Intervening in Siting Cases FAQs

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What is Intervention?

A process by which members of the public, as individuals or as groups, may formally participate in a power plant licensing or siting case by becoming a party to the proceedings of that case.

What law governs this process?

The Energy Commission is governed by the Warren-Alquist Act (Public Resources Code Section 25000 et seq.) and California Code of Regulations (Title 20). Both references are available to you on the Energy Commission Web Site. An updated version of the regulations can be found at www.calregs.com.

What is the distinction between comments and testimony?

While any member of the public may comment at formal hearings, only parties can testify. Comments may only be used to influence a decision and cannot, on their own, be used to support a decision. Testimony though, because it is given under oath and subject to cross examination, has greater weight, and can be used to support a finding on any relevant issue.

What Rights do intervenors have in a formal siting proceeding?

  • Receive all filings in a case including the original application
  • Receive all notices of hearings and workshops
  • Present evidence and witnesses at any hearings
  • Cross-examine the witnesses presented by other parties
  • Request and obtain data from all other parties
  • File documents relevant to the siting proceedings including motions, petitions, objections, and briefs

What Responsibilities do intervenors have in a formal siting proceeding?

  • Serving the intervenor's papers on all other parties
  • Presenting the intervenor's witnesses for cross-examination by other parties
  • Responding to data requests from other parties as outlined in Energy Commission regulations
  • Complying with the assigned committee's orders. Such orders typically require:
    • Identifying witnesses and witness qualifications
    • Identifying issues requiring a decision by the Energy Commission
    • Serving testimony and exhibits by due dates established in the order
    • Filing and serving post-hearing briefs when necessary to protect the intervenor's interests in a case
    • Complying with all other requirements of a party

What is involved in the process to become an intervenor?

The intervention process begins when an individual or group submits a formal request to the Energy Commission. There is no "right" to become an intervenor. The regulations state that a party wishing to become an intervenor must demonstrate that allowing such a request is reasonable and relevant.

Once the Petition is accepted as complete, the request is considered by a two member committee who may grant the request if appropriate grounds are stated in the request. Appropriate grounds would include living within close proximity of the proposed project.

For more information on filing a Petition to Intervene see the resources available on the webpage Intervening in Siting Cases.

How are a Declaration of Service and a Proof of Service used?

A Declaration of Service is a sworn statement attesting that a document was properly served (delivered) to the appropriate parties. The signed original declaration must accompany the original paper filed with the Docket Unit of the Energy Commission and list the parties served.

Each siting case has a distinct Proof of Service list, which is kept current throughout the siting process. This list is used to identify and serve the “parties” to a siting case. When submitting the Petition to Intervene or any subsequent material as a formal party to the proceeding, the submission packet must include a signed Declaration of Service and a current Proof of Service list indicating those parties served.

When must the Petition to Intervene be filed with the Energy Commission?

The Petition to Intervene must be submitted to the Commission between the date a project is found data adequate and no later than the Prehearing Conference or thirty days prior to the project’s first evidentiary hearing of evidence before the Committee, whichever is earlier, unless a deadline has been specifically established. (Cal. Code Regs., Tit. 20 § 1207).

Petitions for intervention are not usually accepted until the committee is appointed and data adequacy phase is complete (usually forty-five days after an application is first filed). If the petition is filed after the first evidentiary hearing has been held, the petitioner must additionally make a showing of good cause. In any event, it is important to intervene as soon as possible as any issues resolved prior to intervention will not be reopened unless the intervenor can show good cause in a motion to the presiding committee member (typically changed factual circumstance, unacceptable prejudice, or critical new evidence).

The petition along with proof of service should be sent to the Energy Commission Docket Unit at:

California Energy Commission
Docket Unit
1516 Ninth Street, MS 4
Sacramento, CA 95814

What happens if an individual's Petition to Intervene is denied by the two member committee?

The petitioner may appeal a denial to the full five member committee, but must do so within fifteen days of denial or that denial becomes final.

What does it cost to intervene in Energy Commission Proceedings?

The intervenor is responsible for all intervention related costs. The costs of intervention vary significantly, depending primarily upon the following factors: (1) the number of workshops and hearings held; (2) the method of representation, such as self-representation or representation by an attorney; (3) the costs for time spent on intervention-related activities, and (4) the number and scope of various filings in the case.

The Commission does not charge for processing the petitions to intervene. Also, it does not reimburse intervenors for any intervention-related costs. Therefore, we have no information regarding these costs except to state that they may vary significantly for the reasons mentioned above.

Can an intervenor ever withdraw from participation in the siting proceeding?

At any time during the proceeding, an intervenor or party may request to withdraw from further participation by filing a Request to Withdraw.

NOTICE: Distributed by the Public Adviser's Office. This is for informational purposes only. It is designed to assist you in understanding the process. It is, therefore, general in nature and does not discuss all exceptions and variations.