Down economy or not, CARB fines keep-a-comin’

| 4/1/2009

The economic recession has crippled government budgets in California, forcing some government employees to take unpaid furloughs and freeze spending programs.

It hasn’t, however, stopped the California Air Resources Board from fining diesel fleets.

CARB announced three expensive fines recently for diesel fleets that the agency says failed to conduct state-required emissions testing.

In February, CARB fined Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus $21,000 for failing to test, measure and maintain records of emissions from its heavy-duty transit fleet.

In January, CARB fined the Temecula Valley Unified School District $18,500 for failing to inspect its diesel truck and bus fleet in 2006 and 2007. The Riverside County, CA-based school district is required, as all diesel fleet owners are required, to perform periodic smoke inspections to test for excessive emissions and engine tampering.

“California’s air quality laws require that all businesses be vigilant when it comes to maintaining equipment that has the potential to pollute the air,” said CARB Chairman Mary Nichols. “When they slip up, we all pay the price.”

Proceeds from the fines will be divided among the California Air Pollution Control Fund, the Peralta Community College emission education classes, and the California Pollution Financing Authority.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer