Some California Gas Stations Face Clean Air Fines

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Thousands of gas stations in California are being fined for not meeting new state clean air standards.  But, the governor and some state lawmakers want to give stations more time to modernize their gas pumps.   As, Steve Shadley reports, a lot of stations are in limbo…

The regulation requires station owners to install new vapor recovery systems on their gas pumps.  The California Air Resources Board says it’s an effort to reduce dangerous fumes that can cause health problems.  Thirty-five local clean air districts are now issuing citations to owners who haven’t installed the equipment.  The fines could reach thousands of dollars.  However, ARB spokesman Dmitri Stanich says nearly 90-percent of stations met the April first deadline to comply with the new regulation… 

 “There was great fear that a lot of stations would be shutdown because of this regulation but we don’t know of any that  have closed because of it…”

But, State Senator Dave Cox of the Sacramento Area says he’s concerned the regulation is putting station owners through more financial hardship during the recession… 

“Not only can’t they find the contractors to make the installation…they simply also can’t find the money to pay for the costs of installation…”
It costs about ten-thousand dollars per pump to install the new equipment. 
Cox has introduced emergency legislation that would give gas stations another year to comply.  A similar bill is being reviewed in the Assembly.  The ARB says it’s willing to postpone the program, if lawmakers pass a measure requiring it to do so.  

Last year, lawmakers approved a measure giving gas stations in rural Inyo and Humboldt counties until 2010 to comply with the gas pump regulation.