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NEW: CARB’s punitive approach


Failing to file a report. That’s it. That’s all Nor-Cal Produce in West Sacramento did. And in late March it cost the small, family-run fruit and vegetable wholesaler $32,550.

“The California Air Resources Board [CARB] last month came to terms with a West Sacramento, Calif. produce company for $32,550 for failing to submit its TRU facility report,” stated a March 30, 2010 CARB press release which called the case a matter of “diesel emissions violations.” “ARB investigators found that NorCal Produce did not submit the required facility report by the 2006 deadline, as required by the transport refrigeration unit [TRU] air toxic control measure [ATCM].”

Of course, the company was actually facing $43,400 in penalties (or more) but qualified for a 25 percent discount because of, as CARB spokesman Dimitri Stanich put it, “cooperative actions on the part of the business.”

“The NorCal facility employees helped ARB on the development of the regulation and even allowed ARB to use their facility as a training area,” Stanich wrote in a May 4 e-mail. “As a result, ARB was in regular contact with them and was ready to help with any questions they might have had… The company understood the issues related to timing and compliance, as evidenced by the fact [that] it self-reported.”

Though a small case when compared to other recent CARB enforcement decisions, the Nor-Cal Produce settlement caught the attention of Air Resources Board critics in the state Senate. “Exposing gross polluters is one thing, but shaming a West Sacramento company for failing to file a report (as they recently did) is beneath the dignity of a state agency,” stated an April 21 e-mail from the California State Senate Republican Caucus titled “Briefing Report: The Legislature’s Large CARB Footprint.”

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