New England College Business Law Practice Discussion Responses


Peer Responses

IAV GmbH is a German company that was worked with Volkswagen (VW) to design and develop defeat devices that would allow VW vehicles to beat US emissions testing. The defeat devices are known to have been installed in approximately 355,000 VW diesel engine vehicles sold in the US. Emissions standards are set by the EPA for vehicles sold in the US to monitor or control the air quality of vehicles sold in the US. By defeating these emissions tests, the vehicles were achieving passing results on the emissions tests that were not accurate. These vehicles were releasing more carbon emissions into the air than what was calculated during EPA testing of the vehicles. The defeat device would work by the software on the vehicles computer analyzing and determining if the vehicle were being driven, or if it were being tested. Once the determination was made by the software, the computer would reduce the performance of the vehicles engine in testing scenarios. This reduction in performance meant that the vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions were being understated in testing as compared to real world use by actual owners. IAV plead guilty of the charges that were brought against them for their part in the scheme with VW. For their part, they were sentenced to pay a fine of $35 million.
The EPA regulations and standard for vehicle emissions are an important part of protecting the air quality in the US. Not only does controlling vehicle emissions reduce carbon emissions, the EPA also reports on fuel economy. These fuel economy estimates are important to consumers when making decisions on vehicle purchases. 

The article that I chose to report on was a violation of the Clean Water Act (water pollution) by Oil Chem Inc., a company in Flint, MI that was found guilty and sentenced for disposing of hazardous waste materials into the City’s sewage system. Although Oil Chem, inc did carry a permit for some of their hazardous waste processing and disposal activities, they were found guilty of also dumping landfill leachate waste (water that has leached through landfills) into the sewer line without treatment. One of the landfills in which they acquired leachate materials was found to contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which are known to be hazardous to humans and to the environment. 
I believe that the EPA regulation and prosecution by the Department of Justice was necessary. The City of Flint took drinking water from the same source that the untreated leachate waste entered (Flint River). Frankly, it seems that the whole City of Flint should be brought to task for violations of the Clean Water Act considering the Flint River has literally caught on fire, has elevated lead levels, and has made residents sick with Legionnaires’ Disease. In my opinion the government has done too little, too late to protect the people of Flint. 

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