Troubling environmental bills

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, March 17, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Air Violation Penalties
Two bills imposing very significant air pollution penalties were introduced this year in the Senate: SB 1205 (Martha Escutia, D-Los Angeles) and SB 1252 (Dean Florez, D-Bakersfield).

SB 1205, dubbed the Children's Breathing Right Act, increases civil penalties for air violations from $1,000 to $10,000 per day. After June 1, 2007, the penalties increase to a maximum of $15,000 per day and /or imprisonment of up to nine months. Certain affirmative defenses are also eliminated. This bill requires the State Air Resources Board (ARB) to define serious and chronic violations, setting a "not to exceed penalty" for violations of this type at $100,000 a day. Fifty percent of the money collected from these fines will be distributed to children's health initiatives in the district, 25 percent to ARB and the last 25 percent to the air district (making it, in essence, a "bounty hunter" provision).

SB 1252 would impose the first penalties on particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) violations. In addition to any other civil or criminal penalties, this bill would impose a fine of up to $25,000 per violation for any discharge over that of state or federal standards, increasing to $50,000 as of January 1, 2010.

Indoor Air
Assemblymember Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) has introduced AB 3018, which gives ARB, in consultation with the Department of Health Services, responsibility for the development of a program for the prevention and control of indoor air pollution that would cause adverse health impacts. The ARB would be charged with developing emission standards, identifying control measures and conducting a public outreach program. In the past, indoor air quality has fallen under Cal OSHA and the ARB's responsibility has been limited to outdoor air.

Transport Packaging
SB 1573 (Richard Alarcon, D-Sun Valley) would require the Integrated Waste Management Board to establish guidelines by January 1, 2008 for the manufacture, purchasing and disposal of packaging. It requires regulations to be enacted that would prohibit excess packaging and require the use of specific percentages of recyclable material in producing the package. This would put government squarely into the decision-making process for the development and marketing of your product(s).

Last year Senator Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) had a bill, SB 600, which was heavily amended and eventually passed by both the Assembly and the Senate only to be vetoed by the Governor. Most of the onerous requirements of the bill had been modified before it landed on the Governor's desk. Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata now has a bill, SB 1379, that exactly mirrors the Ortiz bill at its start.
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