General Permitting Overview

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General Overview

The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (District) requires that all equipment with the potential to emit air pollutants (including air toxins and hazardous air pollutants) have a valid District permit prior to commencing construction and/or operation. A device may be exempted by Rule 219, the California Health and Safety Code or by District policy/precedent.


The District normally issues permits in response to the submission of a complete application for a permit. Applications may be submitted by mail, in person, or via email to  Permit applications are provided here for download. The District will only act on an application if it is completely filled out, signed (by the responsible official or his designee), and is accompanied by the appropriate application fee as defined in Rule 301. Note that the District requires one application per each device or process, and using the correct application form will expedite application processing.

Application Guidance and Instructions

The District requires a substantial amount of information about the equipment to be permitted, and the District has prepared an instruction sheet to assist you in providing this information. In some cases this information may have been submitted earlier, or may be assumed due to some other circumstance. The District recommends that when in doubt, submit everything called for in the instruction sheet. We only need one copy of anything submitted.

Applications from a Title V (Major, MACT, etc.) Facility

Any application package that is not for a change of ownership from a facility subject to Title V (as specified in District Regulation XII) must be accompanied by a signed original Title V Application Submission Certification form. A change of ownership package for a permitted unit at a Title V facility must be accompanied by a signed original Title V Submission Certification Change of Ownership form. Please refer to the applicable Title V requirements for other specific submission requirements.

General Change of Ownership

The District requires a signed original application to change the ownership of an existing permitted unit - the general application is adequate for this change. The change of ownership fee as specified by Rule 301 is required for each permitted unit undergoing a change of ownership. An application for change of ownership is only required if the Federal Tax Identification Number is being changed for the permitted unit - a simple name change can be made by the District in response to a written letter (preferably on letterhead from the current named entity).

Temporary Operations

The District has a mechanism to issue temporary permits under Rule 301(C)(12) – temporary meaning a permit that will be valid for thirty (30) days.  Under that rule an application for such a temporary permit must be accompanied by the standard application filing fee and one twelfth (1/12) of the annual permit operating fee otherwise calculated under Rule 301.  Otherwise, District permits are valid for one year (for an initial issuance, from the date of issuance through the next expiration date, which may be less than one year).  The annual operating fee is charged on a per-year basis, and cannot be pro-rated for temporary operations lasting less than one year (but will be pro-rated for an initial permit).  An owner/operator can cancel a permit within 90 days of issuance and request a refund of the balance of the annual operating fee, and may receive a refund of some portion of the initial annual operating fee payment (depending on when the initial annual operating fee invoice was paid).  In particular, asbestos remediation permit applications (usually negative air machines and HEPA-filtered vacuums) must be accompanied by the standard application fee and the full annual operating fee for the first year (or the application will be deemed incomplete).

Confidential Information

In some cases a portion of the required application information is considered confidential or a trade secret by the applicant. You must indicate this on the application and then indicate in some way what information is to be confidential (the District recommends sequestering this information in a separate envelope or package) – note that general equipment details, emissions information, and final permit conditions must be publicly available and cannot be confidential.

Permit Conditions

The District will assign a set of conditions to each issued permit. These conditions will define acceptable operation of the device within the air quality requirements the District has the authority to impose, as interpreted by District engineering staff. These requirements are derived from Federal, State and District laws, rules and regulations, District permitting policy and precedent, and good regulatory engineering practice, as interpreted by District engineering staff. In addition, the permit will define what is being permitted through the description and equipment details and/or equipment detail list, in most cases including a maximum rating. Each permit is assigned a fee schedule based on equipment type, and the fee schedule and maximum rating determine the annual operating fee owed for the permit.

ATCs versus PTOs

Permits come in two forms: Authorities To Construct (ATCs) and Permits to Operate (PTOs). By default, a new permit is issued as an ATC. Upon completion of construction, an ATC becomes a “temporary” permit-to-operate. There is no fee or operational difference between ATCs and PTOs. However, by policy and precedent an ATC can be changed administratively (in response to a site inspection, for example), without a mandatory submission of an application to modify. Changes that can be made to a permit in this way include changes to the description or error corrections. In general, a change that affects the fee schedule or fee rating, or requirement compliance, must be made with an application to modify.


By rule, the District must inform you if your application is incomplete within thirty days of its receipt.  The District processes applications in the order in which they are received - the District has no additional fee to expedite or rush application processing.  In most cases, the District will issue a permit within thirty days, and the issued permit becomes the applicant's notice that the application was complete.  In the case of complicated applications, such as large process applications, facility applications, and non-trivial modifications to existing facilities and permits (and particularly including applications that are subject to offset requirements or have been required to submit the complex source application fee), the District may take longer than thirty days.  In no case will the District deem an application incomplete without notifying the applicant of this and why, including what specific information is missing from the application.

Permit Cancellation

The owner/operator can cancel any permit at any time.  Complete, sign and return this form to the District.  Cancellation of a current permit may generate a refund of the balance of the annual permit operating fee, if the permit is current and the request to cancel is received within 90 days of the prior expiration date of the permit.