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Monday, Dec 10 2012 04:48 PM

Worth noting: Vintage Production receives $34,000 fine for unpermitted emissions; more

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A local subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp. has agreed to pay $34,000 to settle Clean Air Act violations relating to the release of greenhouse gases at three Bakersfield-area steam generators in late 2011.

The subsidiary, Vintage Production California LLC, identified and disclosed the violations on its own, according to a news release Monday from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA noted that Vintage built the generators at the Kern Front Oil Field without first getting the necessary Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit, which it noted can be obtained through the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The release said Vintage will obtain a PSD permit from the district.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment.

A free workshop set for Tuesday in Bakersfield focuses on home energy efficiency upgrades.

The event from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Riverlakes Golf Course, 5201 Riverlakes Drive, is expected to show homeowners how to obtain financing and rebates up to $4,000 for energy-related changes that can increase comfort and lower utility bills.

More information, go online at EnergyUpgradeCA.org.

The Bakersfield Association of Realtors plans to dedicate its new home at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.

The association has invited news media, local dignitaries, its leadership and membership to the 3 p.m. event at the new office, 2300 Bahamas Drive.

The California Public Utilities Commission plans to host a hearing Thursday in Bakersfield on how to allocate costs related to customers who opt out of gas and electric smart meter programs.

The two-hour hearing, set for 6 p.m. at Bakersfield City Hall Council Chambers, 1501 Truxtun Ave., is one of five such hearings statewide.

In February the commission allowed customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to opt out of the company's controversial SmartMeter program. Since then, it has allowed customers of Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to opt out of those companies' smart meter programs.

The commission decided that, on an interim basis, most PG&E customers must pay an initial $75 fee to opt out of the remote meters, plus monthly charges of $10. The series of hearings is planned to set permanent fees for opting out.

Comments may be sent to the commission by email to public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Golden Empire Transit District is offering free rides through Jan. 1 on a specially decorated Christmas bus.

According to the district's holiday tradition, the bus -- recently painted by GET employees and their children -- will operate on a different route every day.

GET buses will not operate on Christmas Day, and the district's office will be closed that day. On New Year's Eve, the system will provide free service from 6 to 11 p.m.

Representatives of Cal State Bakersfield and Mercy Memorial Hospitals - Dignity Health are scheduled to speak at a Small Business Networking Breakfast 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce event is to include a "30-second commercial" for businesses to promote themselves and their products and services.

The event, including a continental breakfast, is being sponsored by Aera Energy LLC, Chevron and Tejon Ranch Co.

Tickets cost $25 for chamber members, and $50 for non-members. Registration can be done online at bakersfieldchamber.org, or by calling 327-4421.

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