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Santa Barbara’s Air Pollution Control District reaches $1.3 million settlement with Lompoc cannabis processing facility

Air Pollution Control District of Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – On Thursday, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (SBCAPCD) announced that Central Coast Agriculture has agreed to a $1.3 million settlement over penalties issued to the company's cannabis manufacturing facility in Lompoc.

Between 2020 and 2023, staff with the SBCAPD documented multiple air quality violations and issued several air quality notices of violations to Central Coast Agriculture detailed the county-based pollution regulator in a press release about the settlement.

Of the $1.3 million settlement, $200,000 will be sent to the SBCAPCD's Clean Air Fund which funds projects intended to improve air quality in the Lompoc community shared the SBCAPCD.

Additionally, an undisclosed portion of the settlement will be used towards an expansion of surveillance of post-harvest cannabis operations across the county with the remainder of the settlement going into the SBCAPCD's fund for future use shared the SBCAPCD.

According to the settlement, Central Coast Agriculture is required to submit the full civil penalty no later than Jun. 7, 2024.

In October of 2020, inspectors with the SBCAPCD issued a notice of violation to Central Coast Agriculture for installing and operating a cannabis manufacturing facility in Lompoc without a proper SBCAPCD permit and without the required emissions control systems.

Inspectors with the SBCAPCD conducted a surveillance inspection of the facility to collect information for the October violations detailed the SBCAPCD in a press release about the settlement.

After the October 2020 notice of violation was issued, the SBCAPCD issued nine more notices of violation at the Central Coast Agriculture Lompoc facility as well as 17 notices of violation for two of the company's facilities in the Buellton area shared the SBCAPCD.

According to the SBCAPCD, the Lompoc facility, "emitted significant amounts of regional ozone precursor pollutants" since the initial October 2020 notice of violation.

On Nov. 29, 2023, the SBCAPCD issued a final permit for Central Coast Agriculture's Lompoc facility following the implementation of emissions control requirements.

Under that final permit, Central Coast Agriculture Inc. installed a solvent recapture system and is expected to install emissions control equipment at their Lompoc facility by September of this year explained the SBCAPCD.

The SBCAPCD expects the recapture and control systems to reuse more than 97 percent of the solvent used for cannabis production at the Lompoc facility instead of being emitted into the atmosphere.

The SBCAPCD shared that the solvent recapture system, developed and proposed by Central Coast Agriculture, is considered unique to the facility and may set the groundwork for use at other cannabis production facilities.

"We are thankful to have reached a settlement, and more importantly worked with CCA [Central Coast Agriculture Inc.] to reach compliance with air quality regulations for their manufacturing
operations," stated Aeron Arlin Genet, Executive Director for the SBCAPCD. "The magnitude of this settlement reflects the significance of the violations and the amount of emissions over 3 years. The Clean Air Fund portion of this settlement will be used on other projects throughout the Lompoc community to reduce emissions and improve air quality."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
cannabis production
Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District
settlement agreement

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Andrew Gillies

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