[1999 OEA 40, page 40 begins]
OFFICIAL SHORT CITATION NAME: When referring to 1999 OEA 40, cite this case as
Fall Creek Regional Waste District, 1999 OEA 40.
Motions for Reconsideration of Denial of Review
water pollution treatment/control facility
environmental review process
grant of a license for the construction, installation, or modification of sewers and appurtenances
good faith efforts to identify and notify potentially affected
environmental defect or deficiency
Objectors: Robert G. Forbes, Esq.
James Steven Doty, pro se
Donald and Cynthia White, pro se
Respondent: Kathleen G. Lucas, Esq.; L. Parvin Price, Esq.
Bose McKinney & Evans LLP
IDEM: Margaret L. Felton, Esq.
August 9, 1999
FURTHER CASE ACTIVITY:
[1999 OEA 40, page 41 begins]
STATE OF INDIANA ) BEFORE THE INDIANA OFFICE OF
) ENVIRONMENTAL ADJUDICATION
COUNTY OF MARION )
IN THE MATTER OF: )
OBJECTION TO THE ISSUANCE )
OF PERMIT APPROVAL )
FALL CREEK REGIONAL ) CAUSE NO. 99-W-J-2204
WASTE DISTRICT )
PENDLETON, INDIANA )
FINDINGS OF FACT. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND FINAL ORDER
On July 15, 1999, a preliminary hearing was held on Motions for Reconsideration of Denial of Review (“the Motions”), filed by James Steven Doty and Clarence G. and Katie Hupfer (collectively, “the Objectors”). At the hearing, Objector James Steven Doty was present, representing himself. Objector Clarence G. Hupfer was present in person and by counsel, Robert G. Forbes, Esq. Donald and Cynthia White (“the Whites”) were present in person, representing themselves, and were allowed to participate as parties for the limited purpose of argument on the Motions and any appeal of this Final Order. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”) was represented by Margaret L. Felton, Esq. Respondent Fall Creek Regional Waste District was represented by counsel, Kathleen G. Lucas and L. Parvin Price of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP.
The Chief Administrative Law Judge considered the evidence and arguments and hereby finds as follows:
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. On January 20, 1999, Approval No. L-0057 (the “Approval”) was issued to Fall Creek Regional Waste District by IDEM for the construction and operation of a water pollution treatment/control facility, in accordance with the provisions of IC 13-15 and 327 IAC 3.
2. Eleven letters or petitions for administrative review (the “Objections”) were filed with the Office of Environmental Adjudication (“OEA”) objecting to the issuance of the Approval.
3. On February 16, 1999, and again on March 4, 1999, Chief Administrative Law Judge Wayne F. Penrod issued Orders Denying Review, stating that all the communications received had been reviewed and found not to be in compliance with IC 4-21.5-3-7(a), in that they failed to allege environmental concerns or technical deficiencies in the application review process from which the OEA would have jurisdiction to grant relief.
[1999 OEA 40, page 42 begins]
4. On March 3, 1999, and March 4, 1999, respectively, Objectors James Steven Doty and Clarence G. Hupfer filed Motions for Reconsideration of the Denial of Review.
5. Pursuant to notice to all parties, the hearing was held on July 15, 1999, on the Motions for Reconsideration.
6. The Objectors and the Whites argued that proper notice had not been given to them regarding public hearings related to the proposed project and regarding Approval No. L-0057.
7. Respondent, Fall Creek Regional Waste District, by Mr. Thomas Schubert, and by counsel, submitted Exhibits A through D, as follows:
Respondent’s Exhibit A: IDEM Approval dated January 20, 1999, with list of approximately 700 residents to whom notice of the Approval was sent.
Respondent’s Exhibit B: IDEM mailing dated February 25, 1999, showing 126 additional names of residents who received a supplemental mailing in the event they did not receive the January 20, 1999 approval.
Respondent’s Exhibit C: Affidavit of Rebecca McMonigle, IDEM secretary, verifying service of Approval notifications.
Respondent’s Exhibit D: Newspaper notices of public meetings regarding the project, and funding therefor, that is the subject of the present case.
8. Objector James Steven Doty submitted Doty Exhibit 1, consisting of a Sequence of Events and Questions, a copy of two pages of the January 20, 1999 Approval, pleadings and Order from the file, and maps sent to him by an IDEM employee.
9. The Whites submitted White Exhibit 1, consisting of Questionnaires regarding notifications and cost of the project that is the subject of Approval No. L-0057.
10. The Objectors and the Whites all testified that they received IDEM Approval No. L-0057, either from the agency or from another person, at least by April or May of 1999.
11. Because Approval No. L-0057 is a grant of a license for the construction, installation, or modification of sewers and appurtenances, it is subject to the limited notice requirements of IC 4-21.5-3-4.
[1999 OEA 40, page 43 begins]
12. Nonetheless, counsel for IDEM stated, and Respondent Fall Creek Regional Waste District proved, that IDEM made a good faith effort to identify and notify potentially affected persons, as required by IC 4-21.5-3-5(f).
13. No unnotified person argued or proved “substantial prejudice” by any lack of notice, as required to overcome IDEM’s good faith efforts to identify and notify potentially affected persons under IC 4-21.5-3-5(f).
14. The appearance by the Objectors and the Whites in these proceedings cures any alleged notice issues.
15. Neither the Objectors nor the Whites raised issues regarding environmental concerns or technical deficiencies in the application review process, as required by IC 4-21.5-3- 7(a).
16. The Objectors and the Whites deprived the OEA of subject matter jurisdiction over the objections because the Objections did not state facts demonstrating that they were aggrieved or adversely affected by the Order as required by IC 4-21.5-3-7 and 315 IAC 1 and because their claims were not based upon any environmental defect or deficiency in the Fall Creek Regional Waste District application, or any defect or deficiency in the IDEM review or approval process.
18. As has been held in previous OEA decisions, such Objections therefore state no claim upon which relief may be granted by the OEA.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The Office of Environmental Adjudication has jurisdiction over decisions of the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the parties to this controversy, pursuant to IC 4-21.5-7.
2. This is a Final Order issued pursuant to IC 4-21.5-3-27. Findings of Fact that may be construed as Conclusions of Law and Conclusions of Law that may be construed as Findings of Fact are so deemed.
3. The Objections did not state facts demonstrating that the Objectors and the Whites are aggrieved or adversely affected by the Order , as required by IC 4-21.5-3-7 and 315 LAC 1-3- 2, nor do they demonstrate any environmental concerns or technical deficiency in the agency review process.
4. The objections state a set of facts which, even if true, would not support the relief requested.
5. The Objectors and the Whites have failed to establish jurisdiction and state a claim upon which relief may be granted by the Office of Environmental Adjudication.
[1999 OEA 40, page 44 begins]
The Motions for Reconsideration of the Denial of Review are hereby DENIED, and therefore Approval No. L-0057 is hereby UPHELD.
You are further notified that pursuant to IC 4-21.5-7-5 the Office of Environmental Adjudication serves as the Ultimate Authority in administrative review of decisions of the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Therefore, this is a Final Order subject to judicial review. Consistent with the applicable provisions of IC 4-21.5-5, a Petition for Judicial Review of this Final Order is timely only if it is filed with a civil court of competent jurisdiction within thirty (30) days after the date this notice is served.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 9th day of August 1999.
Wayne E. Penrod,
Chief Administrative Law Judge
[1999 OEA 40: end of decision]