26.19.01.07

.07 Drilling and Operating Permit Application Review Procedures for the Department.

A. Following receipt of a permit application, the Department shall conduct a review for completeness and notify the applicant of any application deficiencies.

B. When the Department determines that all information is included and in proper form, it shall notify the applicant that the application is considered complete and provide for public involvement in the Department's review by the following means:

(1) The Department shall publish notice of the application once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the proposed permit activity would occur;

(2) The applicant shall pay all costs associated with publishing notice of the application;

(3) The published notice of the application shall provide an opportunity to request a public informational hearing on the application;

(4) Following publication of the notice of the application, a person interested in the pending application for a drilling and operating permit may request that the Department schedule a public informational hearing;

(5) If the Department receives a request for an informational hearing, a hearing shall be held within 45 calendar days, unless extenuating circumstances justify an extension of time;

(6) The Department shall publish notice of the public informational hearing once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the proposed permit activity would occur.

C. The Department's decision to grant or deny a drilling or operating permit may be issued not later than 30 calendar days after the close of the record for the public informational hearing.

D. The Department shall mail written notice of the decision to grant or deny the permit to:

(1) The applicant;

(2) Participants at a public informational hearing on the application;

(3) Persons who comment on the application; and

(4) All landowners, royalty owners, and owners of mineral, oil, and gas rights within 1,000 feet of the proposed well.

E. Upon written request received within 30 calendar days following notice of a permit decision, the Department shall hold a contested case hearing if the Department determines that:

(1) A hearing requestor has a specific right, duty, privilege, or interest which is or may be adversely affected by the permit decision;

(2) The requestor raises adjudicable issues which are within the scope of Environment Article, §§14-101—14-120, Annotated Code of Maryland; and

(3) The request is timely.

F. Upon written motion by a party to a contested case hearing, the Department may grant a temporary stay of activity under the permit pending a final decision in the contested case, provided that the:

(1) Parties to the proceeding have been notified and given an opportunity to be heard on a request for the temporary stay;

(2) Person requesting the temporary stay shows that there is a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the final determination of the contested case proceeding;

(3) Temporary stay does not adversely affect the public health or safety or cause significant imminent environmental harm to natural resources; and

(4) Conditions and criteria for granting a temporary stay exist as provided in COMAR 08.01.04.