Public Comments on Permit Applications

Learn about the public comment process for permit applications and how to effectively comment on permit applications that are currently under review by the Air District.

The Air District welcomes comments from the public on all permit applications during the review process. You can receive information on permit application activities by signing up for weekly email notifications.

Certain permit applications require public notice and a public comment period due to federal, state, or Air District rules and regulations. See Permit Public Notices to view posted public notices, and to learn more about programs that require public notification.

To comment on all other permit applications, use the following guidelines to make your comments as effective as possible. The Air District reviews and considers all comments. Comments become part of the Air District’s public record.

Public Comment Timeline

For routine permit applications, the public comment period begins the day the application is deemed complete and ends on the day that the Authority to Construct (AC) permit is issued. Most AC permits are issued within 35 days of the date that the Air District deems the application to be complete. The date of completion is when the information and fees required to complete the application are received by the Air District.

Contact the Permit Ombudsman below for permit application status or more information. Comments can be submitted by mail, email, or phone. Include the permit application number, and the name and address of the facility or proposed facility.

Permit Ombudsman, Air District
375 Beale Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94105 | 415.749.4681

Learning More About the Project

Before writing your comment, ask questions and learn as much as you can about the proposed project.

  • Find out if the project is being reviewed or has received approval by the local land use agency.
    • The local land use agency is often the planning, building, and/or zoning department of the city or county in which the project is proposed.
    • If the project is under city or county agency review, your comments should be submitted to that agency for review and consideration during the public comment period for the project.
  • Contact the Permit Ombudsman, for questions about an Air District permit application.
  • Review the Air District’s Permit Handbook for information on how specific equipment is permitted and which regulations are applied in the evaluation process.
  • Learn more about how the Air District permits and regulates a wide range of stationary (and some portable) sources of air pollution.
  • Common examples of individual “sources” include emergency diesel engines, boilers, spray painting operations, gas stations, and storage tanks. Some facilities, such as refineries, airports, landfills, water treatment plants, or manufacturing plants operate multiple permitted “sources”.
  • Different Air District regulations apply to each source. See Examples of Equipment and Facilities Commonly Requiring Permits from the Air District (PDF) for examples of commonly permitted “sources” and some of the regulations that may apply.

Writing Your Comment

Be Brief and Objective: State your opinion in a straightforward and objective manner. Your comment will become part of the public record.

Identify your Experience, if applicable: If you are commenting in your capacity as a professional (scientist, engineer, attorney, doctor, elected official, etc.), or as an official representative for an organization, say so. Provide a brief overview of your organization, its size, and its interest in the matter.

Be Specific and Relevant: Your comments should relate to the facility being permitted and you should state clearly the reason for your position. Comments are most effective when you explain how they relate to the requirements that apply to the facility. Include a citation or a quote of the specific text or regulation you are referring to. Typical comments that may require further Air District review and consideration of the permit application include:

Following Up On Your Comment

All comments will be reviewed and considered by the Air District, and will become part of the public record. The Air District does not expect to respond individually to every comment on general permit applications. To find out how your comment was reviewed and considered in the permit application process, contact the Permit Ombudsman.

Additional Resources

For general information about permits and the permitting process, visit Apply for a Permit.

What is an Authority to Construct?

Any person or facility that builds, modifies, or replaces any equipment that may cause, reduce or control the emission of air contaminants, must first secure written authorization from the Air District. The Air District’s permit process is a pre-construction review and approval process. The Air District’s review is conducted after the equipment is designed, but before it is installed. Regulation 2 specifies the requirements for an authority to construct and permit to operate. Regulation 2 Rule 1 includes the criteria for permit exemptions.

Permit Application Evaluation Process

After considering all public comments, the Air District completes the evaluation of the permit application for a proposed project. If the Air District determines that the project is expected to comply with all applicable Air District, state, and federal air quality-related regulations, including the health risks resulting from toxic air contaminant emissions, the Air District is obligated to issue the permit per California Health and Safety Code Section 42301.

Appealing an Air District Permit Issuance

Within 30-days after the issuance of the permit, any person who participated in the permit process, by submitting a comment, may file an appeal with the Hearing Board. For specific language about appealing the decision to issue a permit, see Regulation 2 Rule 1 Section 410.2.

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Permit Ombudsman, Engineering

415.749.4681 |

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Last Updated: 8/30/2016