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Brown Announces $6 Million Air Pollution Settlement With MCM Construction
SACRAMENTO--California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced a $6 million settlement with MCM Construction, resolving allegations that the company was operating diesel cranes, pile drivers, and other portable engines without the required air district pollution permits.
“The company was operating construction equipment, without the necessary permits, which is potentially very damaging to the environment,” Attorney General Brown said. “Under today’s settlement the company will obtain the necessary permits and submit the equipment to careful inspection.”
Under California laws designed to protect air quality, construction companies must obtain a permit from local air pollution control districts before operating certain diesel engines over fifty horsepower. The California Attorney General’s Office alleged that MCM Construction operated dozens of engines at multiple locations without required permits on hundreds of days. Diesel exhaust contains carcinogens, particulate matter, and oxides of nitrogen.
The parties settled for $6 million in advance of trial, agreeing that MCM Construction will obtain necessary permits prior to operating any of its portable, diesel-burning equipment and will train its personnel to take precautions to protect rivers at bridge construction sites. The settlement, which is the largest ever environmental settlement involving portable engines, requires the company to pay $4 million in penalties and costs and an additional $2 million to replace some of its older engines with newer, cleaner-burning engines. The company will also adopt an internal environmental auditing process.
The Attorney General’s Office brought its legal action along with Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott, and Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten.
Mendocino District Attorney Meredith Lintott noted that her office was “extremely proud of the air district’s extraordinary proactive efforts to discover defendant MCM’s polluting conduct.”
“There is nothing more vital to the health and safety of Ventura County residents than having clean air to breathe,” said Ventura’s District Attorney, Gregory D. Totten. “This settlement helps rid our community of un-permitted high-polluting diesel engines, and is a step forward in preserving air quality for all Ventura County residents.”
In the past, MCM had been cited by local air district officials for not having necessary permits at dozens of prominent construction projects including the Noyo River Bridge in Fort Bragg, the Highway 101 Bridge over the Santa Clara River in Ventura County, and the Watt Avenue Bridge in Sacramento.
The state also alleged that MCM Construction damaged critical salmon spawning habitat while working at the Van Duzen River in Humboldt County. The company deposited debris, silt, and pollutants into the river, violations of the Clean Water Act.
The state’s complaint and the settlement document are attached.