Western Farm agrees to pay $114,000 for air violations
Fresno company breaks smoke inspection rules
SACRAMENTO: The Air Resources Board fined a Fresno, Calif.-based farm service company $114,000 last week for failing to inspect its truck fleet for diesel emission violations in 2006 and 2007 throughout the Valley.
The company distributes farm products, including seeds and fungicides. Violations occurred in the following facilities: Greenfield, Salinas, Bakersfield, Watsonville, San Jacinto, Riverside, Visalia, Walnut Grove, Firebaugh, Five Points, Hollister, Merced, Delano, Vernalis, Modesto and Imperial.
An ARB investigation revealed that Western Farm did not comply with the state’s Periodic Smoke Inspection Program in 2006-2007 which ensures that trucks in California meet health-based emission requirements.
“Making the commitment to state regulations and health and safety codes protects the quality of our air,” said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. “As we continue to push for the compliance of our regulations, awareness grows and progress toward a cleaner California becomes a reality.”
The settlement amount will be distributed to the Air Pollution Control Fund at $85,500 with the remaining $28,500 paid to the Peralta Community Colleges for a program that trains diesel fleet staff on compliance with ARB diesel programs. ARB’s periodic smoke inspection program requires the owners and operators of California-based trucks and fleets of two or more heavy-duty diesel motor vehicles to annually inspect the smoke opacity of their vehicles that are four years older than the model year of that vehicle’s engine.
In addition to the fine, Western Farms has agreed to:
• Comply with Periodic Smoke Inspection Program and the Heavy Duty Vehicle Inspection Program;
• Attend the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology class;
• Provide copies of all compliance records for the 2008 and subsequent four calendar years;
• Provide proof that each engine of the fleet meets emissions standards at least as stringent as U.S. federal standards; and,
• Instruct all employees to meet the idling regulations.
These requirements are part of California’s overall effort to lower health risks posed by dirty diesel engines, the goal an 85 percent reduction in diesel emissions from 2000 levels by 2020. Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. Exposure can cause cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular problems as well as premature death.
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.