Release 07-31
August 14, 2007

    Dimitri Stanich
(916) 322-2990

ARB Settles Periodic Smoke Inspection Program Violations for $321,875

SACRAMENTO -- The California Air Resources Board recently settled with four companies operating in California for a collective $321,875 for failing to properly inspect their diesel truck fleets.

The Ratto Group, Hi-Grade Materials, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Toys "R" Us were in violation of the California's Periodic Smoke Inspection Program, which requires owners of California-registered truck and bus fleets to regularly inspect their vehicles to ensure that their engine emissions meet state air quality standards.

"Regular fleet inspections are a vital component to ensure continued improvement in California's air quality," said ARB Acting Executive Officer Tom Cackette. "These periodic inspections are subject to review at any time by ARB enforcement teams."

For their failure to comply, The Ratto Group paid a total of $70,500 including $52,875 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund and $17,625 to the Peralta Community College District.

Also, Hi-Grade Materials and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have paid $27,375 and $208,000, respectively, to the fund.

Toys "R" Us paid a total of $16,000 - $12,000 to the fund and $4,000 to the Peralta Community College District.

In addition to paying fines and agreeing to comply with the smoke inspection program, these organizations will require all fleet staff responsible for compliance with the ARB's regulations to attend classes conducted by the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology. Monies paid to the Peralta Community College District will be distributed to participating campuses to cover the training course costs.

The California Air Pollution Control Fund was established to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology. By supporting various pollution-related research projects, the fines collected will help promote the ARB's goal of providing safe, clean air to all Californians.

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. People exposed to higher levels of emissions from diesel-fueled engines are at higher risk.

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.