The Bureau monitors industrial air pollution sources through engineering reviews of plant operations, scheduled and unannounced inspections, patrols by Bureau investigators, citizen complaints, and self-reporting by the industries.
When violations are discovered, the Bureau proceeds with enforcement actions as deemed appropriate. Enforcement action usually begins with a Notice of Violation (NOV) being issued to the alleged violator. The NOV is ordinarily followed by a Director's Conference, at which the Bureau staff and the Director discuss the problem with the person or business involved to learn how and why the incident occurred.
During the Director's Conference, the Director will determine whether a violation of the law has occurred. At the time, the Director determines what action needs to be taken. On occasion, the allegations may be dismissed. As a condition of dismissing the allegations, the Director may issue a Director's Order, requiring the alleged violator to take action to prevent future violations.
If the Director decides that the matter is serious enough to warrant recommending civil penalties and possible remedial action, the matter will be presented to the Air Pollution Control Board. In most cases, a proposed agreement, called a Consent Order, between the alleged violator and the Board will be drafted. The Consent Order will state the violation, provide for civil penalties, and may include a plan to bring the violator into compliance. If the Bureau and the alleged violator agree upon the terms of the proposed Consent Order, it is presented to the Board. The Board then decides whether to accept the terms of the tentative settlement.
If the Bureau and the alleged violator cannot reach an agreement, the Bureau has the option of bringing the case before the Board in a contested hearing or taking the matter to court. In that event, the Board or the court will hear the evidence and arguments, determine whether a violation has occurred, and decide if any penalties and corrective actions will be required. If the alleged violator does not agree with the Board's or court's decision, further judicial review is available.
At any time during the enforcement process, the Bureau and Board may refer a matter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has the authority to enforce environmental laws and assists local and state programs in their enforcement efforts. Also, if the EPA decides that local enforcement has been inadequate in a particular case, or if it has targeted a particular type of industry, it can over-file and enforce federally-approved limitations.
All enforcement cases are a matter of public record. Interested citizens may view these files during normal business hours at the Air Pollution Control Bureau's offices at 6125 Preservation Drive Ste. 140, Chattanooga, TN 37416.