Company ordered to pay $300,000 fine over reefer violations

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Monday, January 21, 2013

A California court has fined an in-state refrigerated transportation and cold storage business $300,000 for not upgrading its reefer units.
 
California’s Transportation Refrigeration Unit Regulation, also known as the reefer rule, requires upgrades or replacement of reefer engines to meet “low-emission” TRU standards by Dec. 31 of the seventh year following the model year of that reefer unit. A second tier of upgrades is required later to meet “ultra-low” reefer emissions standards.”
 
Ontario, CA-based Foster Enterprises continued to operate reefers with engines from the 1980s and 1990s into 2010 – with a majority of the company’s fleet being out of compliance on Jan. 1, 2010, according to a California Air Resources Board press release.
 
“The ARB originally offered to settle the case for much less than the ultimate penalty,” CARB said in the press release. “Because the company refused and continued to operate the high-polluting TRUs, ARB referred the matter to the Attorney General for prosecution. Finally, months after the deadline and in order to avoid a trial, the business owners sold their non-compliant units and leased cleaner TRU trailers – about 18 months later than their competitors.”
 
The San Bernardino County Superior Court fined the company in mid-January. Foster will pay $200,000 – with the rest of the fine stayed unless they fail to keep their fleet updated.
 
CARB said the fine is the first that has been imposed by a court since the 2004-enacted regulation has been enforced.
 
“All business owners should pay attention to this case,” said Jim Ryden, CARB enforcement chief, according to the press release. “This company actually had to pay twice – once to comply with the law, and then again as a penalty. Had the owners complied originally, they would have saved us and themselves significant time and money, and helped to keep a level playing field for their colleagues and competitors.”
 

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