Sierra Club Statement on Expected Fiat Chrysler Emissions Settlement

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Jonathon Berman, jonathon.berman@sierraclub.org

Washington, D.C. -- Yesterday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles agreed to pay $650 million in order to settle some of the  lawsuits over its alleged illegal use of engine-control software to fake results on emissions tests for its vehicles, according to an article from the New York Times.

After the EPA discovered the foul play in 2017, the Justice Department brought a suit against Chrysler Fiat. Though the settlement includes no admission of guilt from Chrysler Fiat or accusation of wrongdoing by the EPA, the company will pay $305 million in penalties to the federal government and the State of California, which was also part of the lawsuit.

The anticipated settlement comes on the heels of a similar (though far more costly) “clean diesel” scandal in which Volkswagen was found to have cheated emissions tests. Ultimately, the company was forced to pay out $22 billion in settlements and fines.

Fiat Chrysler is issuing a recall on over 100,000 of its vehicles in order to install new software. Individual owners will be entitled to a payout averaging $2,500, which is expected to cost Fiat Chrysler more than $260 million overall. In addition, the company will pay $72 million in civil penalties to states that pursued litigation, as well as $6 million in other claims.

The settlement will be open for public comment for 30 days once published in the Federal Register, and subsequently must be approved by a federal judge.

In response, Sierra Club senior attorney Josh Stebbins released the following statement:

"The allegations made against Fiat echo those Volkswagen faced.  Just like the unlawful pollution from Volkswagen's emissions, any unlawful pollution from Fiat's vehicles wrongfully harmed the public's health and environment. The public will not be made whole by the Department of Justice's settlement, and Fiat Chrysler, like Volkswagen, should be required to take steps to mitigate and offset any such public health impacts.

“Today’s agreement is yet another reminder that the pollution from diesel and gasoline powered vehicles is harmful to our health and our environment. The sooner the United States completes its transition to electric vehicles while powering them with clean renewable electricity, the sooner we can all breathe easier."

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

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