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Discovery’s Diesel Brothers Fined $2 Million Rolling Coal

A Utah US District Court has ordered the Discovery Channel’s Diesel Brothers cable show to pay $851,451 for selling modified diesel trucks. The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment brought the case to a federal judge who made the ruling. Defendants David Sparks, Joshua Stuart, Keaton Hoskins, and Dave Kiley were ordered to pay the amount. But that’s not all. The judge also ordered that the plaintiffs’ attorney fees of $1.2 million be paid by the defendants. That ups the amount the “Diesel Brothers” must pay to roughly $2 million. There is also additional restitution pending. So these diesel dweebs could be looking at a whole lot more penalties.

Diesel Brothers violated the Clean Air Act and more

Truck pumping out dirty exhaust fumes, Leh. (Photo by Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Judge Robert Shelby found the defendants guilty of violating the Clean Air Act and Utah state law. In the course of their cable show, the defendants stripped emissions equipment off of their projects. Diesel particulate filters and exhaust recirculation systems (EGR) were removed. This caused the trucks they modified to be grossly over-polluting according to the court’s determination. 

The plaintiffs went so far as to actually purchase one of the trucks to then be tested in Denver. It was found to be emitting 36 times more pollution than if the equipment had not been defeated. Additionally, particulate matter was 21 times more than allowed.

Defendants are banned from modifying trucks and removing emissions equipment

PISMO BEACH, CA – NOVEMBER 27: A diesel truck spews black exhaust at the Oceano Dunes/Pismo Beach State Park | Getty

The court has banned the defendants from removing emissions equipment and from selling modified trucks. If they violate any of the court’s determinations they will be found in contempt of court. The court has also stipulated that the defendants can’t use bankruptcy as a means of avoiding the penalties as ordered. 

There was more courthouse comedy to come. The court ordered the award be split up so that $761,451 was paid to the US government while the remaining $90,000 went to Davis County in Utah. The defendants’ counsel asked that the court split the fine to better benefit the state of Utah. When asked why the council said, “My clients have always been committed to restoring air quality in Utah.” The ridiculous answer contradicts the findings of the court in the extreme.

Rolling coal was celebrated for years by the defendants

Diesel exhaust | Getty

Before the Discovery Channel debacle, the defendants sold modified diesel trucks for a living. Many were sold with defeated or removed pollution controls. The “rolling coal” phenomenon of belching unburned fuel into the environment was celebrated on both the site and later on the cable show. 

The plaintiff’s attorney drilled down about a particular video where a truck “smokes out” a Prius. Defendant Sparks responded that the video “was created by an employee I fired after I saw the video.” If it offended the defendant he forgot to remove it from his site as it was still there the last time we checked. 

Is doing dumb diesel a thing?

More diesel pollution | Getty

Not having watched the train wreck called Diesel Brothers we wonder if their brand of entertainment has any point? Is doing dumb diesel really a thing?

Modifying vehicles to improve performance and handling has always been the hot rodder’s credo. How we got to this point where rolling coal was part of the equation we do not know. The Diesel Brothers sound like a one-joke show without a point that has mercifully run its course.