Release 08-26
April 17, 2008

    Karen Caesar

Mex-Cal Truckline settles air quality violations for $50,000

SACRAMENTO - Mex-Cal Truckline, also known as Cal-Mex International Broker, Inc., has settled with the State Attorney General's Office for $50,000 for failing to comply with state air quality laws.

An August 2006 ARB investigation showed that the company, based in San Diego, did not properly self-inspect its fleet of 20-plus trucks for excess diesel emissions as state regulations require. Mex-Cal Truckline also has a terminal in Tijuana.

"Heavy duty vehicle inspections play an integral role in helping to reduce diesel emissions from trucks on California's streets and highways," said Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols. "It's the responsibility of all trucking company operators, including Mex-Cal Truckline, to inspect and properly maintain all their vehicles. Ultimately, they need to understand that the cost of compliance is typically far less than the cost of a serious citation."

When ARB offered Mex-Cal an opportunity to settle the violations for $30,000, the company rejected it. Their actions led ARB to file a complaint with the State Attorney General's office. The case was ultimately settled - but it cost Mex-Cal an additional $20,000.

Under the terms of the settlement, Mex-Cal has agreed to pay $33,750 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which was established to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology. In addition, $5,000 will be paid to the Office of the California Attorney General for legal fees and $11,250 to the Peralta Community College District for California community colleges that participate in the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology (CCDET) Program. The CCDET is a joint training effort by community colleges, government and industry, created to assist the trucking and transit industries in complying with the ARB's diesel vehicle fleet regulations.

Mex-Cal Truckline also agreed to comply with all of ARB's current and future applicable regulations including but not limited to the Periodic Smoke Inspection Program and the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspection Program.

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. People exposed to higher levels of emissions from diesel-fueled engines are at higher risk for developing cancer.

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.