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District Department of the Environment

The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) issues Notices of Infraction to property owners and others for violations affecting the District’s natural resources and maintenance of a healthy environment.  DDOE then files these Notices with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Persons receiving such Notices file their responses and payments with the Office of Administrative Hearings, which resolves any challenges to the Notices.  The instructions on the Notices explain that you can “admit” (take responsibility and pay the fine), “admit with explanation” (take responsibility but offer an explanation that the administrative law judge might take into account in deciding a fine) or “deny” (take no responsibility).  If you “admit with explanation,” DDOE will be given a chance to respond to your explanation and then the administrative law judge will decide the case based on the papers submitted.  If you “deny,” an in-person hearing is scheduled at which DDOE and you can present evidence.

Close attention should be paid to the instructions on the Notices of Infraction.  There are deadlines for responding to the notices.  There is a penalty for responding after the deadline.  There is also a penalty if you “deny,” a hearing is scheduled, and you fail to appear for the hearing.

LIHEAP

The Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program is a program funded by a federal grant and administered by DDOE’s Energy Office.  Eligible households may receive a one-time annual grant that is paid to an energy provider.  Applicants who have been denied may appeal that decision to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Sample Decisions

Sample Decisions

Administrative law judges issue a written decision for every case that is contested. The decisions below are examples of some issues raised in Office of Administrative Hearings’ cases involving this agency. You can review these decisions to get a sense of how prior cases were decided.

Please note that the facts of each case are different. These cases should be used for informational purposes only.

  • Dist. Dep’t of the Env’t v. First Priority Tours, Inc., March 7, 2012 (on a plea of Admit with Explanation to a Notice of Infraction, finding Respondent liable for idling a motor vehicle for more than 3 minutes and reducing fine (20 DCMR 900.1))
  • Dist. Dep’t of the Env’t v. Gobind and Kabir, Inc., April 22, 2011 (on a plea of Admit with Explanation to a Notice of Infraction, finding Respondent liable for failing to maintain the vapor recovery system at 5 pumps at its service station (20 DCMR 705.10))
  • Dist. Dep’t of the Env’t v. Winston, July 29, 2010 (on a plea of Admit with Explanation to a Notice of Infraction, finding Respondent liable for an accidental spill of vegetable oil into District waters (D.C. Official Code § 8-103.2) and reducing fine)

Agency LawAgency Law

Administrative law judges base their decisions upon many sources of law, chief among them the District of Columbia laws (DC Official Code) and the District of Columbia regulations (DCMR). Depending on the type of case, federal law (US Code) and federal regulations (CFR) may also be relevant. Cases decided on the issues in other courts, especially the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, are relevant.

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