The AQMD is dedicated to improving air quality in our communities by drafting and enforcing anti-smog regulations.
The AQMD, or Air Quality Management District, is a government air pollution control agency dedicated to improving air quality in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. The LA area is the smoggiest region in the country, due to a combination of urban congestion, high greenhouse gas emissions, and geography. The AQMD helps residents and business owners alike ensure that their activities do not contribute to excessive smog, which is hazardous to human health as well as to the planet. The AQMD accomplishes this goal through three main activities:
Every city and county in California must take steps to ensure that they meet the clean air standards established by the Federal Clean Air Act and the California Clean Air Act. The AQMD helps cities and counties with this goal by creating plans, guidelines, and regulations that will enable them to reduce their emissions by five percent or more each year until their ambient air meets the cleanliness standards established by the California Clean Air Act. The main pollutants that are targeted by the AQMD’s efforts are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most of the AQMD’s regulations target vehicle and industrial emissions, but regulations governing pollutants like asbestos also exist.
Providing Compliance Resources
The AQMD educates the public about local clean air requirements by providing a number of compliance resources. The AQMD’s Speaker’s Bureau pairs experts in air pollution issues with civic and business groups wishing to educate themselves about these topics. Business owners and operators can attend compliance classes to learn about the various air pollution regulations that affect them. Small businesses can request a visit from an AQMD inspector to identify violations and learn how to address them. There is no penalty for violations uncovered during such a visit. The AQMD also provides hotlines which members of the public can use to report air quality or emissions violations.
The AQMD has the power to enforce its regulations in several ways. First of all, it can control requirements for issuing permits for various activities. This ensures that individuals and businesses cannot get permits unless they prove they have a plan for complying with regulations. The AQMD can also help prosecute those who fail to get permits or otherwise violate their rules. Individuals or businesses that violate AQMD rules or regulations or any provision of the relevant health and safety codes will be subject to civil penalties of between $1,000 and $1 million per day. The AQMD plays a role in determining the severity of the penalty by providing information about the nature of the violation to the courts.