*Please note the material below should not be substitute for legal advice. If there is conflict with the text below and relevant statutes and regulations, the statutes and regulations shall prevail.
The Council’s proceedings are held pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. In the case of a Certificate proceeding the Council is statutorily required to hold a hearing, however in the case of a petition the Council utilizes its expertise in order to determine if a hearing is necessary or helpful in determining any issue concerning the request. If a hearing is held regarding a petition before the Council, the Council will provide appropriate notice.
How to participate at a Siting Council public hearing proceeding:
One may participate in the Council process in one of two ways; either through party/intervenor status or through oral or written comments submitted to the Council. One must choose to participate in one manner and will not be permitted to participate as a party/intervenor and through public comment.
There are two parts to the Siting Council hearing process, one designated for each of the methods of participation; the public evidentiary hearing and the public comment hearing. The evidentiary hearing, with participation by parties/intervenors is typically held in the afternoon and the public comment hearing, with participation by the general public, in the evening. To be clear, all participants are welcome to attend both the evidentiary and public comment hearings, however, actual participation is limited to the appropriate session of the proceeding.
Participation through party/intervenor status is a more formal route of participation which presents one with an opportunity for extended involvement in the evidentiary proceeding. On the other hand, participation at the public comment session is an informal method of making ones views known to the Council. All participants are strongly encouraged to give thoughtful consideration to the method of participation they pursue. You are urged to consult an attorney in order to best evaluate your legal rights in a proceeding.
One who participates as a party or intervenor benefits from more in-depth participation but also holds greater responsibility in the hearing process. In order to become a party or intervenor in a proceeding one must file an application for Council review. After reviewing the application the Council will either grant or deny the application. The applications to seek party or intervenor status may be obtained from the Council website or by following these links: Party Form Intervenor Form
Status as a "party" or "intervenor" is an important distinction which is addressed by the "details of attaining party/intervenor status" guide. Although legal representation is not required in order to gain and utilize such status, it is strongly encouraged.
Public evidentiary hearing:
Those who receive approval from the Council to become parties or intervenors participate in the evidentiary hearing. This type of involvement is more formal and requires thoughtful preparation. Evidentiary hearings include the presentation of witnesses, the numbering of all exhibits, requests for administrative notice, and the verification of all exhibits by appropriate witnesses. Witness panels are subject to cross-examination by the Council and the parties and intervenors. Following cross-examination of the applicant, each party and intervenor is provided an opportunity to present their exhibits and witnesses and are subject to cross-examination by the Council and other parties and intervenors.
All persons, who do not hold the status of party or intervenor, are invited to either speak publicly at the public comment portion of the hearing or submit written comments to the Council, this is referred to as a "statement of limited appearance". Written comments must be submitted to the Council no later than 30 days following the date of the public comment hearing. Both oral and written comments are entered into the public record for the proceeding and taken into consideration by Council members. A person who wishes to participate in this manner is not required to seek approval from the Council for such participation or obligated by any other duties. Legal representation is not at all needed in order to speak or submit written comments at the public comment session.
Public Comment Session:The public comment session is held in the evening in the town or county of the proposed facility and is best described as a "come as you are event", with no prior preparation required. The public is invited to make short comments into the record at the outset of the session. These statements may identify facts, concerns, and issues that help the Council decide the case. The Council asks that any person seeking to make a public statement identify themselves on a sign-up sheet that is available at the hearing session. As a courtesy, the Council Chairman generally calls on public officials first to make statements, followed by members of the public. The Council requests all public officials and members of the public making such public statements to be concise and courteous of other speakers. If there are a very large number of speakers, the Council may require time limits for each person, in order ensure everyone the opportunity to speak.
Council staff is available to answer any general questions you may have regarding participation in our proceedings. The Council encourages the community to express its concerns and opinions to the Council in order for the Council to make a balanced and well-reasoned decision.