Release 08-98
November 24, 2008

    Karen Caesar


City of Needles fined $6,000 for emissions violations
Monies to fund education classes, clean air research

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board fined the city of Needles $6,000 this month for diesel emissions violations that occurred in 2006 and 2007.

ARB enforcement teams found city of Needles employees failed to inspect their heavy-duty diesel vehicle fleet.  The law requires annual smoke tests for diesel truck fleets and, in conjunction with ARB’s roadside smoke inspection program, ensures that all vehicles are properly maintained, tamper-free and free from excessive smoke.

“The inspection program is essential to ensure that vehicles stay clean and meet California's air quality standards,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “By maintaining these standards, we can continue to breathe healthier air in our state.”

As part of the settlement, the city is required to:

    Guarantee employees responsible for conducting the inspections attend a mandatory California community college class on diesel emissions and provide certificates of completion within one year;
    Provide documentation to ARB that the inspections are being carried out for the next four years;
    Instruct vehicle operators to comply with the state’s idling regulations;
    Revise all heavy-duty truck engine software with the latest Low-NOx (oxides of nitrogen emissions) programming; and,
    Ensure that all diesel trucks are up to federal emissions standards for the vehicle model year and are properly labeled with an emission control label.

The city of Needles will pay $6,000 in penalties: $4,500 will go to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, providing funding for projects and research to improve California’s air quality.  The Peralta Community College District will receive the remaining $1,500 to fund emissions education classes conducted by participating California community colleges.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds.  In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death, and other health problems.

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.