Citizen's Guide

 

The following information is provided to assist users in gaining an understanding to some of the most commonly asked questions about the legal system and process at the Environmental Hearing Board.  It is not meant to serve as legal guidance or advice.  The Environmental Hearing Board strongly advises use of professional legal counsel for determining definitive answers and obtaining guidance in pursuing an appeal through the Board.

 

  1.   Q:        How do I obtain a subpoena for Board proceedings?

 

A:        Blank subpoena forms may be requested by contacting the Board Secretary, or by downloading the form from the Board’s Web page at ehb.courtapps.com.  The parties are responsible for filling in the appropriate information, serving it and properly compensating the individual upon whom it is served.  While it is a good idea to include your own proof of service form, such proof of service need not be filed with the Board.  You should also review Rules 234.1-234.4 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure for specific requirements.  Board Rule 114, 25 Pa. Code § 1021.114.

 

  1.   Q:        May an attorney who is not admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar represent a party before the Board?

 

A:        Yes, in some instances.  Out-of-state attorneys who seek to represent a party before the Board must file a petition to be admitted pro hac vice.  The petition should indicate that the petitioning attorney is a member in good standing of another state’s bar and show that the other state allows Pennsylvania attorneys to appear before tribunals analogous to the EHB in that state.

 

  1.   Q:        Do I need an attorney to appeal my case to the Board?

 

A:        Corporations, organizations and groups of individuals are required to have a licensed attorney represent them before the Board.  Individuals may represent themselves as pro se litigants before the Board, but legal advice and/or representation is encouraged for all parties in order to present the best case possible for the record.  Environmental law and legal procedure can prove to be very difficult for the non-lawyer.

 

  1.   Q:        Does it cost anything to file an appeal?

 

A:        There is no cost for the filing of an appeal to the Environmental Hearing Board.  Of course, there may be legal fees and other costs associated with processing a case, but at no time will the Board charge parties for services provided. 

 

  1.   Q:        Are records, files and hearings public?

 

A:        Most of the materials associated with processing a case through the Environmental Hearing Board are public information.  There are some provisions for excluding certain information when it is of a sensitive nature. Attorney work product is always confidential.  Hearings are open to the public but recording and/or video taping proceedings are not allowed.

            The Board endeavors to promptly comply with requests for information and/or copies of documents.  If the information requested is a lengthy document, or perhaps multiple documents, the requestor may come to the office and copy the documents at a fee of 25 cents per page.  If the requestor cannot do this, the Board, at its convenience, will copy the documents at a fee of 25 cents per page for uncertified copies.  The requestor will also be charged a search fee of $5 per half hour (or any portion thereof) for the time Board staff spend in retrieving and copying uncertified documents.  If the documents must be certified, a charge of $1 per page will be imposed. A search fee will not be charged for certified documents.  Copies of all EHB hearing transcripts must be obtained from the court reporting service which was used for the hearing in question.

 

  1.   Q:        How long does it take until my appeal may be scheduled for a hearing?

 

A:        It is impossible to establish an exact time frame as each case may vary greatly in complexity and duration.  It usually takes at least 6 months from the date when an initial Notice of Appeal is filed until a case is scheduled for a hearing.    Absent unusual circumstances, the Board will dispose of all appeals within two years. 

 

  1.   Q:        To whom do I have to serve copies of my filings?

 

A:        Copies of the Notice of Appeal and all subsequent filings to the Board should be served on the DEP program area from which actions originated; to the DEP office of Chief Counsel; to all listed parties that DEP addresses formally in correspondence; to other appellants, permittees or intervenors in the case, and to any other parties in the case.  See Rule 32, 25 Pa. Code § 1021.32, Rule 51(g), 25 Pa. Code § 1021.51(g).

 

  1.   Q:        Explain how to calculate the 30 day period beyond which no appeal may be filed on an action? 

 

A:        The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date on which a party receives written notice of the Department's action.  If the party has not received such a written notice, but notice of the action is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin in a manner to inform him that he may be affected by the action, the appeal must be filed within 30 days of that notice.  Otherwise, the action must be filed within 30 days of the time the affected party learns of the action.  Rule 52, 25 Pa. Code § 1021.52.