WHEREAS, the Environmental Appeals Board was created by §6007, Title 7, Delaware Code to hear the appeal of any person whose interest is substantially affected by any action of the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; and
WHEREAS, since its creation, the Environmental Appeals Board has proven to be a fair, reasonable, prudent and prompt source of administrative relief which, among other things, has provided recourse for Delaware citizens who could not otherwise afford to pursue remedies in court; and
WHEREAS, the Environmental Appeals Board has been granted broad jurisdiction to hear appeals of any action by the Secretary, including the adoption of regulations; and
WHEREAS, the adoption of regulations, which have the force and effect of law, substantially impacts and affects the interests of Delaware citizens; and
WHEREAS, the Environmental Appeals Board has for many years heard and ruled on appeals• of regulations adopted by the Secretary; and
WHEREAS, it has always been and continues to be the intent of the Delaware General Assembly to authorize the Environmental Appeals Board to provide the valuable function of hearing appeals of regulations adopted by the Secretary; and
WHEREAS, the Delaware Attorney General's Office, in a proceeding before the Environmental Appeals Board, recently challenged the Board's jurisdiction to hear appeals of regulations adopted by the Secretary; and
WHEREAS, the Environmental Appeals Board responded in the course of its ruling that it does possess such jurisdiction; and
WHEREAS, the Attorney General's Office more recently has petitioned the Superior Court for a Writ of Prohibition, thereby challenging once more the Environmental Appeals Board's jurisdiction to hear appeals of regulations adopted by the Secretary; and
WHEREAS, such petition may cause expensive and unjustifiable delays and uncertainties to Delaware citizens who are affected by the regulations; and
WHEREAS, the confirmation and clarification of the authority of the Environmental Appeals Board to act in this essential part of its legislative mandate is a matter of great importance to the citizens of this state;
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend §6008, Title 7, Delaware Code, by adding a new subsection (g) thereto, to read as follows:
"(g) In the appeal of any rule or regulation adopted by the Secretary, including any such appeal now pending before the Board, the Board shall conduct a public hearing at which the appellant and the Department may submit any relevant testimony, exhibits, and other documents.
Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon its adoption.