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March 5, 2009


The deadline for the addition of equipment to meet the new Enhanced Vapor Recovery II regulations is almost here. If you are still waiting for permit approval or haven't decided on the Franklin Healy or VST system or a contractor, then you're probably not going to make the deadline.

Today the California Air Resources Board issued guidelines for regional Districts to follow for stations that have not met the deadline of April 1, 2009.

Not knowing about the requirements or the deadline won't be an excuse, since the regulations were adopted in March 2000. About 11,000 service stations (Gasoline Dispensing Facilities or GDFs) are required to upgrade their equipment to reduce gasoline vapor emissions from the dispensing of fuel to customers' cars. The Board has made it clear all along that this deadline will not be extended.

As with every tank and dispenser upgrade deadline some dealers will miss the deadline, some through no fault of their own. There is still hope if the reasons for your missing the deadline are beyond your control.

The CARB guidelines outline a process to allow those stations to remain in operation past the deadline while working towards compliance. This will only apply where the delay is beyond the dealer's control, otherwise each air district will apply the usual enforcement methods including red tagging, fines and legal action. The guidelines are suggestions to the regional districts and each district may have its own enforcement policies. The following are the guidelines suggested today:

"In cases where, despite a good faith effort, a GDF does not comply with the April 1, 2009 deadline, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA) are recommending that local air districts utilize either of the following options:

  1. Stipulated Order of Abatement; or
  2. Enforcement or Compliance Agreements

In order for a GDF to be eligible to operate temporarily under either of these scenarios, individual circumstances must be carefully evaluated.   The following criteria, as well as other criteria, may be used to determine a good faith effort by a GDF to comply:

  • A complete air permit application was submitted in a timely manner so as to enable the issuance of a district permit.
  • Complete applications for all other required permits (Planning, Building, Fire, etc.) were submitted in a timely manner.
  • All necessary equipment was ordered in time to allow for delivery and installation prior to the April 1, 2009 deadline.
  • Construction and testing contractors were retained early enough to allow for Phase II EVR installation and testing prior to the April 1, 2009 deadline.

The local air district will include a plan for compliance in any Stipulated Order of Abatement, Enforcement Agreement or Compliance Agreement."

Many of these requirements for avoiding fines, assessments and legal actions are matters of opinion. How far in advance would you have had to apply for a building permit for it to be "submitted in a timely manner?" The time for obtaining a building permit varies greatly from city to city. Did you hire your contractor early enough? These issues will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

You should have legal representation in obtaining a Stipulated Order of Abatement or Enforcement or Compliance Agreements and to help in negotiating a plan for compliance. Don't wait until you have been served with legal action against you.

The statements and information provided on this website, and in the CGB Law Letter, Releases, Legal Corner, or Reports are for the information of the recipient only and are not intended to provide legal advice nor is it intended as a substitute for legal advice by a qualified attorney. No attorney-client relationship should be deemed to arise from receipt of the aforementioned publications and/or information provided on this website. Those having specific questions regarding the cases or issues addressed herein are urged to contact a qualified attorney.

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