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  • Introduction to Rulemaking Process

    The Arizona Revised Statutes 49-112 and 49-471 et seq. authorizes the county to adopt ordinances and establishes a rulemaking process by which the county must follow. In addition, a variety of state laws give citizens the right to comment on regulations before the county can put them into effect. Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) is responsible for creating and amending existing rules within Pima County Code Title 7 - Environmental Quality, Title 13 - Public Services, and Title 17 - Air Quality Control.

    This Overview of the Rulemaking process gives an overview of the process PDEQ follows for creating and amending existing rules within Pima County Code and Pima County Ordinances. PDEQ posts the Current Rulemaking Activities throughout the process from proposed changes, draft, and final rules or ordinances. We encourage and rely on you to get involved in the regulatory process.

    Overview of Rulemaking Process

    Informal Stakeholder Meetings

    When the department begins working on a rule, the department may meet informally with interested stakeholders to discuss the proposed rule. The goal of the informal meetings is to develop a good working relationship with the public and establish lines of communication. At the meeting, the proposed rule is introduced and interested stakeholders are given the opportunity to ask various questions, provide feedback, and offer comments. As the rule development progresses, the stakeholders will be updated regarding the rule's current status. These initial meetings are very important and informative for all parties involved. We encourage and rely on you to get involved in the regulatory process.

    Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    Once the rule is developed, the department must post a notice of proposed rulemaking on the County's homepage. The department must also publish notice of this rulemaking in a local newspaper. PDEQ publishes these notices on the PDEQ homepage (within the Featured News section), and on the PDEQ Draft, Proposed and Final Rules webpage. In addition to the rule text, the preamble of the notice includes information regarding the department's rulemaking contact, a description of the rulemaking process, reasons for initiating the rule, the expected economic effects, and proposed effective date of the rule. The date of any scheduled oral proceeding, such as the board of supervisors hearing, may also be included. Once the notice of proposed rulemaking is published, the public comment period begins and must continue for a minimum of thirty days. During this time, the public may submit comments to the department regarding the proposed rule. Public Comments can be submitted within the formal public comment period in writing via letter, e-mail to Rupesh Patel, or through the PDEQ online Public Comment Form.

    Formal Stakeholder Meetings

    During the comment period after the notice of proposed rulemaking is published, the department may schedule formal stakeholder meetings to discuss the rule and accept formal comments.

    Board of Supervisors Hearing

    At the hearing, the department submits a rule package (proposed ordinance) to the board of supervisors for approval. The rulemaking package includes the proposed rule, public comments, the department's response to comments, and reasons for any changes to the proposed rule. The board of supervisors hearing is open to the public and live proceedings are available through the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors for Pima County. During the hearing, the department presents the rule package and the board allows for public questions, oral presentations of arguments, data and views on the proposed rule. At the board of supervisors hearing the board may adopt the rule. If the ordinance is adopted the rule will become effective 31 days from the date of the board of supervisors hearing, unless the board specifies a later date.

    Notice of Final Rulemaking

    After the board of supervisors approves the rule, within thirty days the department will publish the final rule on the County's on the County's homepage. PDEQ publishes these notices on the PDEQ homepage (within the Featured News section), and on the PDEQ Draft, Proposed and Final Rules webpage. This notice will include the preamble and final rule text.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I get involved?

    PDEQ is committed to keeping citizens informed on the regulations and policies under development. You can get involved by first being aware of regulations and policies under development, attending stakeholder meetings on proposed rules, and commenting on rules when they are formally published for review. You can be included as a stakeholder by contacting our department. As a stakeholder, the department will notify you about specific rules you have an interest in and keep you updated on any associated rulemaking.

    To be effective, you need to be involved as early in the rulemaking process as possible to do so you can Join PDEQ Rules & Regulations Mailing List.

    How do I know what is going on?

    In order to exercise your right to comment, you must first know what rules are being developed, when the stakeholders are meeting, when the proposed rule comment period begins, and many other details of the rulemaking process.

    To keep updated on this type of information, there are several ways to learn what is going on with regulatory development. You may check your local newspaper legal notices for announcements with regards to PDEQ's proposed rules and permits.  In many cases, these notices will indicate the comment period and location of any public meetings, as well as list the department's specific contact for additional information. You may also call PDEQ directly and ask to be included as a stakeholder for any and all rulemakings.Check PDEQ's web site each day for new information.

    Our Draft, Proposed and Final Rules page lists the department's current rulemaking activities.

    How do I submit comments to PDEQ?

    Each notice of a proposed rule, policy or permit application available for public review will have instructions on where to send your public comments. The notice will state when the comment period ends and a deadline for all submittals. PDEQ is required by law to accept any comments on proposed rules in writing or through public hearings. You may send your written comments through U.S. mail to 33 N Stone Ave, Suite 700, Tucson, AZ, 85718, fax transmittal to (520) 838-7432, or e-mail. PDEQ schedules public hearings based on interest to collect oral comments, so check public notices for dates, times, and locations.

    Other questions about how to submit comments please contact Sarah Reitmeyer (520) 724-7437 or e-mail.

    Does PDEQ have to respond to comments?

    Yes. PDEQ is required by law to respond to all comments submitted during the formal comment period.

    PDEQ responds to comments by preparing a formal, written report. The report lists each person or organization submitting comments and individually responds to each of the comments. In the case of a proposed rule, the report is submitted to the Board of Supervisors for review before taking final action to adopt a new rule or amendment to an existing rule. The report will be posted on the Draft, Proposed, and Final Rules site and the public will be provided information regarding how to obtain a copy of the report.
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    Department of Environmental Quality

    33 N. Stone Ave., Suite 700
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Phone: (520) 724-7400
    Fax: (520) 838-7432

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