This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.
Despite a request from the governor, the California Air Resources Board has not asked air pollution control districts to delay enforcement of new rules requiring gas stations to install new pollution-control nozzles on their pumps by April 1.
Wednesday had been the deadline for 11,000 gas stations statewide to install enhanced vapor-recovery nozzles. These nozzles prevent gasoline spills and control emissions of toxic fumes during fueling. As of last month, only about half the state's stations had installed the required equipment. Under the regulations, station owners who had not complied faced fines of thousands of dollars per day or even station closures.
But in his letter asking for an enforcement delay, the governor noted that the most cost-effective nozzle system was not certified by the air board until last year. Even that system costs about $11,000 per pump, or about $80,000 for the average station, a hefty investment for small-business owners. Because of the collapse of the credit markets, many owners couldn't obtain financing.
The governor asked the Air Resources Board to delay imposing penalties or closing stations for six months to a year. He also asked the Legislature to approve financial assistance to station owners.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.