Wednesday, February 09, 2022

The Air District is announcing the sponsorship of AB 1897, a bill introduced today by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks to increase the penalty ceiling for refinery violations of air quality regulations. 

Spare the Air Status

AB 1897 increases the civil penalty ceiling for violations of state or local air quality rules, regulations, and permit conditions at refineries from $10,000 to $30,000, if the violation results in severe disruption to the community. The bill would also make a person who violates this provision liable for a civil penalty of up to $100,000 for a subsequent violation within a 12-month period. 

In the Bay Area, refineries are some of the largest sources of criteria pollutants and toxic air contaminants. Overall compliance with air quality permit requirements at the five Bay Area refineries has declined precipitously in recent years, with significant increases in flaring events, Title V permit condition deviations, and Notices of Violation. Past refinery flaring events have resulted in shelter-in-place notifications, school closures, and increased emergency room visits from residents living in communities surrounding refineries.

AB 1897 raises the civil penalty ceiling to not more than $30,000 for refineries for violations in which a discharge results in a severe disruption to a community, the discharge contains toxic air contaminants, and 25 or more people are exposed to the discharge. The civil penalty ceiling would be raised to not more than $100,000 for subsequent violations within a twelve-month period.

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Last Updated: 2/9/2022