The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) has announced that on August 26, 2010, in a unanimous 32-0 vote, the California State Senate adopted SB 1402, a bill that will begin to make the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) enforcement program transparent, consistent and fair. OPEI and its CERT partners applaud the legislature’s adoption of SB 1402 without a single negative vote, and now urge the Governor to sign SB 1402 into law.
OPEI is a founding partner of and one of 17 national and California-based associations that belong to Californians for Enforcement Reform and Transparency (CERT). CERT is committed to working cooperatively with CARB to enhance CARB’s compliance and enforcement programs.
Senator Dutton, the incoming Republican Senate leader who drafted and sponsored the legislation, stated: “I urge the Governor to sign this legislation, which has received unanimous bipartisan support. This bill will help private businesses in California achieve fair and consistent settlements. This legislation also helps create greater transparency at CARB, which will ultimately help this state retain and create jobs in California.”
CARB is charged with attaining and maintaining air quality standards in the State of California, which includes the enforcement of air quality standards. Currently, it is not clear whether and how CARB applies criteria or policies when it assesses penalties. This results in a subjective, ad hoc enforcement program that does not clearly or consistently distinguish serious violations that harm air quality from minor administrative glitches.
If signed into law, the new rules will require CARB to:
- provide a clear explanation of how penalties are assessed on a per-unit basis
- develop a written, consistent penalty policy that ensures the largest penalties are imposed on serious violations that adversely impact air quality
- report those penalties to the Legislature annually.
Kris Kiser, Executive Vice President of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute said, “Too often, CARB’s enforcement actions against non-compliant, unsafe products from off-shore, new market entrants appear less aggressive than CARB’s actions taken against ‘deep pocket,’ reputable manufacturers for minor administrative errors. SB 1402 will help CARB address this problem in a thoughtful and consistent manner. OPEI looks forward to continuing its long-term partnership with CARB and the US EPA to create a transparent, fair and even playing field where there is strong enforcement against gross violations from non-compliant products.”