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 following:

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.