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Coatings group files lawsuit in California.

WASHINGTON -- The National Paint & Coatings Assn. filed a lawsuit Dec. 14 in the Superior Court of California challenging California's fee program for volatile organic compound emissions for consumer products and architectural coatings sold in the state.

The program, which the NPCA claims violates the state's constitution, was authorized by legislative initiative AB 10X and enacted by former Gov. Gray Davis in March 2003. It imposes a fee for coatings manufacturers that have statewide sales resulting in the emissions of 250 tons or more per year of VOCs and increases fees for stationary sources.

"NPCA members operating in California are already burdened with significant emission restrictions and compliance costs," said NPCA lead counsel Heidi McAuliffe. "Now, AB 10X has imposed on them arbitrary and unjustified annual fees ranging from $14,000 to $725,000. Such fees amount to an unfair and illegal backdoor tax designed to solve the state's continuing budget deficit."

In its court filing, the NPCA said it argues that "even if the VOC emissions fee program is considered to be a 'regulatory fee,' it fails to meet the requirement that there be a close relationship between the fees imposed on the regulatory community and the agency programs that mitigate or reduce air pollution in the state created by these program, or nexus."

NPCA President 3. Andrew Doyle said the litigation was the "last thing we wanted to get involved in. But the decision is easy when 'regulatory fees' threaten to put our members out of business."
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Title Annotation:Trends & News
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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NPCA files lawsuit challenging California's VOC emissions fee program.

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