Skip to main content

tv   Hearing on Volkswagen Emissions Violations  CSPAN  October 16, 2015 9:50am-10:45am EDT

9:50 am
trying to figure out what was going on with these cars and why there was a discrepancy between the tasks, that your engineers didn't know the answer. but in fact, the discrepancy was because of a willful act of some engineer in germany in the first place, correct? >> that's my understanding, yes. >> and those people, that information about that discrepancy never made it to germany so they could tell your people what was wrong, is that what you're testifying to here today? >> i don't understand what you're trying to say. >> well, you said your people were trying to figure out why there was a discrepancy. >> right. >> but there were some people who knew. and those were the people who wrote that deceptive code in the first place. are you telling me they never told the u.s. people what the problem was and why the discrepancy? >> the people who investigated the study in detail, the study,
9:51 am
and developed the software fixes, were also the colleagues in germany. of course they were informing their u.s. colleagues in auburn hills. >> did they tell the u.s. colleagues that there was this deceptive code? >> i don't think so. otherwise we would be much earlier here. >> thank you, mr. horn. that concludes our questioning for now. this hearing is not over. we would appreciate, more questions will be coming from committee members, we would appreciate a quick and honest response to those as well. this hearing is going to recess for a couple of hours while the republican conference is meeting. we will reconvene. thank you. we will be back. >> thank you. >> thank you.
9:52 am
we reconvene this subcommittee of oversight investigation hearing on volkswagen emissions cheating allegations and initial questions. we have mr. grundler and mr. brooks. you are aware the committee is holding an investigative hearing and when doing so has the practice of taking testimony under oath. do you have any objections to testifying under oath? both witnesses say no. the chair then advises you that under the rules of the house and committee you are entitled to be advise bid counsel. do either of you desire to be advised by counsel during your testimony today? both witnesses indicate no. in that case would you please rise, raise your right hand and i'll swear you in? do you swear the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth and
9:53 am
nothing but the truth? thank you. for the record, both witnesses have indicated yes, you are now under oath and subject to the penalties set forth in title 18, section 1001 of the united states code. we'll now allow you each to give a five minute summary of your opening statement, mr. grundler you may begin. >> we appreciate the opportunity to testify on the matter of the environmental protection agencies. notice the violation issues to volkswagen. i'm chris grundler and i direct the epa's office of transportation and air quality which is responsible for epa's air pollution compliance program for all mobile sources, vehicles, engines and equipment including cars, trucks and fuels. i'm joined by my colleague phil brooks, director of the office of civil enforcement's air ñcqñ enforcement division, epa's civil enforcement program develops and prosecutes civil administrative cases.
9:54 am
epa sent a notice of violation, nov of the clean air act to volkswagen including volkswagen a.g., audi a.g. and volkswagen group of america alleging four cylinder and audi diesel cars sold there the u.s. from model years 2009 to 2015 include software that circumvents epa's emission standards. volkswagen manufactured and installed software in the electronic control module of these vehicles that sensed when the vehicle is being tested for compliance with epa emissions standards. put simply, these cars contain software that turns off or reduces the effectiveness of emission controls when driving normally and turns them on when the car is undergoing an official emissions test. this is known as a defeat device. this design feature results in the cars emitting up to 40 times the emissions that are allowed to ensure public health is protected. these devices contain essentially a switch that senses
9:55 am
whether the vehicle is being tested or not based on various inputs, including the position of the steering wheel, vehicle speed, the duration of the engine's operation and barometric pressure. the nov epa sent covers roughly 482,000 diesel cars. all new cars sold in the united states must have epa issued certificate of conformity demonstrating the car meets applicable federal emissions standards to control air pollution. by making and selling vehicles with defeat devices that allowed for higher levels of emissions certified to epa, vw violated multiple important clean air act provisions. these violations are very serious. not only because the illegal defeat device results in excess emissions many times the allowable standard but because after that vw concealed the facts from epa, california and consumers. these vehicles are emitting more nitrogen oxides, or nox are allowed.
9:56 am
we know exposure has been linked with a range of serious effect including asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses that can be serious enough to send people to the hospital. we are in the midst of an ongoing investigation into vw's actions. we will work closely with the department of justice throughout this investigation and determinations regarding potential penalties will be assessed as part of the investigation. we're unable to provide further details because the release of such information could jeopardize this ongoing enforcement investigation. epa will continue to work closely with the california air resources board during the investigation. carb led and contributed much of the effort to get us to this point. our agencies work very closely together on the implementation and oversight of the vehicle emissions program. as part of the investigation we intend to assess the scope of vw's liability under the clean air act and whether there are additional vehicles with defeat devices. we also intend to assess the economic benefit of vw to
9:57 am
non-compliance and pursue appropriate penalties as well as the excess pollution from vw's violations and the appropriate ways to mitigate them. while our enforcement is aware of the violations, we have asked for questions and answers from consumers on our web site such as whether epa is recalling vehicles. on september 25, my office sent a letter to all manufacturers notifying them we are stepping up testing activities in response to these alleged violations. over the 40 plus year history of our program we have continuously updated and adapted our approaches to compliance oversight as technologies and situations have changed. we take very seriously our responsibility to oversee the implementation of our regulations. it is this oversight that ensures the benefits of clean air emissions are realized. the consumers are getting what they pay for.
9:58 am
again, thank you for the opportunity to appear as witnesses this morning. we welcome your questions. >> mr. brooks, you don't have a statement, you issued a joint statement, correct? >> thank you. i'll recognize myself for five minutes. when you speak turn the mic on and bring it as close to your mouth as possible. mr. grundler, in december of 2014 vw conducted a voluntary recall to address the on road emissions as you know. what did vw convey to you about the cause and solution for the higher emissions in advance of that recall? >> thank you, mr. chairman. throughout the 2014 once california and epa learned of these excess emissions there were numerous technical conversations between the california air resources board and volkswagen. california took the lead on exploring what the problem was
9:59 am
with these vehicles and my understanding is that they received multiple different stories, plausible reasons why these vehicles may not be performing as they're supposed to. chemical based reasons, physical based reasons at the end with the remedy that was proposed was described to fix a problem with the vehicle concerning how it's operated under different temperatures, what kind of dosing sensors were used to make the emission control system work properly and that they were confident in a fix. at the time they were told by the state of california to proceed but that california was going to test these vehicles to make sure that the fix was effective and it was not effective based on the subsequent testing by california air resources board. >> did you conduct any further evaluation of their conclusions
10:00 am
and proposed solutions to advance the recall? what was the operational process you had in interacting with them? discussions, conversations? how did that go back and forth? >> epa and california have a strong partnership when it comes to oversight and compliance. sometimes california takes the lead on these matters, sometimes epa takes the lead. for example, last year we had the lead with respect to the hyundai kia investigation and subsequent action, california volunteered to take the lead on this matter. and what happened during 2014 is what is happening right now as we speak. which is trying to determine what is the right recall solution to address these excess emissions.
10:01 am
it was vw's responsibility to propose a fix, they did so and those fixes did not work. so my team participated in some of these. we became much more actively involved in 2015 when california produced their test results on the supposed fix of these vehicles and that data showed there still remained high and unexplained excess emissions. >> who did you have these conversations with with vw going back and forth communicating while they are talking to you about these results, do you recall? >> i was not part of those conversations. it was my team and the california counterparts. my understanding is those conversations included both officials from vw of america as well as officials from germany. >> do you know their names for the record? >> i do not. >> are those things you could get for us? >> yes. >> would you please do so? that would be important. now a technical question, i'm not sure if you can answer this.
10:02 am
here is the switch that when it's in one position for an emissions test it made a change in how this was operational so the emissions would be lower. in the other position the emissions were quite high. is it possible to just keep that switch in position of low emissions and they could be in compliance or does that damage the engine or reduce power significantly? do you have any idea? >> those are the same questions we are asking volkswagen right now. it's not actually a switch, sir. it's what we call a dual calibration strategy so the vehicle is programmed to work two different ways.
10:03 am
when the vehicle senses when it's on a test, it very quickly goes into clean mode and when it does not sense the very specific parameters that are specified will in our federal test procedures, it goes into a high pollution mode. i think what you're asking, if you just take the software off and will the vehicle operate normally. and we don't know yet. we're asking those questions. and the answers will depend as you heard this morning on which generation of diesel engines we're talking about. we believe that the newer generation, the so-called generation three engines, will be much easier to fix than the older versions. >> thank you. i'm out of time now. >> just to continue along the newer versions, they have these urea tanks. so it's a system that you can both adjust the nox filters and urea tanks. and in fact the vw dealer then -- the dealer in denver and also their mechanics told me they feel like it would be a pretty easy adjustment even in
10:04 am
the codes to fix it in the 2015 and '16 models. is that your understanding? >> i don't want to speculate that. that seems logical to us. we want to see the software, we want to test the vehicle before any further action is taken. >> obviously. but it's the agency's position that the vehicles do need to be fixed, right? >> absolutely. >> i mean they're noncompliant under both federal law and california state law. >> that's correct. >> and i think some of the impressions given by volkswagen is they're safe to drive. they might be safe to drive, but they don't comply with the emissions standards, right? >> that's right. >> so for the cars between 2009 and 2014, the fix is a bigger problem because they don't have the urea containers.
10:05 am
so it's harder to see without major structural changes to these cars how they could be brought into compliance. is that your understanding? >> that's correct. they will require a more substantial engineering solution. >> they're either going to require installation of a urea system or different nox filters or both. so that will be quite elaborate. i'm not a mechanic and i don't pretend to be one, but i went over and looked at this, and it looked like a very naughty problem to me. >> what california and epa have directed volkswagen to do is to present more than one option on how to address these excess emissions. and we want to look at it carefully particularly with what impacts they will have on the owners. >> and have you given vw any
10:06 am
kind of a deadline for coming up with that fix or have they indicated to you when they might be able to come up with this? this is something that really concerned the panel in the earlier conversations today. >> i can assure you we are pressing volkswagen for that plan and for those solutions. we're meeting with them on practically a daily basis. we hope to get a proposal very, very soon. but we want to make sure that it's effective. so there is some risk in rushing. but we expect to see something as early as next week with respect to generation -- >> and has the company told you that they believe they can fix the affected vehicles without affecting fuel economy, engine performance or both? >> they have not said so yet. >> so i just want to say one
10:07 am
last thing, which is oftentimes we have the epa in here and sometimes it's not the most pleasurable experience testifying. but in this case, the director of the international council on clean transportation, which was the organization that commissioned the west virginia study said, quote, this a powerful affirmation of u.s., federal and california vehicle emissions regulations and of the agencies. clear protocols, end use requirements for the useful life of vehicle, clear enforcement follow through, the authority to find and enforce recalls, these are the best practices that regulations worldwide should incorporate and today's announcement shows why. end quote. so thank you and your agency for your efforts here. in light of vw's deception, are you adjusting testing going forward? >> yes. and we already have. >> and what have you done?
10:08 am
>> well, we've learned from this episode for sure. we wish we had found it sooner. as soon as we learned of this data, carb and -- >> so how are you adjusting the testing going forward? >> bottom line is we are going to be unpredictable. what is required to a robust program is testing of new vehicles in the lab, testing what have we call end use vehicles in the lab as well as on road measurements. >> thanks. i don't have much time. mr. brooks, are you adjusting enforcement efforts going forward and if so how? >> thank you for the question. the answer is yes although i think the prosecution, the investigation of this matter will proceed along our normal path. i think what we will see, we will be getting a lot more phone calls from people.
10:09 am
and so in that way it will change. we'll have more to respond to. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> mr. griffith, you're next for five minutes. >> thank you very much. appreciate you all being here and appreciate the questions that have already been asked. and obviously there are a number of us if you were listening to the previous testimony, i am one of the people who owns one of the diesel volkswagens and so i have some questions in that regard. i think it's important that you change your testing methods and first question i'll ask you, do you think it might be helpful in doing your job if we pass some legislation that would allow a portion of the fine money in a fraud case like this to go to the university that discovered it? wvu discovered the problem, you all didn't. believe it or not, i don't think the epa can and should do everything.
10:10 am
and that this might be of some assistance in just like we do with certain bad actors in other criminal type settings who are committing fraud on consumers or selling drugs, we take some of their ill gained goods, we take it away from them and the government gives it back to some of the folks who helped discover it. do you think that might be a helpful piece of legislation for us to take a look at? either one of you. both. >> well, i don't think i can comment on what legislative changes might be necessary. i do understand that in the criminal context those kinds of remedies have been imposed before. >> so if you had that power now, please tell us -- >> can you speak close to the mike? you'll have to sit forward. >> if you currently have that power, let me know.
10:11 am
but whenever you come up with a fine that is appropriate for volkswagen, it would seem to me to give wvu that uncovered this problem part of the fine to help them continue their research. i mean that's what we do with prosecutors, law enforcement agencies who uncover crime. we do that in securities cases. there are different ways that's done. do you think that would be an authority that would be helpful to the people of the united states of america? >> well, i can take that back and we can respond in writing. >> sounds like a good idea to me, i'll just tell you. it is interesting that wvu found it and that you all did not. but i understand you can't do everything and you've answered some questions about how you'll go forward. let's go to the other side of this. whatever you all come up with and whatever volkswagen comes up with, i'll get my car fixed or if they do a buy back program, i'll have to debate whether it's better to fix it or sell it back to the company.
10:12 am
but i'm curious, at some point am i going to be subject or other consumers in my shoes, are they going to be subject to penalties from the epa for driving a vehicle that doesn't meet the standards that were supposed to be in place when they bought the vehicle? >> that question depends on where the particular owner of one of these vehicles lives. if you live in an area that does regular emissions tests that the state conducts these emissions inspections, some states require that in order to reregister the vehicle, if it's subject to a recall to show that the fix has been made. other states do not have that requirement. so it depends on where you're living.
10:13 am
>> if someone isn't paying attention and aren't following the news, and there are a whole bunch of those folks out there, they could end up with some kind of a penalty from their state but currently there is nothing nationally? >> that's right. >> would you anticipate that the epa would go in the direction o" some kind of a national program if enough of the cars did not get bought back or fixed after a certain number of months? >> we certainly will be encouraging consumers to -- >> i understand that. you'll get the word out as best you can. >> that's right. but i don't anticipate epa going after individuals. >> but it is a possibility? >> i don't think that is a possibility. >> let me tell you one of my concerns is, and doesn't have anything to do with you all, it's a rhetorical question, yesterday we had an epa official
10:14 am
in and the cap and trade scheme which they kept resisting calling it that, but it talks about putting a limit on emissions and then being able to make trades, so it sounds like cap and trade. and what was interesting about it, i had a list of quotes from lisa jackson in 2011, gina mccarthy 2011, 2013, 2014, said they were never going to consider and in fact it wasn't allowed under the law to do a cap and trade scheme and then i'm looking at something that is cap and trade scheme. so i'm a little concerned -- not for me. i'll do what i need do to make my car right or get rid of it. but there will be a lot of folks out there who may be caught and i want to make sure the epa isn't doubling down on their damages. because every one of us that
10:15 am
bought one of these is -- mr. brooks looks like he wants to answer. >> i will assure you i'm no provision of the clean air ability which would allow prosecution for the things that you're talking. >> and that's exactly what lisa jackson told us two or three years ago. but that's okay. we'll move on. >> i'll say it won't happen. >> on gen one cars, i've read somewhere that it will take -- it's a more complicated fix we heard this morning, but it will also take up some of the space probably in the trunk area of the vehicle. have you all heard that? >> sir, that would depend completely on what the remedy would be and as i said earlier, we will take a very careful look at what impact this will have on owners and consumers. that will be central to how we review the options that volkswagen comes forward with. so we don't know that yet. >> i appreciate it. thank you all for being here. i yield back. >> mr. pallone for five minutes. >> thank you.
10:16 am
one of the concerns that i raised with mr. horn earlier was this concern about whether we might find the defeat devices or similar problems with other cars. so i wanted to ask the question, do you have the tools and authority you need to ensure that there are no other cheaters out there? >> yes, we do. >> but i'm also concerned about and maybe this is for mr. brooks about the comments mr. ford made where he suggested that there were a couple of rogue engineers but suggested there was no corporate responsibility. who goes after the individuals, corporate or otherwise, that might be responsible for this or do you at some point envision even bringing charges, you know, like criminal charges against the corporation itself for this
10:17 am
intentional deceit? >> thank you for the question. i can't speculate now as to exactly what course all the enforcement actions will take. i can tell you my office has taken the initial enforcement action and we're working with the department of justice. >> we keep talking about the fines because of what happened. but is this -- does this rise to individual responsibility for those responsible or -- is there such a thing as criminal action against the corporation? i mean, i know i'm speculating, but are those possibilities? >> let me be careful in answering that. first of all, i think the concern that has been expressed here by members is exactly our concern, who, what, when, where, why, how. and so i'm quite certain that
10:18 am
the investigations that are ongoing and that will be begun will get into exactly that. it would be unfair for me to say much more about what the end result might be. >> but it's a possibility. >> certainly there are -- it's a possibility. >> how does -- i was glad mr. ford actually said he understood the impact of these emissions and that they could have health and safety impacts. he did say that. but does it go beyond that? i mean, in other words, he's admitting that this took place and there could be health and safety impacts. how does the epa hold volkswagen responsible for the environmental effects of their decision? does the epa consider -- is it possible that they could be held responsible for the impact on
10:19 am
essentially dirtier air, not just fix the cars but that there might be some damages or some kind of payment that would have to be made because the air was made dirtier or people's health and safety were impacted? >> the answer to that is yes. while it may go by different names, we tend to talk about it in terms of mitigation. but the concept there is exactly what you articulated. looking for the opportunities, the ways in which the damage that has been done to the environment and, you know, which consequently has impacts on public health can be addressed. obviously we can't go back in time and take that pollution back out of the air, but many of our settlements look forward and ask the question how is it that we can make air quality better than what the law minimally requires and that additional
10:20 am
reduction is what we refer to as mitigation. we have many consent decrees that go about doing that. >> so you could mitigate air pollution in other ways. not by vw, but that the epa would use that money some way to mitigate air polution in some other ways? give me an example and then i'll stop asking. >> in a lot of the power plant cases, we've had projects where the company has had to find a third party so that more efficient wood stoves are substituted for dirtier stoves. and that has a direct impact on air qualities in communities because there are lots of communities out there that rely very heavily on wood burning devices. so that's one example.
10:21 am
>> all right. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'll recognize dr. burgess for five minutes. >> thank you. and i apologize for being out of the room for part of the hearing. so i'll ask a couple of questions. if they have been asked before, please bear with me and try to give an answer that is consistent with how you answered previously. first off, what is the budget for the epa currently? >> i don't have the budget for the entire epa. i can give you the budget for my organization. >> sure, we'll take that. >> so it's roughly $100 million a year and 340 full-time people that work in my organization. >> the overall budget for the epa and i'm just relying on memory which is dangerous, but i think it is close to $15 billion. so the epa has resources
10:22 am
available, it has funding available? >> i do want to correct that. i think epa's budget is around $7 billion and about 15,000 people. roughly. >> nevertheless, west virginia university had a budget for this research project my understanding is around $50,000, $60,000, $70,000, is that correct? >> we are extraordinarily grateful for the work that west virginia university and the icct did and i won't blame our budget for the fact that we missed that cheating. i do think we do a good job of setting priorities at epa. once we learned of the excess emission, we focused on it, we didn't ignore it. and then we've also immediately changed how we're doing our testing regime to be more unpredictable so it doesn't happen again in the future. >> with all due respect, just looking at the situation and i think the american people ought to ask that we fire you and hire western virginia university to
10:23 am
do our work. they certainly are much more cost effective than this part of the federal agency. let me ask you this. i sit on another subcommittee, we have jurisdiction over the national highway traffic safety administration. but we heard mr. horn testify earlier today that this is not a safety issue, that these cars as they are driven, they're emissions issues but not safety issues. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> so does epa do its own kind of recall that is separate and apart from the national highway traffic safety administration? >> we do. >> and would this be www.recalls.gov that is the website that consumers can go to to find out information about the recall or the possible recall of their vehicle? >> we have not ordered a recall yet. when we do, we will provide that information for sure. >> that information will be on your website? >> yes.
10:24 am
>> so i went to the website, truthfulness staff went to the website, they printed it off for me, very grateful for that. you can get information about pesticides, pesticide websites, epa emission recalls where i assume this would fall, is that correct? >> yes. >> when you click on that link, you've got a page not found. website improvements under way. so can you let consumers know when they are likely to be able to get that information off of your website? >> again, sir, we have not ordered a recall 10 there is no recall information. we have information on our website that talks about what vehicles are covered and what consumers need to know today, which is that they can drive these cars. they are safe to drive. they will not be held responsible for any repairs, that will be the responsibility of the company. >> mr. pallone was asking you things about payment of damages
10:25 am
and because of the issue that the air was dirtier and health and safety have been impacted. so it's in all likelihood volkswagen of america is going to face some significant fines and penalties by the environmental protection agency, are they not? >> i think that's very likely. >> and you heard my admonition to the ceo of volkswagen, don't be dismissive, don't run from the fact that this has happened, you need to be aggressively compliant and i hope that they will be. but i got to tell you, this summer, i went to silverton, colorado on my own dime and looked at what had happened to the animas river, went to the gold king mine. and that was entirely created and caused by the environmental protection agency. so i've had a lot of people ask me that if a private company had done that and turned the animas
10:26 am
river yellow, there would be fine, mitigation costs. does the epa hold itself to the same standard to which it holds private corporations and if not, why not? >> are you asking me to testify about the gold king mine situation? >> just in general. the epa causes a problem, should they be held to the same standards -- no, i'm not asking you to testify. i think there should be a hearing on that separately. but should the epa be held to the same standards to which you hold a private cooperation? >> i'm not familiar with all the details as i certainly have seen and read that the administrator has taken full responsibility for that situation and acting accordingly. >> it looked out of a scene of ghost busters. >> you're touting my neighboring state.
10:27 am
and i do recognize that. now ms. caster for five minutes. >> so september 18, epa issued a notice that alleges certain volkswagen and audi diesel cars include software that circumvents epa emissions standards. and software is a defeat device as defined by the clean air act. i understand that vw admitted in august to installing defeat devices on their vehicles, correct? >> i would describe that in mid to late august, california and we got a heads up that they had in fact installed defeat device and we were officially notified on september 3. >> from volkswagen. >> correct. >> and what specifically did vw tell epa they had done to the engines to circumvent emission standards? >> we were informed that the
10:28 am
vehicles had a dual calibration strategy on their engine control units which allowed the vehicle to operate one way when it sensed it was being tested by the epa and a completely different way when the vehicle was on the road. >> and has vw provided epa with an engine map that shows specifically how the defeat device works for each model car in which it was installed? >> that is my understanding, but i'd like to double check that for you. >> i understand the affected vehicles fall into three generations based on the model and year. the defeat devices may work differently for each. does epa have a full understanding of how each defeat device works? >> no, we do not. we still have many questions. >> what else do you need?
10:29 am
has vw been helpful, what else do they need to provide to give you the information you need? >> the information we're focused on now like a laser is what are they going to do to address the excess emissions and take the software off the vehicles so that they comply. we don't need to know specifically how they cheated with each line of code. we have got some information on that, but i think the most important thing going forward is that those defeat devices are removed, that these vehicles are addressed in a way that will work with consumers and the environment. >> you've said you've learned some lessons. does epa have the expertise right now in-house or do you hire consultants? >> we do. we don't feed to unpack 100 million lines of code to find these defeat devices. the bottom line is testing them in unpredictable ways so that we activate these devices. that's the bottom line is what
10:30 am
is coming out of the tail pipe and does it meet our standard. >> are you taking broader action now that you've learned these lessons about how software code can be deceptively used to avoid emission standards? do you have the expertise now look at other code in other automobiles? >> yes, we do. >> are you going to do that? >> we are. >> can you explain that further? >> we have a number of different kinds of testing that we do. so we test every new model of vehicle. i'm sorry, we require the manufacturers to test every new model vehicle and submit that data to us which we review along with design. we audit a certain percentage of those by testing them in our laboratory on prescribed test cycles and we also audit by measuring real world emissions using these mobile devices. and it will be going forward a combination of both laboratory testing, activity testing, we know how to download this software as well as this real world monitoring.
10:31 am
>> and back to vw. does epa know yet whether vw can successfully fix the cars? >> we don't know yet. >> and vw has a number of ongoing investigations. has volkswagen committed to sharing the results of those investigations with the epa? >> they have not. >> have you asked -- >> let me defer to my colleague here. >> have you asked them for that information? >> they have not agreed at this time. >> don't you think -- have you asked them whether or not they would share that information with epa? >> we have outstanding official document requests. and we will be promulgating more of those. today we learned this morning from morning's session about one particular investigation. and that is certainly one that we -- >> will you let the committee
10:32 am
know if vw does not provide the results of their internal investigations? thanks. and -- >> i'm sorry, we have a vote coming up if you have another question. >> i just wanted to make one point and submit this with unanimous consent that drew cojack, international council on clean transportation, said the easiest solution is to give epa the more resources so it can perform the real world testing which is maybe more expensive but you don't -- he said you don't want to rely on the happenstance investigation of a small ngo to trigger the largest recall around. >> okay. so admitted. we have eight minutes and three people who need to ask. >> on september 25, 2015, the
10:33 am
agency announced that it would be conducting additional in-use testing to evaluate use of defeat devices in all vehicles. what is the current status of the testing? >> thank you for that question. our first priority is to take all light duty diesel vehicles. we have teamed up with california and environment canada both who have the capabilities. >> and how many vehicles have you tested so far, do you know? >> we are still testing the first batch of vehicles. >> what are you seeing so far? >> i've not seen any data yet, sir. >> and what criteria are you using and what is the procedure for implementing the testing, this testing? >> we're being careful not to share with the automakers how we will do this new testing because we want to be unpredictable, but it will be a combination of the five cycles we test on today and as well as real world on-board
10:34 am
monitoring. >> and does this include all light duty vehicles or just diesel technology? >> we're starting with diesels. >> and then would you be willing to commit to keeping the committee informed of your progress and provide us associated details regarding the procedures, data and results? >> yes. >> and do you think that this is an isolated incident or do you have concerns with diesel technology in general? >> i don't have concerns in general. i don't expect to find widespread problems, but we will be taking a very close look. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> we'd ask members if you don't have a lot of questions, because we only have six minutes to get to the floor. >> whose job is it to make consumers whole? >> we're not the consumer
10:35 am
protection agency. there are other federal agencies and state agencies that have that responsibility. but as i testified earlier, the consumer will be central to how we are reviewing the options to address these excess emissions. >> so let me ask you about the excess emissions now are violating the epa standard, right? >> correct. >> but we just heard testimony from volkswagen that -- and i have a letter sent to owners that says you can still drive them. so under what authority does the epa say that these cars emitting 10 to 40 times the allowed amount to continue to be on the road? >> the responsibility and liability for those excess emissions lies with volkswagen. and that's why we're conducting this investigation and learning what the remedy is and then pursuing mitigation to address the environmental harm. >> but you already said some
10:36 am
states -- if they were to bring their car in and for some reason that defeat device were not on, then the consumer actually could be responsible for the increased emissions, is that right? >> it's our understanding and belief that this defeat device will also defeat those state inspections. so we did not expect these vehicles were they to be called in for an annual or biannual inspection to fail. >> so in the meantime, though, so there is half a million cars running around that are emitting greater emissions. >> yes. >> so what then does the epa do -- we heard it could be for a year, maybe more than a year before there is any real fix. >> so i don't know how long it will take to get the real fix. but the goal of our enforcement action will certainly be to make the environment whole. that is our job. >> so you know already that there is half a million cars
10:37 am
that consumers are told they can legally drive that are emitting more than your rules say. >> right. >> so what is happening now to hold them accountable for that? you don't have to test them. you know that they're already over the line. >> the owners of these vehicles are innocent in this matter. >> right. >> and we are working intently with california and the company to identify what -- how to make these vehicles compliant. and once we are confident that we have the right remedy, we will order those recalls and it will be the company's responsibility to fix those vehicles. >> and in the meantime will they be penalized for having these noncompliant cars? >> the consumers? >> no. the company. >> no. that will be the result of our ongoing investigation. that is what will be determined by the ongoing investigation. >> what part of this don't you know already?
10:38 am
what part don't you know already? you know that all those cars are exceeding your rules. i don't get it. >> well, there are many things we don't know. we don't know the why, the what, the where, who was responsible. >> but you know the fact of it though. >> the fact is volkswagen designed and installed illegal software. >> and the consequence you know. they're emitting all these extra emissions. >> we have not done that calculation yet, but we know that they can be anywhere from 10 to 40 times. we have not done the math to figure out what those excess tons are and how we are going to mitigate them. >> i yield back. >> ms. clark, recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to pick up on the point just raised by my colleague with respect to the emissions testing.
10:39 am
new york state is one of those states that requires emissions testing. and typically if your vehicle fails an emissions test, you can be fined. so we know that because of the defeat device, most likely those vehicles would not be detected. >> correct. >> however, that doesn't change the fact that under normal circumstances, these vehicles would not be permitted on the road. so to have your agency say, well, because it's not your fault you can continue to drive, doesn't it sort of undermine the state's requirement for certain emissions levels to be contained for you to then undermine that with the ability for people -- notwithstanding the fact that it's not there. for most people when their
10:40 am
vehicle has an emission problem, don't recognize it and don't typically think it's their fault either, however we have to remedy it before we can take our vehicles on the road otherwise we're fined. we receive stickers and those stickers indicate whether our vehicles are in compliance. here we have the stealth vehicles running around in certain jurisdictions that do fail that, that would fail that under normal circumstances. how do you reconcile that? >> the fines are a matter of state law. >> right. >> the way to reconcile that is to identify an effective remedy. and once that remedy is fixed, those vehicles will pass those state inspections. and those owners will not be subject to fines. >> the challenge is the fact that this has been happening with vehicles since 2009. we have no idea when the remedy is going to be cooked up.
10:41 am
we don't know whether the remedy will be hard and fast. something that we can rely on. we are hoping. but there will be testing, there will be concerns going forward because of the deception of how all of this occurred. i mean we're talking about software here, right? >> that's right. >> how do we reconcile that? and let me ask in addition to that, are we able to determine those states that do require -- we know california for instance, there are probably other states with emissions testing. how many vehicles, how many of the 500,000 vehicles are resident within those states and what the effect or the immediate impact would be to the environment of the people that reside in those states. have we been able to get a sense of that? >> that is all going to be determined as a result of our investigation. it is knowable where these vehicles are registered and where they reside.
10:42 am
it is not knowable yet how it will be fixed. we want to have the confidence that it will be effective. but that will require some time. >> do you anticipate that you will be hearing from states attorneys general and other concerned entities within these states probably their own environmental protection organizations at the state level to try to get a handle around this? because there are certain areas where this type of emission exacerbates already troubled circumstances for individuals who have health compromised. i mean do we see a sense of urgency for really dealing with this? >> we've already heard from both state attorneys generals and state environmental. >> i'm sure. >> i met with all the state environmental directors just this week in new orleans. the air directors are concerned. they want to help. and they are very anxious as are we to identified how the excessl
10:43 am
air pollution will be mitigated. and that will all go into part of how we will resolve this once and for all. >> in closing, mr. chairman, if when you've been able to complete your analysis, if you can get to this committee a breakdown by state, that would be very helpful. we may have seen spikes in public health issues that have been exacerbating based on clusters and where these cars reside. and we'd like to be able to attribute that to maybe the changes that occurred in the atmosphere as a result of maybe a cluster of ownership. i think that will be very important for us to know. >> i understand. and we'll do whatever we can to serve the committee's work here. >> very well. i yield back. >> and i want to add on top of the questions ms. clarke just gave, if you gather information
10:44 am
with regard to state rules with regard to anti-tampering law, fines and also whether there are criminal penalties, we would appreciate as you're gathering this information for us. i ask unanimous consent that the contents of the document be introduced in the record. without objection, the documents will be entered and any redactions that staff determines are appropriate. and i want to thank the witnesses for coming today. we appreciate your time and your attention to this difficult matter. but it's important to us. and thank you for the testimony. and to the members for their devotion to this hearing. members have ten days to submit additional questions to the record and we hope you will respond promptly. with that, this hearing is adjourned. coming up live here on c-span3, the congressional internet congress will discuss

28 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on