Oklahoma City Business Owner Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to Violating Clean Air Act | USAO-WDOK

OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, JAMES “DOC” LOVEThe 53-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma, was sentenced for tampering with a monitoring device and method required to be maintained under the Clean Air Act, US Attorney Robert J. Troester announced.

On September 20, 2021, a charge information accused Love of violating the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act was enacted by Congress to protect and improve the quality of the Nation’s air resources to promote public health and welfare and the productive capacity of its population. On October 7, 2021, Love pleaded guilty to Information and on January 23, 2023, he was sentenced to twelve months probation by US District Judge Scott L. Palk. Love was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

According to public record, Love owned and operated Southwest Diesel Service, a full-service garage for heavy-duty diesel engines that was located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Love admitted that between February 2015 and April 2019, he directed his employees to modify the emission control systems on heavy-duty diesel trucks. Specifically, Love ordered these employees to tamper with emission control components, including the removal of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and linings of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems. He then instructed others to reprogram the vehicles’ on-board computers so that the sensors in the emission control systems could not detect the tampering. These modifications prevented the trucks from accurately recording the pollutants they discharged into the atmosphere. They also ensured that the trucks continued to circulate on public roads despite operating illegally.

“Emissions controls protect us all from the harmful effects of air pollution. However, Mr. Love put the public’s health at risk by tampering with devices intended to disable those emission controls for financial gain,” it said. US Attorney Troester. “We hope this case sends a clear message to others that this type of conduct has serious consequences.”

“Defendant put profit before public health by directing employees to bypass and disable the emission control equipment on the heavy-duty diesel engines,” said Special Agent in Charge Kim Bahney. “This ruling demonstrates that EPA and our law enforcement partners will hold accountable those who violate laws designed to protect our communities from harmful air pollution.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Charles Brown. The investigation was conducted by the Oklahoma Environmental Crimes Task Force to include the Criminal Investigation Division of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Reference is made to court filings for more information.