Enforcement is a critical component of regulatory air quality programs that helps ensure a level playing field across all companies in an industrial sector. Appropriate methods of enforcement ensure compliance with regulations which helps improve human health and the environment by ensuring that required reductions in air pollution actually occur. When violations are identified, regulators have several options: mandated requirements to install air pollution control devices or process modifications; civil penalties (e.g., fines); requirements to support air pollution research and control measures; and, in criminal cases, imprisonment. The appropriate types of enforcement can vary considerably from location to location, depending upon many local factors (e.g., local air quality, local enforcement policies).

Air quality agencies carry out enforcement and compliance programs to ensure that sources meet the applicable federal, state and local air pollution control requirements in their jurisdictions. There are several aspects of an agency’s enforcement and compliance program. EPA and state and local air agencies often provide compliance assistance to help the regulated community understand and comply with regulations.

State and local air quality officials receive training on air pollution from a number of training providers. EPA provides training to state and local air agencies via self-instructional courses, webinars and through classroom course materials (known as the Air Pollution Training Institute, APTI). Regional state organizations focusing on air quality issues develop and hold training courses, through classroom courses, workshops, conference and webinars.

State and local air pollution control programs in the United State are funded through a variety of sources. These include federal, state and local appropriations; the federal permit fee program under Title V of the Clean Air Act; state and local permit and emissions fee programs; and other funding programs that individual agencies operate.