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The simplest way to make your views known about a proposed project is to speak at the public comment hearing. You may also submit comments to the Presiding Officer. If you wish to be more involved, you may petition to be admitted to the proceeding either as an "intervenor" or a "limited participant."
Unless otherwise directed, you must file a petition to intervene as a party or participate as a limited participant with the Presiding Officer no later than 14 calendar days after the public comment hearing is held for the project.
All participants are strongly encouraged to give thoughtful consideration to the method of participation they pursue. You are urged to consult an attorney to best evaluate your legal rights in a proceeding.
Persons seeking to intervene as a party or participate as a limited participant should consult the regulations governing intervention and participation in DPU (220 CMR 1.03) and EFSB (980 CMR 1.05) proceedings; see also G.L. c. 30A, § 10. A person seeking intervenor party or limited participant status must file a petition with the Presiding Officer assigned to the case. In order to intervene as a party, a petitioner must demonstrate that he or she is, or may be, "substantially and specifically affected" by the proceeding. The issues raised in the petition to intervene must be specific to the potential intervenor and must fall within the scope of the DPU or EFSB's purview. Persons or groups seeking to participate as a limited participant need not demonstrate "substantial and specific" interest. The Presiding Officer reviews all petitions to intervene as a party or participate as a limited participant and makes a ruling on each petition.
An Intervenor may:
A Limited Participant may:
Does Intervening Take a lot of Time?
It can, depending on how extensively you want to become involved in the proceeding. To intervene effectively, you should be willing to read the documents in the case that relate to the issues that are of interest to you, and to write a brief. You may also wish to submit written discovery questions or question witnesses orally at the evidentiary hearings. These activities can take as much or as little time as you let them.
Presenting a "direct case," or sponsoring evidence, takes additional time. You, or an expert witness, must develop testimony, respond to all questions submitted during discovery, and be available for questioning at one or more days of evidentiary hearings held in Boston.
Whether you put on a direct case, submit discovery questions, or just write a brief, you will be expected to adhere to the deadlines set by the Presiding Officer.
Do I Need to Have a Lawyer to Intervene?
An intervenor, unless acting pro se (appearing on one's own behalf in a legal proceeding), to be represented by an attorney. A waiver of this requirement may be granted by the Presiding Officer under certain circumstances. (An example is when individuals intervene as a group under G.L. c. 30A, § 10). Limited participants are not required to have an attorney.
All persons involved in a proceeding must abide by the same legal ground rules, whether or not they have an attorney. The Presiding Officer can explain these ground rules; however, he or she cannot give legal advice to anyone involved in a proceeding.
Is Intervention in an EFSB/DPU Siting Proceeding Expensive?
Presenting a direct case in a proceeding can be expensive, since most types of evidence must be presented by an expert witness. Less expensive ways to raise important issues include asking discovery questions, questioning witnesses, and submitting a brief.