Title 40

SECTION 147.2929

147.2929 Administrative permitting procedures.

§ 147.2929 Administrative permitting procedures.

(a) Completeness review. (1) The Regional Administrator shall review each permit application for completeness with the application requirements in § 147.2918. The review will be completed in 10 days, and the Regional Administrator shall notify the applicant whether or not the application is complete.

(2) If the application is incomplete, the Regional Administrator shall:

(i) List the additional information needed;

(ii) Specify a date by which the information must be submitted; and

(iii) Notify the applicant when the application is complete.

(3) After an application is determined complete, the Regional Administrator may request additional information to clarify previously submitted information. The application will still be considered complete.

(4) If an applicant fails or refuses to correct deficiencies in the application, the permit may be denied and appropriate enforcement actions taken.

(b) Draft permits. (1) After an application is deemed complete, the Regional Administrator shall either prepare a draft permit or notice of intent to deny the permit (which is a type of draft permit). If the Regional Administrator later decides the tentative decision to deny was wrong, he shall withdraw the notice of intent to deny and prepare a draft permit.

(2) A draft permit shall contain at least the following information:

(i) The standard permit conditions in § 147.2925;

(ii) Any monitoring and reporting requirements;

(iii) The construction and operation requirements; and

(iv) Plugging and abandonment requirements.

(c) Statement of basis. (1) The Regional Administrator shall prepare a statement of basis for every draft permit.

(2) The statement of basis shall briefly describe the draft permit conditions and the reasons for them. In the case of a notice of intent to deny or terminate, the statement of basis shall give reasons to support the tentative decision.

(3) The statement of basis shall be sent to the applicant, and to any other person who requests a copy.

(d) Public notice. (1)(i) The Regional Administrator shall give public notice when:

(A) A permit application has been tentatively denied;

(B) A draft permit has been prepared;

(C) A hearing has been scheduled; or

(D) An appeal has been granted.

(ii) The applicant shall give public notice that he is submitting a permit application.

(iii) Public notice is not required when a request for permit modification or termination is denied. However, written notice will be given to the permittee and the requester.

(iv) Public notices may include more than one permit or action.

(2)(i) Public notice of a draft permit (including notice of intent to deny) shall allow at least 15 days for public comment.

(ii) Public notice of a hearing shall be given at least 30 days before the hearing.

(3)(i) Public notice given by the Regional Administrator for the reasons listed in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section shall be mailed to the applicant, and published in a daily or weekly paper of general circulation in the affected area.

(ii) Notice of application submission required by paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section shall be given to the surface landowner, tenants on the land where an injection well is located or is proposed to be located, and to each operator of a producing lease within one-half mile of the well location prior to submitting the application to the Regional Administrator.

(4) The notice of application submission in paragraphs (d)(1)(ii) and (d)(3)(ii) of this section shall contain:

(i) The applicant's name and address;

(ii) The legal location of the injection well;

(iii) Nature of activity;

(iv) A statement that EPA will be preparing a draft permit and that there will be an opportunity for public comment; and

(v) The name and phone number of EPA contact person.

(5) All other notices shall contain:

(i) The name, address, and phone number of the Osage UIC office and contact person for additional information and copies of the draft permit;

(ii) Name and address of permit applicant or permittee;

(iii) Brief description of nature of activity;

(iv) Brief description of comment period and comment procedures;

(v) Location of the information available for public review; and

(vi) In the case of a notice for a hearing the notice shall also include:

(A) Date, time, and location of hearing;

(B) Reference to date of previous notices of the same permit; and

(C) Brief description of the purpose of the hearing, including rules and procedures.

(e) Public comments. (1) During the public comment period, any person may submit written comments on the draft permit, and may request a public hearing. A request for hearing shall be in writing and state the issues proposed to be raised in the hearing.

(2) The Regional Administrator shall consider all comments when making the final decision, and shall respond to comments after the decision is made. The response shall:

(i) Specify if any changes were made from the draft permit to the final permit decision, and why;

(ii) Briefly describe and respond to all significant comments on the draft permit made during the comment period, or hearing, if held; and

(iii) Be made available to the public.

(f) Public hearings. (1) The Regional Administrator shall hold a public hearing whenever he finds a significant amount of public interest in a draft permit, based on the requests submitted, or at his discretion.

(2) Any person may submit oral or written statements and data concerning the draft permit. The public comment period shall be automatically extended to the close of any public hearing held, or may be extended by the hearing officer at the hearing.

(3) A tape recording or written transcript of the hearing shall be made available to the public.

(g) Reopening of the comment period. (1) If any of the information submitted during the public comment period raises substantial new questions about a permit, the Regional Administrator may:

(i) Prepare a new draft permit;

(ii) Prepare a revised statement of basis; or

(iii) Reopen the comment period.

(2) Comments submitted during a reopened comment period shall be limited to the substantial new questions that caused its reopening.

(3) Public notice about any of the above actions shall be given and shall define the scope of the new questions raised.

(h) Issuance and effective date of a permit. (1) After the close of the comment period on a draft permit, the Regional Administrator shall make a final permit decision. The Regional Administrator shall notify the applicant and each person who commented or requested to receive notice. The notice shall include reference to the procedures for appealing a permit decision.

(2) A final permit decision shall become effective 30 days after giving notice of the decision unless:

(i) A later date is specified in the notice;

(ii) Review is requested under § 147.2929(j); or

(iii) No comments requested a change in the draft permit, in which case the permit is effective immediately upon issuance.

(i) Stays of contested permit conditions. If a request for review of a final UIC permit § 147.2929(j) is granted, the effect of the contested permit conditions shall be stayed and shall not be subject to judicial review pending final agency action. If the permit involves a new injection well or project, the applicant shall be without a permit for the proposed well pending final agency action. Uncontested provisions which are not severable from those contested provisions shall be stayed with the contested provisions.

(j) Appeal of permits. (1) Any person who filed comments on the draft permit or participated in the public hearing may petition the Administrator to review any condition of the permit decision. Any person who failed to file comments or participate in the hearing may petition for administrative review only to the extent of the changes from the preliminary permit to the final permit decision.

(2) A person may request review of a final permit decision within 30 days after a final permit decision has been issued. The 30-day period within which a person may request review begins with the service of notice of the Regional Administrator's final permit decision unless a later date is specified in that notice.

(3) The petition requesting review shall include:

(i) A demonstration that the petition is eligible under the requirements of paragraph (j)(1) of this section; and, when appropriate,

(ii) A showing that the condition in question is based on:

(A) A finding of fact or conclusion of law that is clearly erroneous; or

(B) An exercise of discretion or important policy consideration which the Administrator, in his discretion, should review.

(4) The Administrator may also decide, on his initiative, to review any condition of any UIC permit issued under these requirements. The Administrator must act under this paragraph within 30 days of the date notice was given of the Regional Administrator's action.

(5) Within a reasonable time following the filing of the petition for review, the Administrator shall issue an order either granting or denying the request. To the extent that review is denied, the conditions of the final permit decision become final agency action.

(6) Public notice shall be given by the Regional Administrator of any grant of a review petition by the Administrator. Notice shall be sent to the applicant, the person requesting the review, appropriate persons on the Osage County mailing list and to newspapers of general circulation in the county. Included in the notice shall be a briefing schedule for the appeal and a statement that any interested person may file an amicus brief. Notice of denial of the review petition will be sent only to the person(s) requesting the review.

(7) A petition to the Administrator, under paragraphs (j) (1) and (2) of this section is a prerequisite to the seeking of judicial review of the final agency action. For purposes of judicial review, final agency action occurs when a final UIC permit is issued or denied by the Regional Administrator and agency review procedures are exhausted. A final permit decision shall be issued by the Regional Administrator:

(i) When the Administrator issues notice to the parties involved that review has been denied;

(ii) When the Administrator issues a decision on the merits of the appeal and the decision does not include a remand of the proceedings; or

(iii) Upon the completion of the remand proceedings if the proceedings are remanded, unless the Administrator's remand order specifically provides that the appeal of the remand decision will be required to exhaust the administrative remedies.