The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) announced Aug. 30 that on Aug. 26 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 Californians for Enforcement Reform and Transparency (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 and one of 17 associations belonging to CERT, which 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.
For that reason, former CARB Chairman John Dunlap, explained, “Under the current situation, the public and the regulated community are left in the dark about how CARB calculates penalties. This leads to the perception that CARB’s proposed penalties are arbitrary and inconsistent — which in turn results in protracted enforcement disputes and litigation.”
If signed into law, the new rules will require CARB to do the following:
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, and;
report those penalties to the Legislature annually.
Kris Kiser, executive vice president of OPEI, 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 U.S. EPA to create a transparent, fair and even playing field where there is strong enforcement against gross violations from non-compliant products.”
About the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
OPEI is an international trade association representing the $15-billion landscape, forestry, utility and lawn and garden equipment manufacturing industry. OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety standards. Founded in 1952, OPEI represents and promotes the outdoor power equipment industry and ensures the public may continue to benefit from the economic, lifestyle and environmental contributions of lawns and landscapes. For more information on OPEI, visit www.OPEI.org.
For more information on CERT and its positions, go to www.certreform.org.
Members of CERT are as follows: American Home Furnishing Alliance; California Chapter of the American Fence Contractors Association; California Dump Truck Owner Association; California Motorcycle Dealers Association; California Moving and Storage Association; California Retailers Association; Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition; Engineering Contractors Association; Flasher/Barricade Association; Independent Waste Oil Collectors and Transporters; Marine Builders Association; Moving and Storage Association; National Marine Manufacturers Association; Outdoor Power Equipment Institute; Sand Car Manufacturers Association; Southern California Contractors Association; California Manufacturers and Technology Association.