Release 07-43
October 11, 2007

    Gennet Paauwe
Dimitri Stanich
(916) 322-2990

ARB Settles with San Joaquin Valley's A.L. Gilbert Co. and the City of Visalia

Failure to test diesel truck fleets for excess emissions costs $30,000 in penalties

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board last month settled with A.L. Gilbert Co. and the City of Visalia for a total of more than $30,000 for failure to self-inspect their diesel trucks for compliance with the state's smoke emissions standards.

Oakdale-based A.L. Gilbert Co. settled for $18,750 and the city of Visalia $12,000.

Both are required to have all staff responsible for compliance with the Periodic Smoke Inspection Program and Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicle Inspection Program to attend courses at the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology, through selected California community colleges. Further, each must instruct vehicle operators to comply with the state's idling regulations, supply all smoke inspection records to ARB for the next several years, and have properly labeled engines to ensure compliance with the engine emissions certification program regulations.

The Periodic Smoke Inspection Program and Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicle Inspection Program require annual smoke opacity tests of California-based fleets. The programs, in conjunction with ARB's roadside smoke inspection program, are used to ensure that all of California's heavy-duty vehicles are properly maintained, tamper-free and free from excessive smoke emissions.

"This case, combined with all of our other enforcement actions and aggressive regulations, will help bring cleaner air to the San Joaquin Valley sooner," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "Our inspectors are keeping a vigilant eye out for those who foul California's air."

The San Joaquin Valley faces serious particulate matter and ozone problems. Diesel particulate matter can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, cause or aggravate bronchitis and other lung diseases, and reduce the body's ability to fight infections. Ozone causes numerous adverse health effects that may range from relatively mild temporary conditions, such as eye or throat irritation, shortness of breath, or headaches to permanent and serious conditions, such as birth defects, cancer or damage to lungs, nerves, liver, heart, or other organs.

The monies will be put into the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which was established to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology. This fund uses compliance settlement fees to fund various pollution-related research projects and related programs.

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.