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Permit Appeals Frequently Asked Questions

Where Should a Petition for an Appeal be Submitted?

All documents pertaining to a Permit Appeal should be submitted to the Permit Appeals Officer at the following address:

Department of Toxic Substances Control
Permit Appeals Officer
8800 Cal Center Drive, 2nd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95826-3200

Documents will be deemed filed on the date the e-mail was sent or on the U.S. Postal Service postmark date. Hand delivered documents will be date stamped and filed on the date received.

What is the Deadline for Filing an Appeal?

  • An appeal must be filed within 30 days after DTSC has issued a final permit decision. (DTSC’s regulations refer to the appeal as a petition for review.) The 30-day period begins with the service of notice of DTSC’s action, unless the notice specifies a later date. If there is no appeal filed within the 30 days, the permit decision becomes final.
  • If DTSC decides on its own initiative to review a permit condition, it must act within 30 days of service of notice of its own action.

Is a Fee Payment Required to File an Appeal with DTSC?

No.  There is no fee required to file an appeal with DTSC.

Who May File an Appeal?

  • A person who filed comments on the draft permit or participated in the public hearing on the draft permit may petition for review of any condition of the permit decision. Persons who commented on the draft permit may appeal:
    • Issues raised by anyone on the draft permit during the public comment period, including the public hearing;
    • Issues not reasonably ascertainable during the draft permit public comment period, including the public hearing.
  • Any person, without regard to whether that person filed comments on the draft permit or participated in the public hearing may file a petition but only with regards to changes from the draft permit to the final permit.
  • Any person may petition for review of any condition of a temporary authorization.
  • DTSC may decide on its own initiative to review a permit condition.

What Must an Appeal Contain?

An appeal must contain:

  • A written Statement of Reasons supporting the petition for review.
  • A demonstration that any issues raised in the petition for review were either:
    • raised during the public comment period; or
    • pertain to changes from the draft to the final permit.
  • A demonstration that the permit condition in question is based on either:
    • a finding of fact or conclusion of law that is clearly erroneous; or
    • an exercise of discretion on an important policy consideration that DTSC should review.

Failure to include in writing the above elements are grounds for denying the petition for review. DTSC examines the petition for review to determine if these prerequisites have been met and if the petition falls within DTSC’s purview.

A petitioner who participated during the public comment period must show that the issue being appealed was raised during the public comment period or was not reasonably ascertainable at that time. Otherwise, a petitioner must show that the issue involves changes from the draft permit to the final permit.

The appeal issues must arise from DTSC’s permit. DTSC does not have the authority to review permits granted by other agencies or operations that are not regulated by DTSC. Issues pertaining to compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) are reviewable pursuant to that Act (Public Resources Code section 21000 et seq.,).

The Statement of Reasons should be specific as to the issues being appealed, the reasons for the appeal and the information supporting the reasons. Vague and nonspecific allegations are insufficient to meet the requirements for granting review. For example, general allegations objecting to the existence of the facility or general allegations that the facility is a hazard would be insufficient.

How Soon Must DTSC Respond to a Petition?

DTSC is required to act on a petition within a reasonable time. It is DTSC’s practice to notify a petitioner within 30 days of receipt of a petition that the petition has been received and that the petition is under review.

How Long Does the Entire Appeal Process Take from Start to Finish?

The actual time it takes to process an appeal varies with the complexity of the appeal and the number of comments that are submitted. It is DTSC’s intent to issue its decision to grant or deny a petition for review within 90 days. When DTSC grants a petition for review, it is DTSC’s intent to issue a final decision on the petition within 270 days.

How May DTSC Respond to a Petition for Review?

DTSC must either grant or deny the petition for review in writing. Granting the petition means that DTSC will consider the issue on its merits, not necessarily that it will make the changes requested by the petitioner.

If DTSC Denies the Petition, What is the Next Step?

DTSC must send a written notice of denial to the person or persons who requested the review. DTSC will also notify the permit applicant of DTSC’s decision. DTSC’s decision becomes final on the day the order is mailed.

If DTSC Grants the Petition, What are the Next Steps?

  • DTSC must give public notice that the petition has been granted in accordance with the procedures described in California Code of Regulations, title 22, section 66271.9. The public notice must set forth a briefing period, i.e., a time period that allows individuals to clarify the issues under review and submit the information. The public notice must set forth a briefing schedule, i.e., a time period that allows persons to file arguments on the specific issues that have been granted review. The briefing schedule will establish a date or dates when arguments must be filed with DTSC. The public notice must state that any interested person may file a written argument. DTSC will post these public notices on its website.
  • Written arguments filed by interested parties must be limited to the issues listed in the notice for the briefing period. DTSC may in its discretion provide parties filing arguments during the briefing period with an opportunity to present their arguments orally to the Appeal Officer in an informal appeal conference. The informal appeal conference will be scheduled after the conclusion of the briefing period.
  • DTSC’s review team considers the arguments submitted during the briefing period and the Appeal Officer issues a final decision on the merits.
  • DTSC sends its final order of decision on the merits to the petitioner, to the permit applicant if different from the petitioner, and to interested persons who filed arguments during the briefing period. DTSC’s decision becomes final on the date the order is mailed.

What Happens to the Permit if Portions of the Permit are Appealed?

  • If an appeal is filed on a permit for a new facility, the entire permit is stayed, i.e., it will not go into effect until DTSC completes the appeal process.
  • If the appeal is for an existing facility or activity, or a new activity within an existing facility, only the contested permit condition and the condition that cannot be implemented separately from the contested conditions are stayed until DTSC completes the appeal process.
  • The uncontested permit conditions will become effective 30 days after DTSC issues the permit. The contested conditions of the permit will become effective immediately after DTSC issues its final determination through the permit appeal proceedings.

What Recourse is Available After DTSC’s Decision Becomes Final?

To appeal further, a petition for judicial review must be filed with the court within 90 days of the date that notice of DTSC’s final decision is served. (Health and Safety Code Section 25186.1, subd. (b)(2).). DTSC’s final decision takes effect on the date of mailing of the order is mailed unless it is stayed by a court.

Are Permit Appeal Documents Available on the Internet?

DTSC will post permit appeal documents on its’ web site including notices, petitions for review, appeal arguments and final decisions.

What Laws Govern DTSC’s Permit Appeals?

The permit appeal process for grants, issuance, modifications, and denials is set forth in the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, section 66271.18 (opens new window) which implements Health and Safety Code section 25186.1 (opens new window).