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newsrel -- Airgas cited $43,000 for diesel truck emissions violations

Posted: 01 Oct 2008 10:00:47
Diesel particulate matter is 70% of California's airborne

Release 08-87
October 1, 2008
Dimitri Stanich

Airgas cited $43,000 for diesel truck emissions violations

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board fined Airgas,
Inc., a multipurpose distributor based in Radner, Penn., $43,000
this week for diesel truck emissions violations that occurred in
2006 and 2007 throughout California.

An ARB fleet audit found that the company had not been
conducting the required annual emissions inspections on their
heavy duty diesel vehicles at fleet locations in Hayward, San
Jose, Sacramento, Modesto, Chico, Yuba City, Woodland, Fresno,
Lodi, Stockton, Diamond Springs, Concord, Merced, Susanville,
Turlock, Santa Rosa, Redding, San Francisco, Salinas, San
Carlos, Dublin, and Visalia.

Airgas, through its subsidiaries, is the largest U.S.
distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases. They
also distribute other products, such as welding equipment and
supplies as well as safety products.

"Healthy air quality is something to which everyone can
contribute," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "When businesses do
their part, everyone wins. When they don't, public health is put
at risk."

As part of the settlement, Airgas must comply with the

    * Guarantee employees that are responsible for conducting
the inspections attend a mandatory class on diesel emissions
inspection procedures and provide certificates of completion
within one year;
    * Provide documentation to ARB that the inspections are
being carried out for the next four years;
    * Revise truck engine software with the latest Low-NOx
programming; and
    * Ensure that all diesel trucks are up to federal emissions
standards for the vehicle model year and are properly labeled
with an engine certification label. 

Per the terms of the settlement, the company will pay $43,000 in
penalties; $32,250 will go to the California Air Pollution
Control Fund, which provides funding for projects and research
to improve California's air quality, with the remaining $10,750
going to Peralta Community College District to fund emission
education classes.

A decade ago, the ARB listed diesel particulate matter as a
toxic air contaminant in order to protect public health.
Exposure to unsafe levels of diesel emissions can increase the
risk of asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases.
California has aggressively worked to cut diesel emissions by
cleaning up diesel fuel, requiring cleaner engines for trucks,
buses and off-road equipment, and limiting unnecessary idling.

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.


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