California Environment - General regulations & environmental compliance analysis

California Environment - General: What you need to know

Overview of California's Environmental Rules


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In California, the counterpart to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA). Cal/EPA is responsible for protecting the state's land, water, and air from pollution. California has been delegated authority by EPA to administer and enforce regulatory programs for air emissions, surface wastewater effluent and stormwater discharges, groundwater discharges, and waste management. However, various state regulatory requirements are more stringent than corresponding federal requirements. California also administers community and employee right-to-know programs that are more stringent than the federal counterparts.


Cal/EPA's Air Resources Board, also known as CARB, is responsible for administering and enforcing California's air rules. The state's air program is shaped by its state implementation plan (SIP), which is a plan detailing methods by which the state will implement, maintain, and enforce the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). As mandated by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), each state must adopt and submit a SIP to EPA for approval.

In addition, California is comprised of many local air districts that maintain their own air quality regulations. The regulations are submitted to EPA by CARB on behalf of the district, and upon approval by EPA, the regulations are incorporated into the SIP.

CARB implements and enforces air programs that are applicable statewide, and is responsible for overseeing the local air districts. The local air districts are responsible for administering and enforcing the regulations that are applicable within their jurisdiction.


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