South California Air District Partially Privatizes Permitting Program

Alexander Volokh
Privatization Watch, August 1996

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), the agency that regulates air quality in the Los Angeles basin, has partially privatized its permitting process by establishing a "Certified Permitting Professional" (CPP) program.

CPPs are consultants hired by companies to prepare and evaluate permits and submit them to the AQMD. Many companies are first-time applicants, unfamiliar with the permitting system and its requirements; permit applications are often incomplete or incorrect, and the time required to contact the applicant is a drain on AQMD resources. Even when the permits are well-prepared, says the AQMD, AQMD staff must still spend time performing calculations to determine the company's compliance with air pollution laws.

By encouraging private, professionally-trained permitting experts to prepare permit applications, the AQMD expects to be able to spend less time and money reviewing each application. Applications submitted by CPPs are expected to contain all necessary statements, calculations, and evaluations to determine whether or not a permit should be issued. When a permit application has been prepared by a CPP, the AQMD typically assumes it to be complete in all respects, so the processing of the permit takes less time than it otherwise would.

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