The Legal Division, headed by the District Counsel, provides representation, legal advice, and counseling to the Board of Directors and its Committees, the Executive Officer/APCO, District staff, and the Advisory Council in the execution of their respective statutory mandates and responsibilities. The Legal Division also represents, or manages outside counsel representing, the District in all litigation involving the District and in matters before the District’s Hearing Board. Attorneys in the Legal Division primarily practice in the areas of general civil law, federal, state and local air pollution control law, administrative law, federal and state civil litigation, government law, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
In representing the District in enforcement matters, the District Counsel oversees the District’s Mutual Settlement and Civil Penalty Programs. Through these programs, the District’s legal staff resolves violations of air quality regulations through negotiated settlements. For cases that cannot be settled through negotiation, Legal Division attorneys represent the District in civil litigation and, in matters involving lower penalties, the District Counsel oversees a Small Claims Court program. In addition, the Legal Division coordinates with, and provides training for, Compliance and Enforcement Division staff regarding case development.
Legal Division attorneys advise District staff on rulemaking, permitting and air quality planning activities, coordinating closely with the District’s staff to minimize challenges to District decision-making. Legal Division attorneys represent the Executive Officer/APCO before the Hearing Board, counsel the Board of Directors and its Committees as to their legal authority and duties, and interact with EPA, CARB, air district, and private attorneys on various matters. In addition, the District Counsel manages the efforts of outside counsel as appropriate in litigation, employment, and specialized counseling matters.