SACRAMENTO – Union Pacific Railroad, headquartered in Omaha, NE, recently paid $120,000 for violations of regulations requiring companies to inspect and verify that their diesel trucks in California meet state exhaust limits.
An investigation by the California Air Resources Board revealed that between 2004 and 2005, UP failed to properly inspect and document its diesel trucks' emissions throughout California. California's Periodic Smoke Inspection program requires owners of diesel fleets with two or more heavy duty diesel engines to inspect and maintain them, and keep records. This expedites inspections, assures compliance, and guards the state's progress toward federally mandated clean air standards.
"Compliance with our regulations is the crux to clean healthful air for all Californians," said ARB's acting-Executive Officer, Tom Cackette. "We need companies to recognize that Californians demand clean air and that enforcement actions are an extension of their desire to live in a healthy and respected environment."
Most of the money from the settlement was paid into the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which mitigates pollution through education, the advancement and use of cleaner technology, and supports pollution research and related programs. The California Legislature controls the fund through allocations in the annual Budget Act.
$30,000 of the settlement is funding an ARB program operated by select community colleges that provides industry with technical and compliance training. Fleet maintenance personnel from the companies found in violation must go through this training program as a condition of settlement.
Emissions of particulate matter from diesel engines are 70 percent of the air borne carcinogens that Californians are exposed to on a daily basis. ARB has committed to reducing these emissions by 85 percent by 2020.
CARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The CARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.