMA/EPA issue back at the beginning of the year? There are lot’s of “tuners” out there for everything internal combustion. All say off road only more or less. But we all know better. The number of people that alter their vehicles is minuscule though. Even if they but the “squeeze” on the aftermarket, there will always be guys that can get around the emissions. We are a very industrious society-period.

  35. 35 Tom Ryan Aug 19th, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    I heard today that Harley was dinged for selling their non EPA approved off road American Eagle mufflers for street use. When they started selling these off road mufflers everything was ok, then the EPA went and changed the rules on them again.

  36. 36 Kelly Aug 19th, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Perhaps Brian can explain why many Vietnam veterans wearing vests while riding translates into to him “not having nice things” I think they earned the right to dress as they want associate with who they want and I do not see how they are preventing Brian or anyone else from having “nice things”!!

  37. 37 Chris G Aug 20th, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Gotta say up in the Pacific Northwest we had a very wet July it wasn’t warm at all, but I guess there is no fear mongering/ scare tactic in that!! Its only a motorcycle not a semi or for that matter a factory. These all or nothing, zero tolerance laws / tactics are bullshit they have nothing to do with the environment its all about control. No common sense at all. We don’t want to be like China so could you please only breathe half the day cause honestly that Carbon Dioxide you are emitting is destroying the Earth and btw trees are no longer allowed to breathe CO2 because it is a poisonous gas hasn’t the EPA done anything yet?? What about the Children!!!! Oh yeah FYI the ice in the Antarctic is increasing funny that the msm doesn’t want to report it

  38. 38 MDSPHOTO Aug 20th, 2016 at 6:54 am

    why don’t we start replanting trees, a finite resource that in invaluable in that whole o2/co2 cycle? as in life? deforestation sucks, and we need o2!

    Don’t even get me started on this crap. We live on a lake where the lake authority owns 20′ from The shoreline onto our property. Came home the other day to find a letter from the lake authority stating they found a tree that was struck by lightning on their/my property and I am required to cut the tree down, have it removed and purchase/plant the same tree within 10′ of the one we removed. Yeah, that’s gonna happen.

  39. 39 Blackmax Aug 20th, 2016 at 7:38 am

    The EPA already makes the restrictions on any stock cycle so restrictive it barely runs
    So what is the first thing that cycle buyer does?
    New pipes, new air filter & a fuel controller .
    Cyril does not say which item it is but if it is the Screaming Eagle controller.
    Like Tom Ryan said all of them say for off road use only
    if the disclaimer is not good enough then the EPA needs to say so
    EPA needs to go suck a tailpipe & leave us alone!!!
    The amount we put into the air ion a cycle is next to nothing

  40. 40 Git Real Aug 20th, 2016 at 9:29 am


    An EPA and HD article gone to the political wanna be pundits keyboard commandos. GO BACK TO YOUR TWITTER AND FACEBOOK POSTS BOYS!

    Git Real

  41. 41 BOSS HAWG Aug 20th, 2016 at 12:15 pm




  42. 42 Roberto Aug 20th, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Nobody wants to see The EPA abolished,just to have it run properly ,not by zealots. Read up on what they did to the Gibson Guitars a few years ago…..

  43. 43 Roberto Aug 20th, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    What is the prpose of a super stringent epa if those other countries have no oversight. How long before their pollution makes it way over here?

  44. 44 Zenaldo Aug 20th, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Reminder..a ways back this planet was in an ” Ice Age “….the planet already had a pathway long before we crawled out of the swamp.. And it involves a warming trend…highly doubt a few thousand well tuned MC’s are having an impact on that trajectory..I doubt the EPA is going to save any of us from the pre-determined ending…just another few billion a year they’re wasting of our tax dollars…another agency we probably don’t really need…or to fund…

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Cyril Huze