Mary Nichols is back in the saddle as chairman of the California Air Resources Board, and she’s not taking prisoners.
Nichols, appointed last month by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, announced in a news release Monday, Aug. 2, that CARB had reached a $13 million settlement with Sierra Pacific Industries for a litany of California emissions violations.
According to CARB, Sierra Pacific:
- Falsified emission reports and tampered with monitoring equipment;
- Failed to report emissions that were above allowable limits;
- Exceeded several permit emission limits for several years;
- Failed to operate and maintain pollution control equipment; and
- Discharged soot into homes near one plant.
CARB – which is midway into issuing a truckload of diesel emissions laws – is expanding its emissions enforcement officer program and has fined trucking companies millions of dollars since 2006.
“This settlement should send a clear message to companies throughout the state that the environmental cops are on the beat,” Nichols said.
CARB broke down the $13 million settlement into $8.5 million for public agency costs, fees and penalties, and $4.5 million to be used for programs to benefit air quality.
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer