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The California Air Resources Board has announced a settlement with Del Monte Fresh Produce for $1.9 million - the largest ever penalty related to clean air violations for the state’s Ocean-Going Vessel At Berth Regulation.

Through routine audits, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) discovered that Del Monte Fresh Produce’s chartered fleet calling at the Port of Hueneme for 2015-2016 did not meet the operational time limits for at least 50% of its visits and did not reduce its auxiliary engine power generation by 50%. In addition, the group’s 2017-2019 chartered fleet visiting the same port did not meet the operational time limits for at least 70% of its visits and did not reduce its auxiliary engine power generation by 70%.

To resolve these violations, Del Monte - a global producer, marketer and distributor of fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables - agreed to pay a settlement of $1,990,650. Half of the funds will be paid to the Air Pollution Control Fund, and the company agreed to comply with all regulatory requirements. The remaining half will be paid to the Marine Vessel Speed Reduction Incentive Program, a supplemental environmental project located in the Santa Barbara Channel Region and the Bay Area.

The project provides financial and other incentives for ocean-going vessels to reduce their speed in specified areas along the coast during peak ozone and migratory whale seasons. These reductions decrease air pollution and the mortality rate of endangered whales.

As previously reported, CARB recently adopted a new At-Berth Regulation to seek additional emissions reductions by including smaller fleets and additional vessel types such as Ro-Ro vehicle carriers and tankers. The rule builds on progress made by the original regulation, which helped to achieve an 80% reduction in harmful emissions from more than 13,000 vessel visits as of 2020. The new regulation will help achieve more public health protection for Californians living in communities near the ports.

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