Lompoc Cannabis manufacturer to pay Air Pollution Control District $1.3M for air quality violations

Lompoc Cannabis manufacturer to pay Air Pollution Control District $1.3M for air quality violations

Central Coast Agriculture to Pay $1.3 Million for Air Quality Violations in Landmark Settlement.

The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) will secure one of the largest settlements in its history after Central Coast Agriculture agreed to pay $1.3 million for air quality-related notices of violations. 

“The magnitude of this settlement reflects the significance of the violations and the amount of emissions over three years,” APCD Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer Aeron Arlin Genet said. 

Central Coast Agriculture is a local cannabis company that grows and processes the plant for concentrated oils at its 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Lompoc. The APCD sent inspectors to the facility in October 2020 where they issued a notice of violation because the company was operating manufacturing equipment without a district permit nor the necessary emission reduction technology, she said. 

“The air district’s regulatory authority applies to post-harvest cannabis operations. We do not regulate the growing operations; that’s considered agriculture activity, and state law prohibits air district regulations on ag operations,” Arlin Genet said. “It took over three years to bring that facility into compliance.” 

During cannabis processing, companies often use solvents that release ozone precursor emissions—oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds that can have negative impacts on human, plant, and animal health, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. The APCD regulates these emissions in order to ensure local air quality through inspections where the district found Central Coast Agriculture out of compliance, Arlin Genet added. 

In October 2023, Central Coast Agriculture submitted a complete permit application to implement emissions controls and bring their facility into compliance, which was issued in November. Central Coast Agriculture could not be reached for comment before the Sun’s deadline. 

“Prior to the settlement agreement, [Central Coast Agriculture] had implemented all solvent recovery processes required by the permit, performed all testing related to these solvent recovery processes, and the APCD is reviewing the results of that testing,” Arlin Genet said. 

Moving forward, Central Coast Agriculture is required to install additional emissions control equipment—which is expected to operate by September 2024 and they can proceed with long-term operations, she said. 

“Once permits are fully implemented, the emission requirements will reduce emissions by 90 percent from [Central Coast Agriculture’s] peak,” Arlin Genet said. 

Within the $1.3 million settlement, $325,000 will be set aside for the APCD’s Clean Air Fund to work toward other air quality projects in Lompoc. While the district hasn’t identified programs yet, Arlin Genet said she expects that it will be brought forward next fiscal year. 

“I think coming to this point where we have been able to successfully settle … and having Central Coast Agriculture moving forward with the implementation of the state of the art control technology, it’s been a lot of learning on all parties,” Arlin Genet said. “We are very happy to be where we are today with Central Coast Agriculture and significantly reduce ozone impacts to our region.”

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Region: California

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