Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

February 24, 2020

Dattco sued over bus-idling pollution

dattco Photo | Flickr/Richard Eriksson A Dattco bus.

New Britain-based transportation operator Dattco finds itself in the crosshairs of a New England environmental protection nonprofit with a long history of suing to enforce federal pollution laws.

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), which sent investigators to observe Dattco buses at lots in New Britain, Plainville, South Windsor and five other Connecticut locations during October, November and February, alleges in its Feb. 19 “citizen lawsuit” that Dattco violated the federal Clean Air Act at least 132 times, allowing buses to idle in excess of the three minutes allowed under federal law and state anti-idling regulation.

In one of those instances, investigators  allegedly observed a bus idling for 41 minutes at a Hemingway Street lot in New Haven, the suit claims.

Each of the violations can carry a civil penalty of $101,439 per day, according to the suit, which said the idling caused the accumulation of harmful tailpipe exhaust in surrounding areas as well as in the vehicles themselves, some of which transport schoolchildren. 

“Exhaust pollution is extremely dangerous for children,” CLF staff attorney Kenta Tsuda said in a statement. “DATTCO collects millions of taxpayer dollars to serve Connecticut communities and their schoolchildren. It’s time for this company to prove it cares about these communities, their children, and their futures by stopping this unlawful and unsafe pollution.”

In a statement, Dattco said it disagrees with the allegations and noted it has never been cited by state regulators for idling violations.

“While we cannot discuss the details of pending litigation, we do not agree with the CLF’s allegations of non-compliance and will vigorously contest these allegations,” said President Donald A. DeVivo. “We are very familiar with Connecticut’s idling regulations and have had policies and procedures in place for many years to ensure compliance. We take anti-idling very seriously and are committed to compliance as well as the safe operation of our entire fleet.” 

CLF is asking the court to permanently enjoin Dattco from allowing excessive idling, and to order the company to pay civil penalties and CLF’s attorney fees and other costs related to the complaint.

The nonprofit recently filed a similar suit against Wynn Resorts over idling shuttles at its Boston casino. It has a decades-long history of lawsuits involving water pollution, lead poisoning, climate change and other issues.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF