BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - For the first time in history, the San Joaquin Valley has reached a federal ozone standard that could lead to cut of a $29 million penalty that is charged to Kern County motorists, according to San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District officials.
The district is submitting a formal request to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Thursday, to lift the penalty which has been paid through auto registration fees, since 2010.
According to officials, the money from those fees was put back into the local economy to fund clean-air projects.
The historic milestone shows how the Valley has tackled our smog problem. In 1996, the Valley experienced 281 violations of this hourly standard throughout the eight-county region. The number of violations dropped to only seven in 2012 and zero in 2013.
"We did our best to balance Valley’s economic and environmental interests, and it worked,” said Harold Hanson, Air District Board member and city council member.
If the E.P.A. approves the proposal to eliminate the $29 million fee for car registration for ozone penalties, it will take at least a year to go into effect.
For more information, visit www.valleyair.org .