SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eight California companies have paid a total of $130,750 in court settlements because of violations of the Truck and Bus Regulation in the Imperial Valley, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reported Sept. 10.
The regulation requires companies that hire or direct the operation of vehicles to verify that each hired fleet is compliant. Companies that hire non-compliant fleets undermine the regulation, and subject communities to unhealthy air quality conditions. The goal of the regulation, CARB says, is to reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and other pollutants from diesel-fueled vehicles.
In spring of 2018, through the CalEPA Environmental Justice Task Force work in the Imperial Valley, CARB staff met with local residents to learn about community concerns related to air pollution. Community members expressed concerns about heavy-duty diesel traffic and compliance issues associated with cold storage facilities and drayage at the Calexico Port of Entry.
Based on the concerns, CARB targeted 35 facilities, from which the organization’s staff initiated eight case investigations on brokers, in-state carriers and individuals hiring vehicles subject to the regulation.
“Breathing particulates from diesel vehicle emissions is extremely harmful, causing respiratory illness, increased risk of heart disease and cancer, and premature death,” said Todd Sax, Enforcement Division Chief. “Companies must check that the fleets they hire are compliant with California’s rules. We will enforce against those who fail to do so in order to protect both the public health, and compliant fleet operators from unfair competition.”
The companies and penalties paid include:
- A&U Mex-Export Inc.: $40,750.
- Baja Freight Forwarders Inc.: $5,250.
- Cargo Northwest Forwarders Inc.: $20,000.
- Casas International Brokerage Inc.: $5,000.
- Imperial Valley Foods Inc.: $6,500.
- Richard L. Jones Calexico Inc.: $7,000.
- San Luis International Freight Services LLC: $30,000.
- Vilore Foods Company Inc.: $16,250.
A portion of the collected penalties, $20,375, will be used to fund the installation of air-filtration systems in schools in Calexico. All of the companies now comply with clean air regulations, according to CARB.