(a) Unless otherwise agreed to by the Commission and the party requesting an administrative appeal under §808.2 of this part, the following procedures shall govern the conduct of hearing on an administrative appeal.
(b) Hearing procedure.
(1) The hearing officer shall have the power to rule upon offers of proof and the admissibility of evidence, to regulate the course of the hearing, to set the location or venue of the hearing, to hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of issues and the stipulation of facts, to determine the proper parties to the hearing, to determine the scope of any discovery procedures, to delineate the hearing issues to be adjudicated, and to take notice of judicially cognizable facts and general, technical, or scientific facts. The hearing officer may, with the consent of the parties, conduct all or part of the hearing or related proceedings by telephone conference call or other electronic means.
(2) The hearing officer shall cause each witness to be sworn or to make affirmation.
(3) Any party to a hearing shall have the right to present evidence, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, submit rebuttal evidence, and to present summation and argument.
(4) When necessary, in order to prevent undue prolongation of the hearing, the hearing officer may limit the number of times any witness may testify, the repetitious examination or cross-examination of witnesses, or the extent of corroborative or cumulative testimony.
(5) The hearing officer shall exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence, but the parties shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence, and all relevant evidence of reasonably probative value may be received provided it shall be founded upon competent, material evidence which is substantial in view of the entire record.
(6) Any party may appear and be heard in person or be represented by an attorney at law who shall file an appearance with the Commission.
(7) Briefs and oral argument may be required by the hearing officer and may be permitted upon request made prior to the close of the hearing by any party. They shall be part of the record unless otherwise ordered by the presiding officer.
(8) The hearing officer may, as he/she deems appropriate, issue subpoenas in the name of the Commission requiring the appearance of witnesses or the production of books, papers, and other documentary evidence for such hearings.
(9) A record of the proceedings and evidence at each hearing shall be made by a qualified stenographer designated by the Executive Director. Where demanded by the petitioner, or any other person who is a party to the appeal proceedings, or where deemed necessary by the Hearing Officer, the testimony shall be transcribed. In those instances where a transcript of proceedings is made, two copies shall be delivered to the Commission. The petitioner or other persons who desire copies shall obtain them from the stenographer at such price as may be agreed upon by the stenographer and the person desiring the transcript.
(c) Staff and other expert testimony. The Executive Director shall arrange for the presentation of testimony by the Commission's technical staff and other experts, as he/she may deem necessary or desirable, to be incorporated in the record to support the administrative action, determination or decision which is the subject of the hearing.
(d) Written testimony. If the direct testimony of an expert witness is expected to be lengthy or of a complex, technical nature, the presiding officer may order that such direct testimony be submitted to the Commission in sworn, written form. Copies of said testimony shall be served upon all parties appearing at the hearing at least 10 days prior to said hearing. Such written testimony, however, shall not be admitted whenever the witness is not present and available for cross-examination at the hearing unless all parties have waived the right of cross-examination.
(e) Assessment of costs.
(1) Whenever a hearing is conducted, the costs thereof, as herein defined, shall be assessed by the presiding officer to the petitioner or such other party as the hearing officer deems equitable. For the purposes of this section, costs include all incremental costs incurred by the Commission, including, but not limited to, hearing officer and expert consultants reasonably necessary in the matter, stenographic record, rental of the hall and other related expenses.
(2) Upon the scheduling of a matter for hearing, the hearing officer shall furnish to the petitioner a reasonable estimate of the costs to be incurred under this section. The project sponsor may be required to furnish security for such costs either by cash deposit or by a surety bond of a corporate surety authorized to do business in a member state.
(3) A party to an appeal under this section who desires to proceed in forma pauperis shall submit an affidavit to the Commission requesting the same and showing in detail the assets possessed by the party, and other information indicating the reasons why that party is unable to pay costs incurred under this section or to give security for such costs. The Commission may grant or refuse the request based upon the contents of the affidavit or other factors, such as whether it believes the appeal or intervention is taken in good faith.
(f) Findings and report. The hearing officer shall prepare a report of his/her findings and recommendations based on the record of the hearing. The report shall be served by personal service or certified mail (return receipt requested) upon each party to the hearing or its counsel. Any party may file objections to the report. Such objections shall be filed with the Commission and served on all parties within 20 days after the service of the report. A brief shall be filed together with objections. Any replies to the objections shall be filed and served on all parties within 10 days of service of the objections. Prior to its decision on such objections, the Commission may grant a request for oral argument upon such filing.
(g) Action by the Commission. The Commission will act upon the findings and recommendations of the presiding officer pursuant to law. The determination of the Commission will be in writing and shall be filed in Commission records together with any transcript of the hearing, report of the hearing officer, objections thereto, and all plans, maps, exhibits and other papers, records or documents relating to the hearing.