10,000 petitioners join call for EPA to investigate Deere over Right to Repair

Media Contacts
Kevin O'Reilly

Former Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, PIRG

CHICAGO — Repair advocates PIRG, Repair.org and iFixit delivered 10,130 petitions Thursday calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate John Deere’s restrictions on repairing its machinery. The public show of support follows a similar call the organizations made in July after discovering that Deere’s repair restrictions appear to violate the Clean Air Act. The EPA is yet to comment or act.

“Deere’s restrictions seem to be plowing through laws that require farmers to have repair choices,” said PIRG Right to Repair Campaign Director Kevin O’Reilly. “How many farmers had machines break down during harvest that they couldn’t fix? How many had to choose between using black-market tools to bypass emission controls or lose their crop because of dealer repair delays? It’s time for the EPA to get off the sidelines—for the good of farmers and for the good of our environment.”

Deere has opposed Right to Repair legislation—which would require the company to provide access to software tools and other necessary repair materials—while facing an FTC complaint filed by PIRG, Repair.org and numerous farmer advocacy organizations, as well as at least 17 class action lawsuits alleging its repair restrictions are illegally anticompetitive. Ironically, on several occasions, the company has pointed to EPA and environmental concerns as reasons that they refuse to provide access to materials needed in fixing equipment.

“I’ve dug into the law and into John Deere’s manuals. It’s clear to me that the two don’t line up,” said Repair.org Board Member Willie Cade. “The EPA has the opportunity to stand up to these unlawful practices for the good of farmers here in Illinois and across the country. They shouldn’t waste another beat.”

The EPA requires that manufacturers of nonroad diesel engines apply and obtain a certificate of conformity with the Clean Air Act on an annual basis. If the EPA deems that a manufacturer fails to comply with emissions standards or the Clean Air Act, it can deny or revoke the company’s certification.

“We are grateful to the thousands of people who have signed these petitions and shown their support for farmers. Now, it’s time for the EPA to do its part,” O’Reilly said.