By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer
The California Air Resources Board increased air quality violation citations from 1,535 in 2002 to more than 4,000 and $16 million in fines in 2009 ? the last full year of data posted by CARB.
The state air quality agency?s enforcement activities have drawn the attention of many in the state, leading CARB to recently publish a plan detailing how it will comply with a new law that requires ?all relevant circumstances? to be taken into consideration when CARB issues fines.
CARB recently released a 55-page document outlining the agency?s proposed enforcement policy that responds to California SB1402. The Senate bill calls for those cited to receive an explanation with details about CARB?s enforcement program and where fine money is spent.
CARB will host workshops explaining the new enforcement strategy on March 29 and March 30.
The agency said that it had been working to add transparency to its enforcement procedures for more than a year.
In the executive summary of CARB?s proposed policy change, the agency stated that many members of the public ?encouraged? CARB employees at an October 2009 workshop to increase the transparency of its enforcement process.
The agency said fairness is at the heart of an effective enforcement program.
?ARB?s penalty determinations are designed to prevent harm to the public and the environment, not to drive people out of business,? the executive summary states.
Funds from CARB fines go to an Air Pollution Control Fund controlled by the California State Legislature.
CARB said it now posts all settlement agreements online, including explanations of penalty determinations.
More fine data is available on CARB?s enforcement site.
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