On December 11, 2018, the first Tianjin Environmental Protection Administrative Appeal was heard and sentenced in Beijing Fourth Intermediate Court. A paint company in Tianjin was fined 40,000 yuan by the Environmental Protection Bureau of Beichen District of Tianjin for producing harmful exhaust gas. The company considered that the punishment was too heavy and filed an administrative lawsuit. After losing the first instance, the case was accepted by the Fourth Intermediate Court of Beijing in accordance with the provisions of jurisdiction. The court upheld the original judgment in the second instance.
Appellant Tianjin Huwei Chemical Coatings Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Huwei Coatings Co., Ltd.) produces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the production and operation of alkyd paints. However, the appellant has not built exhaust gas treatment facilities according to regulations and has not been produced in closed space or equipment. On August 29, 2017, the Environmental Protection Bureau of Beichen District of Tianjin City made an administrative penalty decision, fining Huwei Coatings Company 40,000 yuan. The company did not apply for a hearing. The company refused to accept the penalty decision and filed an administrative lawsuit with Tianjin Railway Transport Court, requesting that the fine be changed from 40,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan.
The court of first instance ruled against Huwei Paint Companys claim. Huwei Paint Company refused to accept the first instance decision and appealed to Beijing Fourth Intermediate Court. On November 27, 2018, the Fourth Central Court of Beijing filed a case.
Huwei Coatings Company complained that it had stopped production in accordance with the requirements of relevant departments and did not carry out any production and operation. The Environmental Protection Bureau of Beichen District of Tianjin City has decided to punish the adjacent enterprises with the same illegal facts by 20,000 yuan, while the Huwei Coatings Company has been punished by 40,000 yuan. The administrative punishment is obviously unfair.
Tianjin Beichen District Environmental Protection Bureau argued that law enforcement staff went to Huwei Coatings Company on May 21, 2017 and found signs of production and business activities. The last day of production was May 20, 2017. Waste gases containing volatile organic compounds produced in production and operation activities are not carried out in closed space or equipment, which violates the regulations of Tianjin Air Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations. Huwei Coatings Company and other enterprises are not the same kind of illegal acts, and its production scale is larger than other enterprises, the environmental pollution impact is also greater than other enterprises. And when the staff carried out law enforcement inspection on Huwei Coatings Company, there was a situation that Huwei Coatings Company refused to open the door and delayed law enforcement. In the process of law enforcement inspection, law enforcement officers put forward the requirements of checking production meters and recording electricity consumption. Huwei Coatings Company refused to cooperate. This situation does not exist in other similar enterprises.
In todays remote online trial process, both parties around the focus of the case dispute, that is, whether the administrative penalty decision of the defendant is obviously inappropriate to express litigation opinions, and conducted a court debate.
After deliberation by the collegial panel, the case was adjudicated in court. The facts ascertained and ascertained by the Fourth Central Court are consistent with the facts ascertained and ascertained through examination. The court held that the Environmental Protection Bureau of Beichen District of Tianjin City decided to impose a fine of 40,000 yuan against the illegal acts of Huwei Coatings Company, which belongs to a relatively low range within the legal range of fines. There is no disproportionate situation between the amount of fines of 40,000 yuan and the illegal acts of Huwei Coatings Company, which is not enough to determine that the punishment decision of the accused constitutes obvious improper. And the existing evidence can not prove that Huwei Paint Company and other similar violations of the facts, nature, circumstances and degree of social harm are equal, so its claim lacks factual and legal basis, the court refused to accept. The second trial decision rejected the appeal and maintained the first trial decision.
Source: Wang Zheng_N7526, responsible editor of Beijing News