Mike Rogge

Bill requires stricter enforcement of hazardous waste facilities

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, April 24, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

A hazardous waste enforcement bill by Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), AB 1075, states that DTSC would have compelling cause to deny, revoke or suspend  a hazardous waste permit, registration or certificate for any person or entity that has been found liable or convicted of two or more violations during a five year period.

This bill authorizes the department to temporarily suspend any permit, registration, or certificate prior to a hearing if the department determines that conditions may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or safety or the environment.

AB 1075 would impose an additional civil penalty of not less than $5,000 or more than $50,000 for each day of each violation, if the person has been found liable for two or more previous violations of certain hazardous waste-related provisions within any consecutive 60 months.

This bill was undoubtedly a result of DTSC inaction in regard to the Exide facility in Vernon that was found guilty of significant pollution.  The Exide plant was permanently closed earlier this year.

The bill was heard this week in the Assembly’s Environmental Safety and Toxic Material Committee which Assembly member Alejo chairs.  The bill got out of committee on a party line vote, but the author was asked to take amendments to appease the opposition coalition's concerns. 

Those concerns were:

  1. The repeat violations must be serious. 
  2. They must have occurred with respect to a single facility.
  3. The word compelling should be removed, giving DTSC a choice.
  4. The operator must be given the right to appeal to the Secretary of CalEPA.
  5. The operator would have the right to seek legal relief if the appeal is denied. 

CMTA was in opposition to AB 1075, but would remove its opposition if the above concerns were satisfied.

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