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California ARB Fines BP $1M for Fuel Infractions, Mostly for Clerical Errors

The California Air Resources Board has fined BP West Coast Products more than $1 million for 17 violations of California’s clean air regulations relating to fuels. Most of the violations were clerical errors that led to inaccurate reporting to enforcement officials. While the mistakes did not lead to increased emissions, the state depends on accurate accounting to assure that more serious errors do not occur.

The large fine reflects the number of smaller violations and the size of BP’s role in California’s energy market. Seemingly small mistakes can have major consequences and accurate accounting is crucial to protecting public health.

—ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols

BP’s violations, found by enforcement officials examining operations and BP informing ARB of errors, included misreporting the characteristics of fuel brought into the state, failures to appropriately report the shipping and unloading of fuel, and shipping fuel to California that did not meet evaporative emission standards. BP violations consisted of:

  • Eight violations of shipping fuel that violated evaporative emission standard ($435,000);
  • Two failures to appropriately notify ARB of discharging of fuel ($30,000);
  • One failure to add appropriate deposit-control additives ($440,000);
  • Four citations for shipping of fuel that did not match BP documentation of blend ($110,000);
  • One violation of excess ethanol ($3,000); and,
  • One violation of excess sulfur ($80,000).

Fuel suppliers must account for the chemical characteristics of all fuel they bring into the state, clearly map the distribution of the fuel and advise the state of that schedule.

California’s fuel supply system will undergo radical changes as the industry prepares to comply with the recently adopted low carbon fuel standard. The regulation, adopted in April, calls for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from California’s transportation fuels by ten percent by 2020. The new regulation is aimed at diversifying the variety of fuels used for transportation, boosting the market for alternative-fuel vehicles and achieve 16 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020.


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