Release 09-24
March 20, 2009

    Mary Fricke
(916) 322-2990
California agricultural retailer fined $16,500 for emissions violations

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board this month fined Britz-Simplot Grower Solutions $16,500 for diesel truck emission violations throughout its Central Valley facilities.

ARB investigators found that Britz-Simplot failed to inspect its diesel truck fleet between 2007-2008 at its Hanford, Hollister, Terra Bella, Traver, Five Points and Stockton facilities.

"Penalties for air pollution violations are a warning to business owners," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "The price can be more than a monetary inconvenience when a company's reputation is at stake."

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.

As part of the settlement, Britz-Simplot is required to:

Britz-Simplot will pay $16,500 in penalties: $12,375 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 $2,062.50 to fund emissions education classes conducted by participating California community colleges, and, the remaining $2,062.50 will go to the California Pollution Control Financing Authority 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 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.