Document Type


Publication Date



This article is an update of my earlier article, "Administrative Adjudication of Air Pollution Disputes: The Work of Air Pollution Control District Hearing Boards in California." Because basic features of the law governing California's air pollution hearing boards have remained in place over the years, the original article reportedly continues to be useful for lawyers and others. Nonetheless, some important aspects of the law have changed, and so have many of the practices hearing boards follow. Furthermore, in many parts of the state, hearing boards now often face cases of far greater technical and legal complexity, and environmental and economic significance, than in the past. This article adds new material to address these developments, while retaining previous text that still has validity. My aim is to offer a work of continuing usefulness to government and private attorneys, hearing board members, enforcement personnel, businesses and other regulated entities, citizens groups, and technical experts and other types of witnesses-in sum, to anyone involved with the work of hearing boards.

Initially, basic aspects of hearing boards will be discussed, in Section II. Then the three types of hearing board cases will be examined in turn:

• The first type, applications for variances, will be addressed in Section III. This is by far the kind of case the boards face most frequently. The key elements of all hearing board work appear most clearly in variance proceedings.

• The second category is abatement order requests, another well established aspect of hearing board activities. As will be shown in Section IV, abatement cases usually share many of the characteristics and objectives of variance cases.

• The third category, one that has grown in importance and variety in recent years, is the resolution of permit disputes, to be discussed in Section V. These often controversial cases include appeals by individual companies, citizens groups, and others from APCD decisions on construction and operating permits for air pollution sources.

In Section VI, a host of problematic issues will be addressed under the catch-all heading of changes, controversies, and confusions. Major changes in recent years in key aspects of hearing board operations will be explored, along with aspects that have provoked sharp controversy. Overlapping with these changes and controversies are issues on which there has been, and may inevitably continue to be, confusion in hearing boards' approaches to their tasks. Section VII will offer concluding perspectives on the current and future importance of California's hearing boards.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.