(1) Initial application for exemption may be in the form of a letter, and must be submitted to the board with copies sent to the department and the parties. The application must contain or be accompanied by information and data to show that:
(a) the emissions occurring or proposed to occur do not constitute a danger to public health or safety; and
(b) compliance with the rules from which exemption is sought would produce hardship without equal or greater benefits to the public.
(2) Upon filing of the application, public hearing thereon will be scheduled. No hearing will be held until the requirements of the Montana Environmental Policy Act have been fulfilled. Time for hearing will also take into consideration due notice requirements set forth herein.
(3) Notice of hearing is to be served upon the applicant and the general public not later than 30 days prior to the hearing. Notice of hearing is also to be given to the local air pollution control officer having jurisdiction, to all known interested persons and to any person or group upon request.
(a) Notice may be served upon applicant by mail.
(b) Notice is to be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation published in the geographical area wherein the plant or equipment of applicant is located.
(c) The contents of the public notice shall include at least the following:
(i) name and address of the applicant;
(ii) time, location and nature of the hearing;
(iii) brief description of applicant's activities, matters asserted, or operations which result in the emissions described in the application;
(iv) a brief description of the purpose of the hearing, including a reference to the particular statute and rules involved;
(v) address and phone number of the premises at which interested persons may obtain further information, inspect, copy or obtain a copy of the application;
(vi) the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held.
(4) Hearings held pursuant to this subchapter are for the purpose of determining whether the application for exemption should be granted. In making its determination, the board shall resolve issues raised by parties, and shall consider comments submitted by the general public.
(a) Members of the general public may submit comments concerning the application for exemption. Comments must be submitted in writing to the board within 20 days after date of publication of public notice pursuant to (3) of this rule. If written comments are timely filed, a commenter may orally present those comments to the board at the hearing.
(b) Any person may submit a request to be a party within 20 days after date of publication of public notice pursuant to (3) of this rule. Requests to be a party under this section shall be directed to the board and shall state:
(i) name and address of the person making the request;
(ii) identify the interest of the requester and any person or group requester represents;
(iii) include an agreement by requester and any person represented by requester to be subject to examination and cross-examination, and in case of a corporation, to make an employee available for examination and cross-examination at his own expense upon request of the presiding officer, on his own motion or by motion of any party;
(iv) any request to be made a party shall state the position of the requester on the issues to be considered at the hearing.
(c) Except as provided in (4) (d) , conduct of the hearing must be in accordance with "contested case" procedures of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act (MAPA) and the model rules of the Attorney General promulgated in pursuance thereto.
(d) MAPA contested case procedures do not apply to that portion of the hearing conducted for the purpose of receiving comments from the general public. The board may use such public comment procedures as it finds are appropriate under the circumstances of a particular case.