The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors removed an unnecessary burden from more than 7,300 businesses in the County by eliminating a state regulation affecting restaurants and other small businesses.

“Carbon dioxide is not dangerous and restaurants shouldn’t need a hazardous materials permit to be able to put it into people’s soft drinks,” said Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. “This is an example of Sacramento being out of touch with reality and hurting small businesses with overly burdensome and unnecessary regulations.”

Assembly Bill 408, signed by Gov. Brown on October 8, required that businesses handling a total of 1,000 cubic feet of a compressed gas, which include pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) in cylinders used in restaurants for soda dispensing machines and helium used by florists to fill balloons, must be regulated as a Hazardous Materials Handling Facility.  This would have required the establishment and implementation of cumbersome and costly regulatory approvals for small businesses. The law included a provision that allowed the County to exempt certain businesses from the requirement.  Today’s action by the Board of Supervisors will exempt facilities storing less than 6,000 cubic feet of these gasses from the regulations. 

Supervisors also unveiled a new technology application at today’s Board meeting that will allow the County’s Land Use Services Department to streamline the process for documents submitted to the County by people seeking building permits or other approvals.  The software, named ePlan, allows for online submission, review and approval of documents, which will expedite and simplify the current process.

The software is currently being tested and will be available for all plan reviews beginning January 2012.  Molycorp’s Project Phoenix in Mountain Pass is one of the projects being tested using the new web-based process.