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Middlebury, Town of v. Department of Envtl. Protection

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20169
Nos. No. SC 17332, (Conn., 07/07/2007)

The court upheld the dismissal of a town's appeal of seven stationary source air permits granted to an energy company by the state's environmental agency. The lower court ruled that the agency's decision was not a "final decision" in a "contested case" as defined by General Statutes §4-166. The statute defines a contested case as "a proceeding . . . in which the legal rights, duties or privileges of a party are required by statute to be determined by an agency after an opportunity for hearing or in which a hearing is in fact held . . . " (emphasis added). Because the public hearing in the present case was required to be held by federal statute and state regulation, but not by state statute, the lower court ruled that there was no contested case. On appeal, the town pointed out that subsequent to the lower court's dismissal, the statute was amended to expand the definition of a contested case to include an agency decision rendered after a hearing required to be held by state regulation. But because the amendment implements a substantive change in the law, it applies prospectively only. Hence, the court affirmed the dismissal.