|For Immediate Release
Case # 30-2010-00361817
April 16, 2010
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
CLEANING SOLVENT DISTRIBUTOR TO PAY $12 MILLION FOR UNLAWFUL BUSINESS PRACTICES AND $3 MILLION FOR POLLUTING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AIR WITH 30 TIMES THE LEGAL LIMIT OF SMOG-PRODUCING CHEMICALS
SANTA ANA – A national distributor of cleaning solvents agreed to pay $15 million in two cases charging that it contaminated the environment by selling products that emit more than 30 times the legal limit of smog-producing components. The settlement was filed by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) in the Superior Court of California in Orange County.
This case was jointly prosecuted by the OCDA, the District Attorney’s Offices of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. The case was investigated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban areas of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. This area is known as the South Coast Air Basin.
“What could be more crucial to the quality of life than having clean air to breathe?” stated Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “We will continue to hold polluters accountable for harming the environment and our fragile resources.”
“The volatile organic compounds contained in Safety-Kleen’s products posed a serious health threat to our citizens as well as damaging California’s environment,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley. “Civil judgments such as this put companies doing business in our state on notice that they must comply with state law and air quality rules.”
“I’m proud to have partnered with the Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino County District Attorney’s as well as the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office in stopping the pollution being caused by these business practices. We must continue to be vigilant in preventing the dangerous contamination of our environment,” said Riverside District Attorney Rod Pacheco.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos stated, “We are pleased with the outcome of this lawsuit and hope that it puts on notice other companies who may be breaking the law. Our office is committed to holding companies accountable for any violation of our environmental laws. This judgment demonstrates that the health and safety of our residents is of paramount importance to both law enforcement and the judicial system. We thank our partners in this matter, the counties of Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside, as well as the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.”
“This should serve as a strong deterrent to companies who flout regulations and sell high-polluting products,” said William A. Burke, Ed.D., Governing Board Chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). “If companies want to be seen as ‘green’ their actions need to support their claims.”