Release 02-25      

May 6, 2002


Jerry Martin
(916) 322-2990

Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730
Enforcement of Air Pollution Protection Laws Leads to $72,300 in Fines

-- The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced today the settlement of five cases totaling $72,300 addressing the sale of products in California which were not certified to meet emissions standards.

“In order to assure we have the cleanest air possible the ARB’s Enforcement Division is constantly monitoring fuels and consumer products in California,” said ARB Executive Officer, Michael Kenny.

Cases were pending against COSTCO, Snapper and Factory 2-U. These companies were fined a total of $33,300 for the sale of non-compliant consumer products. The other two cases were pending against Vitol S.A. and Ultramar, Inc. for violations of fuels regulations. These were settled with payments totaling $39,000.

COSTCO delivered for sale in California 240 Toro lawn mowers equipped with non-California certified engines. Of the total, 90 were sold to consumers and the remaining 150 were removed from the state prior to sale. COSTCO paid $25,000 in fines for the sale of those mowers.

Snapper delivered to California dealers 14 lawn maintenance products equipped with non-California certified small off-road engines, of which 13 were sold to consumers. Upon being notified of the violation, Snapper immediately recalled the non-complying products and ultimately removed 11 from California. Snapper paid $2,300. Both of these cases were uncovered during routine ARB enforcement audits.

In both of the above cases, the engines displayed a label that states in red letters: “Not for sale in California.” If you find that you are in possession of one of these engines please contact ARB at (800) END-SMOG and we will help you exchange your equipment for the cleaner model.

The case against Factory 2-U arose when ARB’s Enforcement Division, after a routine inspection, obtained hairspray from one of their retail stores. Subsequent analysis of the hairspray indicated it did not comply with the volatile organic compound limits specified in regulations. Factory 2-U was cooperative once notified of the violation and immediately recalled the affected product. Factory 2-U Stores paid $6000 in fines.

Vitol was fined for two violations concerning the importation of vehicle fuel. The company was found to be distributing fuels that violated California’s fuel specification regulations. Additionally, Vitol did not follow notification protocols for the importation of fuels from marine vessels.

Ultramar, Inc. paid a $14,000 settlement for alleged reporting violations. When settling this case ARB’s Office of Legal Affairs considered the fact that no new emissions were released due to this violation.

The money from these cases will go into California’s Air Pollution Control Fund (APCF), which is used to mitigate various sources of pollution throughout the state. The state uses this fund to educate the public and provide programs to minimize the output of smog forming emissions from various sources. Through incentive and buyback programs, the APCF reduces the number of pollution sources.

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.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our website at