By Diane Kindermann, William W. Abbott and Glen Hansen

Welcome to Abbott & Kindermann’s 2015 Mid-Year Environmental update. This update discusses selected litigation, regulations / administrative guidance and pending legislation, on both the federal and state levels, in the following general areas of environmental law: (A) Water Rights and Supply, (B) Water Quality, (C) Wetlands, (D) Air Quality and Climate Change, (E) Endangered Species, (F) Renewable Energy, (G) Hazardous Substance Control and Cleanup, (H) Mining / Oil & Gas, and (I) Environmental Enforcement.

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If you have any questions about these court decisions, contact Diane Kindermann, William Abbott or Glen Hansen. The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

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In Tafti v. County of Tulare (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 891, the Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District held that a local enforcement agency violated the due process rights of a property owner when it failed to provide adequate notice of the nature of an administrative appeal hearing, where an administrative law judge recalculated a civil penalty in the amount of $1,148,200, and where the penalty amount stated in the original enforcement order that the owner appealed from was $137,778. The enforcement order’s description of the appeal rights gave the misleading notion that the hearing, if requested, would be limited to the factual issues set forth in the enforcement order; and nothing in the order alerted the owner to the fact that if he requested a hearing, it would reopen the civil penalty issue and allow the administrative judge to determine anew, without any limitation to the amount set forth in the enforcement order, the total assessment of civil penalties.
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