Motorists May Be Asked To Pay Ozone Penalty

San Joaquin Valley's bad air will cause their air district a $29 million fine for exceeding federal ozone limits - and they plan to ask motorists to pay the bill, if the board supports the new registration fee.
October 20, 2010, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The air district notes that motorists are responsible for 80% of the ozone problem. The fine itself will remain within the 8-county district and could be used to pay for mitigations like trading in older cars for less polluting ones.

"Faced with a fine of at least $29 million for exceeding federal ozone limits, the San Joaquin Valley's air quality regulators are proposing an annual surcharge of $10 to $24 on registration fees for the region's 2.7 million cars and trucks beginning next year."

The fee is enabled by 2008 legislation that requires a vote of the governing board only, unlike vehicle registration fees that the electorate will decide on Nov. 2. [See Prop. 21 would aid state parks by tacking $18 to car fees and county vehicle registration fees up to $10 enabled by SB 83 last year.]

From Bakersfield Californian: Drive a car? You may pay more for our bad air: "Rather than assessing the valley's largest stationary polluters, such as oil refineries, power plants and agricultural-production facilities, Air District officials are proposing to add approximately $10 to $12 to vehicle registrations in the valley."

"This is a fair thing to do in our view, since 80 percent of our smog comes from mobile sources," said Seyed Sadredin, Air District director."

Thanks to California League of Conservation Voters Newsroom

Full Story:
Published on Monday, October 18, 2010 in The New York Times - Environment
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