Feather River air board defends fine in 2009 fire
The Feather River Air Quality Management District was formed in 1991 to administer local, state, and federal air quality management programs for Yuba and Sutter counties, the district website notes.
A penalty of up to $75,000 a day is appropriate for the owner of property near the Marysville Flea Market and raceway where fiberglass boat material was burned, the Feather River Air Quality Management District said.
Richard Stout, deputy county counsel for Sutter County and representing the Yuba City-based air quality district, said in a court filing last month the penalty should be imposed if the court determines the emission of an air contaminant during the February 2009 fire at 1468 Simpson Lane was intentional. If the emission wasn't intended, the fine could be up to $25,000 per day, Stout stated.
A Sept. 10 trial is scheduled in the Yuba County Superior Court civil case that names landowner Richard Sinnott and Paul Hawes, a managing member of the company that operates Marysville Raceway Park.
Marysville attorney Jud Waggoman, representing the two men, called the case ridiculous.
"This is an example of government punishing the landowner and business owner since they can't identify the responsible properties," he said. "I'd say this is an example of government at its worst.
"Neither Sinnott nor Hawes were at the premises when the fire occurred," Waggoman said, "or had any knowledge of it."
The Linda Fire Department in its report on the blaze said three individuals at the site fled when the Fire Department arrived, the attorney said.
Waggoman said the lawsuit by the air quality district over the fire is retribution by the agency for a separate matter involving Hawes' successful appeal to a Yuba County panel of a citation against the raceway for allegedly lacking a discharge permit.
Hawes said of the February 2009 fire that some homeless people on a rainy Sunday lit the fire in a barrel and Linda firefightgers put out the blaze, Hawes said.
"There's obviously no case," Hawes said.
David Voller, director of the district that covers Yuba and Sutter counties, said the board has to approve going to court and that its approval took place long before the outcome of the appeal hearing.
"There's no retribution — absolutely, un-equivocally," he said. "There's two separate cases."
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at rmccarthy@ appealdemocrat.com or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.