CARB fines approached $30 million in 2007; increase fivefold from 2006

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 4/22/2008

The California Air Resources Board performed idling inspections on nearly two-thirds fewer commercial vehicles and buses in 2007 than the agency did in 2006. The agency did, however, set a new record for penalties, with three major corporate settlements bringing total penalties collected to $29 million.

In 2006, CARB inspected 4,300 commercial vehicles and school buses for idling violations. That figure dropped to 1,580 for 2007. Three major settlements are credited with pushing the total fines collected to a record amount: Sierra Pacific Industries, Yamaha Motor Corp. and the Evergreen Pulp Mill tallied $21 million in assessed penalties.

The total the agency collected in 2007 was $29 million. In 2006, CARB collected $6 million in fines and total penalties.

Total violations across the board for truck, motorcycle, fuel, locomotive and other categories increased from 1,992 citations in 2006 to 3,442 citations in 2007.

Inspection statistics for pollution sources showed that the environmental agency keyed on heavy duty trucks. In 2007 CARB inspected:

  • 20,000 heavy duty vehicles;
  • 1,500 commercial vehicles and school buses;
  • 1,900 locomotives;
  • 1,900 cargo tanks;
  • 2,500 consumer products;
  • 1,900 trash trucks; and
  • 9,900 heavy duty diesel vehicles in low-income communities.

CARB Chairman Mary Nichols said the agency’s enforcement officers will continue to catch and fine businesses who avoid meeting pollution control obligations.

“With an estimated 93 percent of our population still living in areas that fail to meet federal health standards, we must continue to do all that we can to ensure our factories, vehicles, engines and consumer products meet our stringent requirements,” Nichols said.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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