If a facility cannot comply with District air quality rules or permit conditions, it has the option to apply for a variance (temporary enforcement relief). If granted, a variance allows a facility to operate in violation of a District rule without being subject to penalties while it takes steps to come into compliance with the rule. Only the Hearing Board —not the District—may grant a variance.
In making a decision, the Hearing Board considers the District rule that has been or will be violated, the severity of the violation, technical problems in achieving compliance with emissions standards, and the advantages and disadvantages to the public and the facility involved.
To grant most types of variances, the Hearing Board must decide that all of the following findings are true:
The Hearing Board does not have jurisdiction over Notices of Violation issued by the District. It cannot erase past violations or settle penalties for current violations.
Variances cannot be granted to allow:
The District Business Assistant is available to assist all businesses in completing the petition forms and developing compliance schedules (also called increments of progress).
Yes. For small businesses that emit 10 or fewer tons per year of air contaminants, the Hearing Board considers reasons for claimed ignorance of the rules and the financial ability to comply with them. If you are a small business, come to the hearing prepared to explain what qualifies you as a small business (such as annual revenue and number of employees).
A facility subject to a federal Title V operating permit may be granted a variance, but the variance will not protect the facility from enforcement by the federal EPA or citizen suits under the federal Clean Air Act, as the EPA does not recognize variances granted under California law.
To show the Hearing Board that you or your company took appropriate actions, you can include:
Learn more about Hearing Board meetings, including public participation.
For Hearing Board procedural questions, please contact the Clerk of the Hearing Board by email at email@example.com or by phone at (858) 688-7147.
For general questions, please contact the District Compliance Division by phone at (858) 586-2650 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.