The South Coast Air Quality Management District (District) is one the few local air quality districts with authority to regulate mobile sources. One manifestation of this authority is District Rule 1196 (Public Fleet Rule), which requires public agencies to make all new additions of heavy-duty fleet vehicles by purchase or lease of vehicles with certain fuel types. The Public Fleet Rule applies to public agencies with 15 or more heavy-duty vehicles (i.e., vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds or greater).
While the Public Fleet Rule has been in effect since July 1, 2002, the Public Fleet Rule’s debut before the District Hearing Board was October 3, 2019. Prior to the hearing, the City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department (Department), represented by Somach Simmons & Dunn attorneys Michael Vergara and Alyson Ackerman, and District staff collaborated to establish a compliance schedule that is both reasonable and feasible in light of real world constraints, such as budgeting and the suitability and availability of alternative-fueled replacement vehicles. The Hearing Board unanimously issued the proposed Order for Abatement (Stipulated), with only modest revisions. The Hearing Board commended the Department for not only its proactivity in conducting an internal audit and self-reporting, but also committing to improve the air quality in the basin. The coordination and support of the District were integral to the Department’s success.
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