Release 09-27
March 30, 2009

    Karen Caesar
(626) 575-6728
Santa Monica's "Big Blue Bus" fined $21,000
City's municipal bus line failed to conduct required diesel emissions testing

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board this month fined Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus $21,000 for failing to test, measure and maintain records of smoke emissions from its heavy duty diesel transit fleet in 2006 and 2007.

"Santa Monica may be known for its refreshing sea breezes, but that doesn't mean it's exempt from air quality problems," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Even coastal cities have to do their part to protect the environment and make sure our air is as clean as possible."

In addition to failing to meet testing and recordkeeping requirements, Big Blue Bus also violated the state's "fleet rule for transit agencies." The state requires transportation agencies to keep diesel emissions to no more than 60 percent of 2005 levels. On Dec. 31, 2007, Big Blue Bus' diesel emissions total surpassed that amount.

Big Blue Bus will divide its fine as follows:

Other terms of the settlement include requirements that all staff responsible for compliance with the State's smoke testing regulations attend diesel education classes, and that all heavy duty vehicle operators obey state limits on engine idling. In addition, Big Blue Bus must provide copies of all smoke inspection test compliance records for 2008 - 2011.

In 1998, the ARB identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant in order to protect public health. Exposure to diesel emissions can increase the risk of cancer and serious heart and lung disease. California has worked aggressively 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.