This bill has now passed the House and Senate and been signed into law by the Governor.
February 7, 2012: The bill was passed by the House and the Senate with amendments.
February 16, 2012: Signed by the Governor.
Among other provisions, this new law broadens the opportunity for public participation in environmental enforcement by requiring the Agency of Natural Resources or the Natural Resources Board to post a draft copy of an administrative order, assurance of discontinuance, or civil complaint for public notice and written comment for 30 days prior to its issuance. ANR or the Board must post the final proposed action for public notice for 14 days as well. An aggrieved person who commented during the 30-day comment period may request permission from the environmental court to intervene if they are not satisfied with the final action of ANR or the Board. If the court allows a person to intervene, it shall be for the sole purpose of establishing that the terms of an administrative order, emergency administrative order, assurance of discontinuance, or civil complaint are insufficient to carry out the purposes of Title 10 Chapter 201: Administrative Environmental Law Enforcement. When ANR issues an emergency administrative order, the draft public notice and comment provisions don’t apply. ANR must post the emergency administrative order concurrent with filing it with the court, and a person has 14 days to request permission from the court to intervene. A motion to intervene does not stay an emergency administrative order. The new law also requires ANR to investigate all citizen complaints of a violation of a federally authorized or delegated program and respond to known complainants in writing.