FRESNO (AP) — California environmental groups have filed a lawsuit protesting a decision to combat San Joaquin Valley smog by increasing automobile registration fees for valley residents - including those in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop - instead of fining industrial polluters.
The lawsuit filed Friday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals accuses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of violating federal environmental laws by waiving the fines. The EPA adopted the region’s air district plan to charge an additional $12 on each auto registration to replace the money lost by waiving the fines. Last year, the EPA fined the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District $29 million annually for failing to curb the ozone pollution.