(a) Required hearings. A public hearing shall be conducted in the following instances:

(1) Addition of projects or adoption of amendments to the comprehensive plan, except as otherwise provided by section 14.1 of the compact.

(2) Review and approval of diversions.

(3) Imposition or modification of rates and charges.

(4) Determination of protected areas.

(5) Drought emergency declarations.

(6) Hearing requested by a member jurisdiction.

(7) As otherwise required by sections 3.5(4), 4.4, 5.2(e), 6.2(a), 8.4, and 10.4 of the compact.

(b) Optional hearings. A public hearing may be conducted by the Commission or the Executive Director in any form or style chosen by the Commission or Executive Director in the following instances:

(1) Proposed rulemaking.

(2) Consideration of projects, except projects approved pursuant to memoranda of understanding with member jurisdictions.

(3) Adoption of policies and technical guidance documents.

(4) When it is determined that a hearing is necessary to give adequate consideration to issues related to public health, safety and welfare, or protection of the environment, or to gather additional information for the record or consider new information on a matter before the Commission.

(c) Notice of public hearing. At least 20 days before any public hearing required by the compact, notices stating the date, time, place and purpose of the hearing including issues of interest to the Commission shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected. In all other cases, at least 20 days prior to the hearing, notice shall be posted on the Commission Web site, sent to the parties who, to the Commission's knowledge, will participate in the hearing, and sent to persons, organizations and news media who have made requests to the Commission for notices of hearings or of a particular hearing. With regard to rulemaking, hearing notices need only be forwarded to the directors of the New York Register, the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the Maryland Register and the Federal Register, and it is sufficient that this notice appear in the Federal Register at least 20 days prior to the hearing and in each individual state publication at least 10 days prior to any hearing scheduled in that state.

(d) Standard public hearing procedure.

(1) Hearings shall be open to the public. Participants may be any person, including a project sponsor, wishing to appear at the hearing and make an oral or written statement. Statements shall be made a part of the record of the hearing, and written statements may be received up to and including the last day on which the hearing is held, or within 10 days or a reasonable time thereafter as may be specified by the presiding officer.

(2) Participants are encouraged to file with the Commission at its headquarters written notice of their intention to appear at the hearing. The notice should be filed at least three days prior to the opening of the hearing.

(e) Representative capacity. Participants wishing to be heard at a public hearing may appear in person or be represented by an attorney or other representative. A governmental authority may be represented by one of its officers, employees or by a designee of the governmental authority.

(f) Description of project. When notice of a public hearing is issued, there shall be available for inspection, consistent with the Commission's Access to Records Policy, all plans, summaries, maps, statements, orders or other supporting documents which explain, detail, amplify, or otherwise describe the project the Commission is considering. Instructions on where and how the documents may be obtained will be included in the notice.

(g) Presiding officer. A public hearing shall be presided over by the Commission chair, the Executive Director, or any member or designee of the Commission or Executive Director. The presiding officer shall have full authority to control the conduct of the hearing and make a record of the same.

(h) Transcript. Whenever a project involving a diversion of water is the subject of a public hearing, and at all other times deemed necessary by the Commission or the Executive Director, a written transcript of the hearing shall be made. A certified copy of the transcript and exhibits shall be available for review during business hours at the Commission's headquarters to anyone wishing to examine them. Persons wishing to obtain a copy of the transcript of any hearing shall make arrangements to obtain it directly from the recording stenographer at their expense.

(i) Joint hearings. The Commission may conduct any public hearings in concert with any other agency of a member jurisdiction.

[82 FR 29395, June 29, 2017]

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