The Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District’s purpose is to ensure that all federal and state air quality standards are met throughout the Alpine, Mono and Inyo Counties to protect the health, welfare and environment of the people within the District. In order to effectively meet these standards, the District, primarily through education and cooperation, enforces federal and state laws delegated to it and, as necessary, adopts and enforces local regulations.
The Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District is one of California’s 35 air districts. Since air pollution does not recognize boundary lines, the state’s air districts work collectively to develop a comprehensive approach to reduce air pollution in the state. Alpine, Mono and Inyo, Counties joined together in 1974 to form the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, which covers eastern California’s entire Great Basin Valleys Air Basin. The total size of the District is almost 9 million acres and has a population of about 32,000 people.
The District has three branches: the Governing Board, the Hearing Board and the Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO). The Governing Board is the legislative body that adopts the rules and regulations under which the District operates. The Governing Board is composed of two county supervisors from each of the District’s three counties and a seventh town council member from the Town of Mammoth Lakes. The Hearing Board is a quasi-judicial body appointed by the Governing Board that hears appeals on decisions of the APCO and grants temporary variances from District Rules and Regulations. The APCO is appointed by and reports to the Governing Board. The APCO oversees the executive functions of the District and together with staff is responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations passed by the Governing Board and specific parts of the State Health and Safety Code, Vehicle Code and Federal Clean Air Act.
Primary responsibilities of the seven-member Governing Board include adopting rules, regulations and policies that govern air quality in the District; appointing and providing direction to the APCO; adopting the District’s budget; and issuing abatement orders. The Governing Board meets at least every two months and all meetings are open to the public.
The five-member Hearing Board has sole authority to grant temporary variances, allowing a permitee to continue operating in violation of a District rule while a problem is being corrected. The Hearing Board has the sole authority to revoke permits. It is the Hearing Board’s responsibility to hear requests for appeal of decisions rendered by the APCO. The Hearing Board meets as necessary and all meetings are open to the public.
APCO and District Staff
The Air Pollution Control Officer is responsible for enforcing federal, state and local air quality rules and regulations and implementing the policies adopted by the Governing Board. It is the APCO’s responsibility to hire staff, direct District activities and manage the District’s financial matters.
District staff conducts the everyday business of air pollution control. District staff duties include:
1. Regulate air pollution emissions from stationary sources.
a) Adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary to further the goals of the District and to meet state and federal mandates.
b) Evaluate emissions and potential emissions and issue permits with conditions consistent with District rules and regulations and applicable air pollution control laws.
c) Develop and maintain a vigilant inspection program to ensure compliance with permit conditions.
d) Provide education and guidance to regulated sources regarding implementation of rules, regulations and permit conditions.
e) Establish partnerships with business by providing both a technical and personal level of service to promote innovative reductions of emissions.
2. Monitor air quality in the District.
a) Develop and operate an efficient, state-of-the-art air monitoring network that targets the type and sources of air pollution emissions in the District.
3. Seek quantitative reductions in amounts of air pollutants being released within the District.
a) Provide public education about sources, effects, and methods of air pollution reduction.
b) Identify new sources of emissions and regulate them when necessary.
c) Alleviate toxic and nuisance emission impacts upon the public.
d) Identify and control air pollution from industrial sources, agricultural operations, geothermal operations, military operations, water diversions and pumping, surface mining, road construction, land development, and wood heating.
e) When possible, provide economic incentives for emission reductions.
f) Deter emission violations through the enforcement of District rules, and air pollution control laws.
g) In an advisory capacity, where appropriate, reduce mobile source emissions through collaborative efforts with planning and transportation entities.
h) Modify and/or incorporate new rules and regulations as appropriate to effect reductions suited for the District. District rules and regulations should be as simple as possible and comprehensible to all regulated sources.
4. Control the air pollution caused by the City of Los Angeles’ water-gathering activities.
a) Work with the City of Los Angeles, as well as other involved agencies, to implement the provisions of the Owens Valley and Mono Basin State Implementation Plans (SIPs).
b) Monitor air quality in SIP areas to ensure progress is being made to achieve air quality standards.
c) Monitor and enforce all SIP air pollution control measure and environmental protection requirements.
d) Work with the City of Los Angeles to minimize the resources used while ensuring all SIP requirements are being met.
5. Respond to and investigate non-compliant events and sources of emissions in an efficient manner.
a) Initiate measures to allow sources to achieve compliance by providing quality service within acceptable limits.
b) Establish a hierarchical enforcement system that yields appropriate sanctions based on severity, frequency, and quantity of pollution.
c) Partner with other agencies, when appropriate, to assist in field response, inspections and investigations.
6. Mitigate any adverse air pollution impacts caused by growth through quality planning measures.
a) Review development plans for impacts on air quality and work toward mitigating those impacts through programs that reduce emissions.
b) For communities with air pollution issues, work with planning agencies to effectively maintain or achieve attainment of air quality standards through measures best suited for the impacted communities.
7. Administer an efficient and cost-effective organization to expeditiously clean the air while being sensitive to the economic needs of the District's businesses.
a) Promote the positive impacts the District is making on the air quality in its three counties.
b) Develop a balanced budget.
c) Conduct a biannual fee review to ensure fees relate to the actual cost of providing services.
d) Continue to improve the cost-effectiveness of implementing District programs.
e) Hire and promote the development of staff that are knowledgeable, professional and public-serving.