Friday, September 22, 2023
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Court Upholds Fines on Indirect Source Pollution

(CN) - A California pollution-control district has the authority to fine developers who pollute from indirect sources, a California appeals court ruled.

The California Building Industry Association (CBIA) challenged two new rules instituted by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The "indirect source review" rules are designed to reduce pollution from new development projects, for example, from mobile source emissions.

Violators of the rules must reduce pollution, pay a fine to fund off-site emission reduction projects, or a combination of the two.

The CBIA and three other plaintiffs complained that the fees violated the Mitigation Fee Act by failing to go through the proper procedure to justify the fees.

The trial court ruled in favor of the district, and Justice Levy of the Fresno-based Fifth Circuit California Courts of Appeal affirmed that the district has the authority - and the obligation - to assess the fees.

"The District has specific statutory authority to regulate and assess fees on indirect pollution sources. ... The fact that a housing development does not itself emit pollutants is what causes it to be an indirect source of pollution. Otherwise, it would be a direct source," Levy wrote.

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