Intervening in Siting Cases
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There are two very distinct ways for interested parties to be involved in Commission siting cases. In general, they are referred to as informal participation and formal or intervenor participation. Any person or group may file to intervene in any siting case. In order to determine if your goals and concerns are best met as an intervenor, it is best to understand both types of participation. It is important that agencies and interested parties consider these different approaches when determining which avenue best meets their needs.
As an informal participant, interested parties can attend all meetings, workshops and hearings to learn about the topic, and provide oral and/or written comments on topics and issues of interest or concern. These comments are considered by the Commission and are part of the record; however, they do not have the weight of formal evidence and, thus, are not sufficient to support a Commission decision.
Through formal participation an intervenor becomes a party to the proceedings with the same rights, responsibilities and obligations as all other parties, such as the applicant and Energy Commission staff. In the early stages of the siting process, there is not a lot of difference between informal and formal participation. However, when the case reaches the point when formal evidence is presented to the Commission Siting Committee, the difference is more apparent. Most notably, intervenors can testify at formal hearings, presenting evidence and witnesses. Such testimony is given under oath and is afforded more weight when the Committee is weighing the facts and deciding conflicts in evidence, thus this testimony can be used to support a Commission decision. Further, intervenors may present witnesses and cross-examine witnesses from all other parties to strengthen their position. There are additional benefits and responsibilities associated with becoming an intervenor. These can be found on the energy commission website at www.energy.ca.gov/public_adviser.
There is a process to becoming an intervenor. An Application to Intervene can be found on the website and 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 formal hearing of evidence before the Committee. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 20 § 1207.) It is not necessary that you be an attorney or have one representing you in order to intervene. The Public Adviser's Office may assist you, although they cannot represent you. The Commission must approve the request to intervene.
Public Adviser's Office
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