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Court: Air District's exemptions to refineries 'arbitrary, capricious, and lacking rational bases'

Court orders Air District to revise regulations
Gavel with Scales of Justice (FILE)
Posted at 2:28 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 17:54:39-05

FRESNO, Calif. (KERO) — A California Superior Court decision requires the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District to comply with air quality monitoring for oil refineries, according to court documents.

A lawsuit was filed by the state after the Air District in 2019 adopted regulations exempting four refineries in the Central Valley from full air monitoring requirements, according to the office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

The Superior Court of California, County of Fresno found the 2019 exemptions to be "arbitrary, capricious, and lacking rational bases." The judges ordered the Air District to issue revised regulations and find support for the decisions made.

"For far too long, San Joaquin Valley has been home to some of the worst air pollution in the nation, and its residents have suffered the resulting health consequences," said Bonta, in a statement on Sept. 22nd. "At the bare minimum, these communities have the right to information on the air they breathe. It's a matter of transparency — and it's the law. [The] decision by the Superior Court will ensure that San Joaquin Valley refineries comply with critical air monitoring requirements."

Kern Oil & Refining Co. President and Chief Executive Jennifer Haley said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that a “one size fits all” approach is unfair when her facility releases less pollution than the state’s largest refineries. She said the company will show the court new data demonstrating a less expensive plan that had been approved by the air board meets state requirements.

San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District lawsuit on Scribd