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Buellton car dealership settles civil lawsuit over environmental violations


A Buellton car dealership will pay $110,000 to settle a civil lawsuit over environmental violations.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that a settlement had been reached in a civil lawsuit against Jim Vreeland Motors, also known as Jim Vreeland Ford.

The DA’s office says the dealership violated three environmental protection statutes, including not properly labeling hazardous waste containers and not training personnel on how to properly manage hazardous waste. The lawsuit claimed the dealership lacked spill prevention, control, and a countermeasures plan. The complaint also said there was no Hazardous Materials Business Plan, which documents what sort of hazardous materials are present so first responders know how to safely respond to an emergency.

“These statutes exist to protect the public, first responders and the environment. We are grateful that Jim Vreeland Ford took this matter seriously and has come into compliance with the law,” said District Attorney Joyce Dudley.

The DA’s office says Jim Vreeland Ford will pay $94,600 in civil penalties, which will go to the state’s General Fund, the District Attorney’s Office, Santa Barbara County, and the county’s Certified Unified Program Agency, or CUPA, which is part of county environmental health services. An additional $5,400 will go to CUPA to cover investigation and enforcement costs. $10,000 will go to the Craig Thompson Environmental Protection Prosecution Fund for a supplemental environmental project.

According to the DA’s office, the dealership did not admit liability in the case, but came into compliance with the law.

Jim Vreeland Ford released a statement to our newsroom saying, “Jim Vreeland Ford is in compliance with all California Waste Management laws. We are committed to operating our business responsibly. While we are disappointed the DA’s office chose to file the claims against us, we have worked with the District Attorney’s office to reach a reasonable resolution of this matter. Jim Vreeland Ford was founded with community in mind and will continue to remain conscious of the community that we serve.”

KEYT 2019

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