FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - California environmental groups filed a lawsuit protesting a decision to combat San Joaquin Valley smog by increasing automobile registration fees 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 in August, though motorists have been paying the new fee since last year.
The valley has some of the worst smog in the country. Last year, the EPA fined the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District $29 million annually for failing to curb the ozone pollution.