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VARIANCES

Variance ApplicationVariance Application Fee SheetHearing Board Rule

California Air Resources Board Variance Oversight Program

Under certain circumstances, California law allows a business to obtain a variance for an operation that will be in violation of MBARD rules.  The variance allows a facility that is out of compliance to continue operating while completing an approved action plan to correct the situation.

A business should consider requesting a variance anytime that it knows their operation will possibly be going out of compliance or as soon as a breakdown actually puts it out of compliance.

In order to obtain a variance an application form must be filled out completely and returned to the Clerk of Hearing Board with the appropriate application fee.  Once the completed form and applicable fee are submitted, the application will be set for a hearing before the Hearing Board.

A hearing before the Hearing Board provides an opportunity for both the applicant and MBARD staff to present facts and arguments.  The Hearing Board then decides whether a variance will be issued, the length of the variance and what conditions to include.  Most variances have reporting requirements and some require the payment of additional excess emissions fees.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to be sure that these requirements are followed. After a variance is granted MBARD staff will monitor the applicant’s compliance with the variance order.

Types of Variances:

EmergencyWhen a situation develops without warning, such as an equipment breakdown, power failure, or similar event that could cause a violation of MBARDs rules, an emergency variance is an option. The Hearing Board may grant an emergency variance, without public notice of hearing.
InterimFor immediate coverage other than emergencies, an interim variance, which only requires a "reasonable notice" period, can be obtained to cover the time until a hearing for a short or regular variance can be held. An interim variance must be requested at the same time as a short or regular variance is requested. The Hearing Board is required by law to find good cause to grant an interim variance. There has to be good reason why the business could not have filed its petition in time for the hearing to be announced to public.
ShortCompanies that can comply with MBARDs rules within 90 days or less should request a short variance. A short variance application requires a 10 day posted notice.
RegularCompanies that need more than 90 days to comply with MBARDs rules should request a regular variance. The variance period is usually one year or less, but can be longer if a specific compliance schedule is set. A regular variance application requires a 15 day posted notice.