Release 09-23
March 17, 2009

    Mary Salas Fricke
Tulare County Area Transit fined for air quality violations

SACRAMENTO- The California Air Resources Board this month has fined Tulare County Area Transit $5,250 for failure to inspect its diesel bus fleet for smoke emissions during 2006 and 2007.

ARB enforcement teams found that the district both failed to meet the transit fleet vehicle rule requirements and inspect their buses for excess emissions.

"There is no excuse for violating the clean truck and bus laws," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "ARB enforcement personnel offer training around the state to public transportation authorities to meet inspection, operating and recordkeeping requirements."

Annual smoke tests are required for diesel bus and truck fleets and the law ensures that all vehicles are properly maintained, tamper-free and free from excessive smoke.
As part of the settlement, Tulare County Area Transit is required to:

Tulare County Area Transit will pay $5,250 in penalties: $3,937.50 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 $656.25 to fund emissions education classes conducted by participating California community colleges; and the California Pollution Control Financing Authority will receive the remaining $656.25 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.