A Guide to Our Air Pollution Enforcement Process
|Air Pollution Control Program fact sheet||
|Division of Environmental Quality Acting Director: Steve Feeler||
You have recently received a Notice of Violation or Excess Emissions. We want to help you understand the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Air Pollution Control Program's enforcement process. We hope the following information will help you as we work together to resolve the violation.
The mission of the department’s Air Pollution Control Program is to preserve the air quality of Missouri. We protect Missouri’s air quality by enforcing the state’s laws and regulatory standards regarding air pollution. Our main goal in any enforcement action is to help you successfully achieve successful compliance with these standards and then to maintain compliance. The following are answers to the questions you may have about this process.
What are Notices of Violation and Notices of Excess Emissions?
The Notice of Violation or Notice of Excess Emissions is the first step in the enforcement process. When we discover a possible violation of an air pollution law or regulation, we may issue either a Notice of Violation or Notice of Excess Emissions, depending on the circumstances. The notice will state how you are out of compliance and what we expect you to do to remedy the situation.
How should I respond to a Notice of Violation or Notice of Excess Emissions?
Our first priority is to help you successfully comply with the regulations and protect Missouri’s air quality. So, the first thing you need to do is review the circumstances surrounding the notice and to correct whatever has caused the problem. We will help you understand the regulations and provide some technical assistance. You can obtain additional technical assistance by contacting the department’s Air Pollution Control Program at 573-751-4817, or by contacting the Department of Natural Resources toll-free at 800-361-4827.
If you receive a Notice of Excess Emissions, you have 15 days to respond to us and provide information about a startup, shutdown or malfunction, as specified in Missouri State Rule 10 CSR 10-6.050. There is a copy of this regulation on the reverse side of your Notice of Excess Emissions. If your situation meets the criteria for a startup, shutdown or malfunction, you have not violated state environmental law, and we will not take any further action. If your situation does not meet the criteria for a startup, shutdown or malfunction, we will upgrade the Notice of Excess Emissions to a Notice of Violation as required by Missouri law.
If you receive a Notice of Violation, you have 15 days to let us know what happened and what you did to return to compliance or to prevent the violation from recurring. Note that 10 CSR 10-6.050 does not apply to you if you have received a Notice of Violation. We will help you understand the regulations and provide some technical assistance. You can obtain additional technical assistance by contacting the department’s Air Pollution Control Program at 573-751-4817, or by contacting the Department of Natural Resources toll-free at 800-361-4827. You can also hire a private consultant to assist you.
Provide any and all information that will help us to make a fair and sound decision about your Notice of Violation or Notice of Excess Emissions. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your Notice of Violation or your Notice of Excess Emissions. Contact the Air Pollution Control Program at 573-751-4817, or contact the Department of Natural Resources toll-free at 800-361-4827 to schedule a meeting.
What is a settlement offer letter? What should I do if I receive one?
We review all Notices of Violation to determine what action is needed. In many cases, you will not be required to do anything other than to correct the violation. In these instances, once you have solved the problem, you are not required to do anything further because you have come back into compliance with Missouri air quality laws. The Notice of Violation simply becomes part of your permanent compliance record.
However, in some cases a penalty is appropriate. In these cases, we will send you a letter describing the violation, outlining our penalty authority and offering to settle the matter out of court. You will receive a settlement offer letter, with a department staff member’s name and phone number for you to contact. We will work with you to resolve the compliance issues and penalties.
A letter offering a settlement does not constitute a fine. It does state our belief that a penalty is warranted based on the information that we have at hand. We will listen to all sides of the story and negotiate an appropriate settlement. We strive to ensure that all enforcement actions are resolved in a manner that is fair, consistent and reasonable for the issue at hand. Your cooperation in addressing the violation and in communicating with us throughout the process is key to any resolution.
What happens when settlement negotiations are completed?
When we reach an agreement on a violation, we will draft an Administrative Order on Consent. This incorporates the monetary penalty and other terms of the agreement into a legally-binding document.
If we cannot agree on a settlement, we may request the Missouri Air Conservation Commission to refer the violation to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office for appropriate legal action. You will have an opportunity to present your side of the story before the commission. The commission is a group of seven people appointed by the governor that carries out the Missouri Air Conservation Law and ensures Missouri’s air quality is protected. In addition to other duties, the commission hears appeals on enforcement orders and permit conditions and adopts, amends or rescinds rules. The commission can also initiate legal action to enforce rules. We may also evaluate resolving the violation via an Administrative Penalty Order. The department has the authority as found in 10 CSR 10-6.230.
Where does a penalty go?
The Constitution of the State of Missouri requires that all civil and administrative penalties be deposited in the school fund of the county where the violation occurred.