SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board last month fined Montebello-based waste hauler Key Disposal, Inc., $500,000 for failing to adequately inspect its fleet and retrofit some of its vehicles with diesel filters as required by State law.
"This significant fine reflects how seriously we take violations of our air quality regulations," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Big rig diesel trucks can belch noxious fumes that pollute neighborhoods and affect public health, which is why we require companies to clean them up. Any business that fails to take its responsibilities seriously or attempts to take short cuts can expect to pay a high price for its actions."
ARB initially offered to settle with Key Disposal and its president John Katangian for a lower amount, however, because no agreement was reached, the Office of the California Attorney General sued the company in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The case was ultimately settled for $500,000. According to the court order, the company and Katangian will pay $250,000 and the balance of the fine will be stayed, pending no further violations. Payments will be made to the Air Pollution Control Fund, which supports research and projects to improve air quality.
As a condition of the settlement, Key Disposal and Katangian were required to bring their entire fleet of vehicles into compliance with ARB programs and regulations. The vehicles must remain in compliance as long as they are in use. In addition, Key Disposal employees responsible for fleet maintenance must complete a community college diesel emissions compliance education class conducted by the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing substances. In 2000, the ARB established California's Diesel Risk Reduction Plan, which aims to reduce diesel emissions to 85 percent below 2000 levels by 2020. Other sources of diesel particulate matter such as big rig trucks, transit buses, cargo-handling equipment and ship engines have already been addressed through regulations, along with diesel fuel.
The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.