Mary Salas Fricke
Hanford area public transit agency fined for air quality violations
SACRAMENTO: The Air Resources Board fined a San Joaquin Valley public transit agency $6,500 this month for excessive diesel emissions and record keeping violations.
An ARB investigation showed that Kings County Area Public Transit Agency personnel failed to test, measure, record and maintain records, and were cited for excess diesel particulate matter emissions for their fleet. The law requires owners of California-registered truck and bus fleets to regularly inspect their vehicles to ensure that their engine emissions meet state air quality standards.
"Transit agencies serve the public and are responsible to meet clean air rules specifically crafted to protect Californians' health," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "Passengers and those who work around transit vehicles are particularly vulnerable when emissions laws are flouted."
Kings County Area Public Transit Agency agreed to pay $6,500 in penalties: $4,875 to the California Air Pollution Fund that provides funding for projects and research to improve California's air quality; $812.50 to the Peralta Community College District to fund emissions education classes conducted by participating California community colleges; and the remaining $812.50 to the California Pollution Control Financing Authority to fund low-interest loans for owners of off-road diesel-powered construction vehicles.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing substances. In 1998, California identified diesel exhaust as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems. New research links vehicle exhaust and lung cancer mortality in trucking industry workers exposed to diesel and other types of vehicle emissions with increasing years of work.
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.