Enforcement Programs Background

This page last reviewed January 4, 2012

Image of clear sky and tree

The Air Resources Board coordinates California's efforts to reach and maintain the health-based air quality standards, and to protect the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants. Since its inception, ARB has been charged with overseeing the efforts of local air pollution control and air quality management districts in controlling air pollution caused by stationary sources.

ARB has also been specifically directed to address the serious problems caused by mobile sources (cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses, and off-road vehicles and equipment and the fuels that power them) which are major sources of air pollution in the most populous parts of the state.

ARB is also responsible for controlling emissions statewide from smaller but more numerous sources of air pollution and toxic air contaminants, such as consumer products, lawn and garden equipment and utility engines, as well as other sources.


To carry out its responsibilities, ARB has undertaken a multifaceted program of planning, regulation development, and enforcement. This is a complex process which incorporates air quality research, modeling and assessment, development and adoption of regulations through a process which allows public input, and program implementation which includes active outreach to regulators and regulated industries through training and compliance assistance.

The final component, enforcement, ensures that these efforts achieve the anticipated emissions reductions and a level playing field for all participants.

Violations of California's air quality laws and regulations span a wide spectrum that extends from nominal breaches of the state's statutes or regulations to deliberate, criminal actions. While varying degrees of pollution are created by way of these violations, what remains constant in each is the unfair economic disadvantage suffered by those members of the industries that do comply. To address these varying degrees of violation and their effects on the state's health and economic welfare, the Enforcement Division of ARB has adopted the following as its mission statement:

The mission of ARB's Enforcement Program is to protect the environment and public health and to provide safe, clean air for all Californians by reducing emissions of air contaminants through the fair, consistent and comprehensive enforcement of air pollution laws, and by providing training and compliance assistance.

History of the Air Resources Board

To learn more about ARB's history, please visit our History of Air Resources Board web page or view our Clearing California's Skies video (wmv 55MB).