Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

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Source: Santa Barbara County District Attorney

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today the resolution of a civil lawsuit against Jim Vreeland Motors, Inc., d/b/a Jim Vreeland Ford.

The defendant and the District Attorney stipulated to the entry of final judgment, without admission of liability, in this case filed on September 4, 2019, in the Superior Court for Santa Barbara County.

The Santa Barbara County Certified Unified Program Agency (“CUPA”)—a division of Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services—referred the case to the District Attorney after discovering violations of three environmental-protection statutes.  The Complaint alleged that the defendant violated the Hazardous Waste Control Law by, among other things, not properly labelling hazardous-waste containers and not training personnel in the proper management of hazardous waste.  The Complaint further alleged the lack of a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan, in violation of the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act.  Finally, the Complaint alleged the failure to establish and implement a Hazardous Materials Business Plan—a document necessary for first responders and the public to know what hazardous materials are present and how to safely deal with emergencies.

The defendant cooperated with the District Attorney’s Office to come into compliance and negotiate a resolution to the lawsuit.  The Final Judgment includes the following provisions:

  • $94,600 in civil penalties.
    • $2,500 to the state General Fund, Toxic Substances Control Account.
    • $13,750 to the District Attorney’s Office.
    • $13,750 to the CUPA.
    • $64,600 to the County of Santa Barbara.
  • $5,400 to the CUPA for investigation and enforcement costs.
  • $10,000 as a supplemental environmental project to the Craig Thompson Environmental Protection Prosecution Fund.
  • Injunction making it easier to enforce future compliance with the Health and Safety Code.



District Attorney Dudley said, “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.”

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Bene Oct 08, 2019 04:17 PM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

Vreeland Ford is well known as one of the most honest car dealers in the business. I've bought nearly every car I've ever owned there because they are honest, helpful, and never sell anything that isn't "up to par"----unlike so many car dealers. So I am really surprised and saddened by this information. Wonder what the story behind this is.

mrtrump Oct 08, 2019 11:41 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

There HAS to be more to this story. Did they have a spill? An auto repair shop would store used oil, used coolant and contaminated fuels. They would also store used lead acid batteries slated for disposal and old paint products. Exactly what did Vreeland Ford do to deserve a $94,000 fine? They did not have their waste containers marked? They did not have a spill containment plan? None of this makes sense with the information provided.

a-1571477124 Oct 08, 2019 10:14 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

ok, let's clarify some things here. I work in the hazmat industry and have been through many CUPA inspections. First of all, CUPA will usually give you time (at least 30 days) to correct. Submitting a business plan is simple, providing training can be done for free, developing a spill control plan can also be done on the cheap. Overall, these are not very difficult regulations for a business to meet. For this to reach the level of 100k in fines shows to me that they likely ignored the violations and failed to make simple corrections. Also, for those interested, these laws come from federal laws. While there are some differences in California, they would likely still be required to comply with similar Federal Laws if they were located out of State.

comment1 Oct 08, 2019 10:35 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

And you, as well as I, would be made to fully comply; quit picking on the homeless. There is always a group that people tend dump on. I'm sure none of us fully comply with every single one of these laws or advisories. That doesn't excuse the big companies that in their course of business don't comply or procrastinate on complying with these environmental statutes.

a-1571477124 Oct 08, 2019 08:40 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

So we the community sit observing our County Govt targeting with hefty fines another highly valued local business, until it runs all of us in the automotive business out of town! Major, long standing local auto related service and manufacturing businesses have moved to NV, ID, VA and TN taking hundreds of jobs. Not everyone can ride a bike. Not everyone can afford a new electric car. Now everyone has a locally educated, company trained staff who follows exact instructions ALL the time. SB allow businesses to correct without fines. There are better ways!

a-1571477124 Oct 08, 2019 09:49 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

If you can’t abide by the laws, and common sense, regarding hazardous waste control then don’t wait for your automotive business to be run out of town, just leave. Those of us that understand the reasons behind statutes and value our quality of life will be more than happy to give you directions.

Tee Gee Oct 08, 2019 06:06 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

Is there more to the story? Did the powers that be allot any period of time for Vreeland to correct these oversights, or did the iron heel immediately crush him? Just curious, as it seems as though Santa Barbara is grasping at straws (ha-ha) to fund the bureaucracy.

a-1571477124 Oct 07, 2019 10:58 PM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

In my opinion, improper storage of used motor oil, a very nasty product carrying harmful metals and other substances that bioaccumulate and *never go away*, and not having a spill kit for accidents (seriously? All they needed was a spill sock and some spill absorbing sand...) is pretty bad. Yes, the system is broken, but doing away with the part that actually works is not the answer.

ParvoPup Oct 07, 2019 07:01 PM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

You do realize that under California Hazardous Waste laws for commercial enterprises that simply putting a used AAA battery in your general trash can carries a fine of $25,000? For now, these restrictions only apply to businesses. When we went through training with the geniuses from Sacramento we asked if these laws also applied to residential. "Not yet" was the reply.

PitMix Oct 08, 2019 08:34 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

I googled this and could not find one instance of a business putting one AAA battery in their trash and getting fined $25,000. Please provide a link showing this. Otherwise it is just scary fake news. And by the way, the daily fine for this was increased recently. I did find a link showing "Businesses that generate less than 27 gallons or 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month or less than one quart or 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste (referred to as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators or CESQGs) may use the County’s Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program for small businesses. " So are treated like households in this regard.

JB86 Oct 07, 2019 07:00 PM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

Seems like the government could pretty well fund itself if it turns over enough rocks. How many small businesses even know what a hazardous materials business plan is? Hopefully County Health and Fire are doing proactive education.

a-1571477124 Oct 08, 2019 09:40 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

Shouldn't be in business if they don't know how to handle their hazardous waste. Pretty darn simple. The laissez faire attitude of so many is exactly why we need regulations. The only thing some people seem to understand is money; fines certainly get people's attention as does polluting our planet

CoastWatch Oct 07, 2019 05:22 PM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

Why are businesses leaving California...? 'cause everyone wants your business's money...! $13,700 to the DA's office.... $64,600 to the Greedy County of the People's Republic of Santa Barbara....

a-1571477124 Oct 08, 2019 09:35 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

Why are some defending a hazardous waste violator? Do you think Ken Hunter was an ok guy saddling us with his superfund site as he dodged regulations right and left and put profit ahead of everything else? Don't let the door hit you on the behind when you leave the state!

PitMix Oct 08, 2019 08:36 AM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

Yes, because Jim Vreeland Ford can move to Idaho and continue to do business. good reasoning there. In 20 years they will only be selling electric cars anyway, so less opportunity for hazardous waste.

a-1571477124 Oct 07, 2019 03:46 PM
Jim Vreeland Ford Settles Environmental Violations with DA

It looks like Mr. Nobody was also doing the nobody when it came to major environmental violations. I'd never go to that dealership just based upon the moronic TV ads. Talk about trying to appeal to the red meat, dog whistle reacting base.

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