(a) The Department and the Lead Agency are parties to the hearing without making a specific request to participate.
(1) Other individuals or groups may be recognized as parties, if the issues to be considered at the hearing have directly caused them injury and their interest is immediately within the zone of interests to be protected by the governing Federal statute and regulations.
(2) Any individual or group wishing to participate as a party shall file a petition with the presiding officer within 15 days after notice of the hearing has been published in the Federal Register and shall serve a copy on each party of record at that time, in accordance with §99.5(b). Such petition shall concisely state:
(i) Petitioner's interest in the proceeding;
(ii) Who will appear for petitioner;
(iii) The issues on which petitioner wishes to participate; and
(iv) Whether petitioner intends to present witnesses.
(3) Any party may, within 5 days of receipt of such petition, file comments on it.
(4) The presiding officer shall promptly determine whether each petitioner has the requisite interest in the proceedings and shall permit or deny participation accordingly. Where petitions to participate as parties are made by individuals or groups with common interests, at the presiding officer's discretion, the presiding officer may request that all such petitioners designate a single representative or may recognize one or more of such petitioners to represent all such petitioners. The presiding officer shall give each petitioner written notice of the decision on the petition, and if the petition is denied, the presiding officer shall briefly state the grounds for denial. If the petition is denied, the presiding officer may recognize the petitioner as an amicus curiae.
(1) Any interested person or organization wishing to participate as an amicus curiae shall file a petition with the presiding officer before the commencement of the hearing. Such petition shall concisely state:
(i) The petitioner's interest in the hearing;
(ii) Who will represent the petitioner; and
(iii) The issues on which petitioner intends to present argument.
An amicus curiae is not a party but may participate as provided in this paragraph.
(2) The presiding officer may grant the petition upon finding that the petitioner has a legitimate interest in the proceedings, that such participation will not unduly delay the outcome, and it may contribute materially to the proper disposition of the issues.
(3) An amicus curiae may present a brief oral statement at the hearing, at the point in the proceedings specified by the presiding officer. The amicus curiae may submit a written statement of position to the presiding officer prior to the beginning of a hearing and shall serve a copy on each party. The amicus curiae may also submit a brief or written statement at such time as the parties submit briefs and shall serve a copy on each party.