*Edited to clarify that HD will offer to buy back the super tuners from dealers only and not the general public.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Harley-Davidson agreed Thursday to pay a $12 million civil penalty for selling devices federal regulators say allowed riders to put too much pollution into the air.
The U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Thursday, which followed an investigation into the Screaming Eagle"super tuners" Harley-Davidson made and sold to customers.
"Given Harley-Davidson's prominence in the industry, this is a very significant step toward our goal of stopping the sale of illegal aftermarket defeat devices that cause harmful pollution on our roads and in our communities," Justice Dept. environmental attorney John C. Cruden said. "Anyone else who manufactures, sells, or installs these types of illegal products should take heed of Harley-Davidson's corrective actions and immediately stop violating the law."
A number of companies sell similar devices. A quick search on the internet showed Thundermax, Vance and Hines, Dynojet, Cobra and Accell at the top of the list.
Super tuners are electronic modules which allow consumers to change the factory ECM (Electronic Control Module) which alters the ratio of fuel injected into the engine, thereby giving riders more horsepower. That increase in horsepower causes a change in emissions, which EPA regulators claim is illegal.
Officials said Harley-Davidson also sold about 12,000 motorcycles between 2006 and 2008 that did not receive EPA emissions certification.
The motorcycle company said it disagrees with regulators' conclusions.
"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," Harley-Davidson Government Affairs Director Ed Moreland said. "For more than two decades, we have sold this product under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts. In our view, it is and was legal to use in race conditions in the U.S."
In addition to its $12 million fine, the bike-maker must also spend $3 million to mitigate air pollution through a separate clean air project.
"Concern for our U.S. customers and dealers weighed heavily in reaching this compromise with the EPA," Moreland added. "By settling this matter, we can focus our future attention and resources on product innovation rather than a prolonged legal battle with the EPA."
Under the agreement, Harley-Davidson must stop selling the super tuners by Aug. 23 and offer to buy back every device it sold to dealers, and destroy them.
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