Government Roles and Contacts
- Community Air Protection Program Resource Center
- Introduction to Community Air Quality
- Strategy Development
- Technical Assistance
- AB 617 Implementation
- Community Air Protection Program
There are many types of air pollutants and emissions sources in California with varying environmental and health impacts. Stationary sources (like oil refineries and power plants), mobile sources (like cars, trucks and locomotives), and area-wide sources (like dust and agricultural burning) all contribute to community-scale air quality challenges. The most appropriate emissions reduction strategies will depend on the particular characteristics of the emissions source and air pollutants. To address these complex issues, federal, state, and local governments work together to develop targets and strategies to reduce the impacts of air pollution in California.
Governmental agencies rely on public engagement to help design and implement their programs. The information provided below gives an overview of the activities and authority of air quality agencies, land use decision-makers, and transportation agencies. All of the identified entities have public forums and processes where the public can get involved.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)
The U.S. EPA sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards for certain pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. To reduce air pollution nationwide, U.S. EPA adopts and enforces emissions standards for certain stationary, mobile, and area sources. U.S. EPA has ten regional offices that develop, propose, and implement approved regional programs. California is part of U.S. EPA's Region 9 Pacific Southwest office. Learn how air pollution can harm your health and the environment and what the U.S. EPA is doing to protect the air we breathe.
California Air Resources Board (CARB)
Like U.S. EPA, CARB sets California Ambient Air Quality Standards to protect the public from the harmful effects of air pollution. To address California’s unique air quality challenges, CARB sets the State’s own emissions limits from air pollution sources (which may be stricter than federal limits), creates policies to fight climate change, and develops actions to reduce the public's exposure to toxic air contaminants from a variety of sources. CARB maintains an extensive public outreach program in an effort to support an understanding of and compliance with our air quality regulatory program. Please explore the resources provided by our public outreach program or sign up with any of our email lists if you want to stay up to date on CARB activities.
- About CARB
- CARB's Public Outreach Program
- Additional Community Engagement Resources
- Subscribe for CARB updates
Local Air Districts
California's 35 local air districts are responsible for regional air quality planning in their respective areas. Each district maintains its own individual permitting program to reduce emissions from stationary and area-wide sources, with the stringency of each program varying based on the area's designation for State and National Ambient Air Quality Standards (attainment status). Contact your local air district to learn more about ongoing activities:
- Air District Map
- Air District Contact information
- California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA)
Getting involved at the local level is important to support healthy development that reduces exposure to air pollution. Engaging with the city council, county board of supervisors, or other advisory bodies is a great way to become involved in the land use decision-making process.
Engaging with transportation agencies will help support transportation planning and project identification that improves air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Legislative and Rulemaking Processes in California
The California legislature passes laws concerning air quality, climate change, and public health. In many cases, these laws direct agencies like CARB or the local air districts to take certain actions, including developing rules and regulations. For more information on how to get involved in the legislative process, see the following resources:
- California State Assembly
- California State Senate
- Find your Legislator
- Legislative Process
- Legislative Deadlines
- Glossary of Legislative Terms
- California Legislative Information database: Use this database to to search current and past bills, track the status and changes to a bill currently going through the legislative process, as well as search California law.
State Rulemaking Process
CARB adopts regulations to enforce or administer legislation with the goal of protecting public health and the environment. Key to rulemaking is a comprehensive public participation process that provides opportunities for meaningful engagement during development of the regulation. For more information, CARB regulatory text, and rulemaking records see the following resources:
- California Rulemaking Process
- Formal CARB Regulatory Text
- CARB Rulemaking Process
- CARB Rulemaking Activity
District Rulemaking Process
Local air districts adopt rules to protect public health and the environment. Information about rulemaking can be found on each air district's webpage. For current local air district rule text, and information on the rulemaking process use the following resource: