PIASC Says Proposed Rule 317 Delayed

LOS ANGELES—04/12/09—In our never-end SCAQMD struggle, a coalition of small and large businesses turned back the District’s attempt to adopt Proposed Amended Rule–Clean Air Act Non Attainment Fees, which negatively affects the largest 40 printing companies in the basin.

The fee is $5,000 per ton of emission that exceeds 80 percent of the baseline year emissions. The baseline proposed is your 2010 emissions. The first assessment year is 2011. The first year for payment is 2012. The fee, however, is assessed at a Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment factor from 1990 through the assessment year. The current adjusted per ton fee is more than $9,000.

The fee will continue until the SCAQMD reaches attainment status with the federal 1 hour ozone standard. Since attainment will likely never be reached, the fee will be in perpetuity.

On April 3, a coalition of large and small business entities, consisting mostly of such organizations as the Printing Industries of Southern California (PIASC), Regulatory Flexibility Group, California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance, Southern California Air Quality Alliance, and the California Small Business Alliance won a small victory when the Governing Board voted to continue the hearing to its meeting on June 5th.

Believe us when we say that this victory would have completely eluded us had it not been for the committed small business owners such as Chuck Stay (Bert-Co Industries), Robert Sinclair (Sinclair Printing), and B.J. Atkins (Delta Printing Solutions) who took valuable time away from their businesses to show up at the hearing and testify before the Governing Board.

Their testimony clearly showed the entire board all that they have done, and invested, to make their plants run as cleanly and efficiently as possible. Their testimony also went a long way to convince many board members that it would be wrong and absurd for them to adopt a rule that would impose unreasonable fees on them as if they were no more than laggards and slackers in meeting their responsibilities for regulatory compliance.

There was a lot of theater associated with yesterday’s hearing. The District’s Executive Director was clearly agitated as he saw small business witnesses chip away at the $30 million annual “windfall” that would come with adoption of the rule.

Barry probably got the first inkling that it was going to be a very long day when Chairman Burke, after reviewing the stack of speaker cards, announced that “…99.9 percent of the testimony is in opposition to this rule.”

Later in the hearing, Santa Ana Mayor Pulido was heard to say: “This testimony is like watching reality TV.” And at the end of the testimony, San Bernardino County Supervisor, Josie Gonzales, commented, “…this rule is unfair and anti-business.”

The following items are the specifics of Supervisor Campbell’s motion:
• Continue the hearing until June and allow ongoing public input, but limiting testimony in June to issues not being addressed at yesterday’s hearing. The board seemed to be in agreement that they wanted to draw the line for revisiting the same issues in June.

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