For Immediate Release

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Lauren Lantry (202) 548-6599

United States Sues Volkswagen Over Emissions Cheating

WASHINGTON - Today the United States Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency filed a civil lawsuit against Volkswagen, alleging that the manufacturer installed defeat devices in nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles that increased the amount of health-threatening pollution emitted when the cars were not undergoing tests for federal emissions standards. In September 2015, the company admitted to installing software in certain diesel vehicles designed to bypass pollution control systems, resulting in dangerous emissions up to 40 times allowed by law.

Today’s complaint marks the first litigation filed against Volkswagen by the United States over the emissions cheating scandal. Under the Clean Air Act, Volkswagen faces fines of up to $37,500 per vehicle.

In response, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, released the following statement:

“Volkswagen broke the law, and today the Department of Justice and EPA are taking a step toward making them pay the price. By knowingly cheating emissions standards, Volkswagen manufactured cars around the world that spewed illegal amounts of dangerous  pollution, fuelling sickening smog and threatening the health of millions of people. Volkswagen not only put profits before the health of our families and our planet, it ripped off mindful consumers who thought they were purchasing cleaner vehicles. Volkswagen executives must be held accountable.

“Volkswagen endangered the health of people and our planet with deceitful marketing and toxic pollution. Now, it’s time that Volkswagen focus on building clean electric vehicles that don’t make our families sick and our air dirty. You can’t cheat on tailpipe emissions tests if there are no tailpipes.”


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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