(1) Whenever a public hearing is held on an EIS or
an EA, the agency shall issue a news release legal notice to newspapers of
general circulation in the area to be affected by the proposed action prior to
the hearing. The news release or legal notice must advise the public of the
nature of testimony the agency wishes to receive at the hearing. The hearing
must be held after the draft EIS has been circulated and prior to preparation
of the final EIS. A hearing involving an action for which an EA was prepared
must be held after the EA has been circulated and prior to any final agency
determinations concerning the proposed action. In cases involving an applicant,
the agency shall allow an applicant a reasonable time to respond in writing to
comments made at a public hearing, notwithstanding the time limits contained in
ARM 36.2.532. The applicant may waive his right to respond to comments made at
addition to the procedure in (1) above, the agency shall take such other steps
as are reasonable and appropriate to promote the awareness by interested
parties of a scheduled hearing.
agency shall hold a public hearing whenever requested within 20 days of
issuance of the draft EIS by either:
or 25, whichever is less, of the persons who will be directly affected by the
another agency which has jurisdiction over the action;
(c) an association having not less than 25 members who will be directly affected by
the proposed action: or
(d) the applicant, if any.
(4) In determining whether a sufficient number of persons have requested a hearing as
required by subsection (3) , the agency shall resolve instances of doubt in
favor of holding a public hearing.
(5) No person may give testimony at the hearing as a representative of a participating
agency. Such a representative may, however, at the discretion of the hearing
officer, give a statement regarding his or her agency's authority or procedures
and answer questions from the public.
(6) Public meetings may be held in lieu of formal hearings as a means of soliciting
public comment on an EIS where no hearing is requested under (3) above.
However, the agency shall provide adequate advance notice of the meeting; and,
other than the degree of formality surrounding the proceedings, the objectives
of such a meeting are essentially the same as those for a hearing.