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Frequently Asked Questions about Fines

About Enforcement

DOEE enforces environmental laws to help protect the District of Columbia’s air, water, lands, and wildlife and the health and wellbeing of its people. The people who live, work, and visit here are responsible for complying with District laws and the regulations that explain how the laws are to be implemented. DOEE identifies violations of District environmental laws and regulations. To stop the violations, the DOEE takes action, such as issuing a warning, fine, or order. These enforcement actions help correct existing violations and prevent future violations.

For many types of violations, DOEE has a two-step enforcement process. The first step is issuance of an Enforcement Notice. If this does not resolve the violation(s), DOEE takes the second step: issuance of a Notice of Infraction. The following links provides information on the two steps:

- Step One: Enforcement Notice Process (also attached below)
- Step Two (If Needed): Notice of Infraction Process (also attached below)

What is an Enforcement Notice?

An Enforcement Notice informs a person or business that DOEE has identified a violation of one or more environmental laws or regulations. It also imposes a fine for the violation(s). The Enforcement Notice is a way for DOEE to offer an opportunity to resolve the violation before going to court.

Why did I receive an Enforcement Notice (formerly called an Internal Notice of Infraction)?

You have received an Enforcement Notice because DOEE believes you have violated one or more environmental laws or regulations.

How do I respond to the Enforcement Notice?

You may answer each violation with a plea of Admit, Admit with Explanation, or Deny. Specific instructions for each plea type are explained on your Enforcement Notice. You have twenty (20) calendar days after the date of service to respond. DOEE will attempt to resolve any violation that is marked Admit with Explanation or Deny when an explanation is provided. If the violation cannot be satisfactorily resolved, you will receive a Notice of Infraction (see below). Be sure to keep a copy of everything that you send to DOEE.

Send the completed and signed document with your check or money order, payable to the “D.C. Treasurer,” to:

Department of Energy and Environment
Office of Enforcement and Environmental Justice
1200 First Street, NE, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20002

Completed and signed Notices, but not payments, may also be sent via fax to (202) 727-6249 or e-mail (in PDF format) to [email protected].

What happens if I do not respond to the Enforcement Notice?

If you do not respond to the Enforcement Notice, DOEE will send you a Notice of Infraction directing you to file your response with the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings, a District administrative court.

How do I resolve an Enforcement Notice?

Resolving an Enforcement Notice means you have paid the fine, signed a payment agreement with DOEE, or persuaded DOEE that you did not violate the District law or regulation.

What is a Notice of Infraction?

If you are unable to resolve an Enforcement Notice, DOEE will issue a Notice of Infraction. The Notice of Infraction puts the case before the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings.

Why did I receive a Notice of Infraction?

You received a Notice of Infraction because:

  1. DOEE did not receive your response to your Enforcement Notice; or
  2.  You did not pay the fine, reach a payment agreement with DOEE, or persuade DOEE that you did not violate the laws or regulations cited in the Enforcement Notice.

What if I received a Notice of Infraction, but did not get an Enforcement Notice?

If you act quickly, you may be able to resolve the violation with DOEE before the case is filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Please contact the DOEE Office of Enforcement and Environmental Justice at (202) 741-2139 or [email protected] to discuss your options.

How do I respond to the Notice of Infraction?

You may answer each violation with a plea of Admit, Admit with Explanation, or Deny. Specific instructions for each plea type are explained on your Notice of Infraction. You have twenty (20) calendar days after the date of service to respond. If you plead Deny to one or more of the violations, you must appear before a hearing at the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings.  The District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings is a third-party agency that is independent of DOEE.

Send the completed and signed document to:

Clerk, Office of Administrative Hearings
One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 2001-2714

You may find more information about the Office of Administrative Hearings at http://oah.dc.gov/. For further information about paying fines, visit http://dc.gov/service/paying-fine.

What happens if I do not respond to the Notice of Infraction?

If you do not respond on time, you will be subject to additional penalties and actions by the law, including suspension or non-renewal of a DC license or permit, the sealing of your business, or the placement of a lien on your property.

I’ve come into compliance with the law since receiving an Enforcement Notice or Notice of Infraction. Do I still need to pay the fine?

Even if you return to compliance with the law, you have violated a District law or regulation and must still pay the fine.

Whom do I contact for assistance with the Enforcement Notice?

You may contact the DOEE Office of Enforcement and Environmental Justice:
Phone: (202) 741-2139   |   Email: [email protected]

Whom do I contact for assistance with the Notice of Infraction?

You may contact the DOEE Office of Enforcement and Environmental Justice:
Phone: (202) 741-2139  |  Email: [email protected]

You may also contact the Office of Administrative Hearings:
Phone: (202) 442-9094  |  Fax: (202) 442-4789

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