1Amending Titles 27 (Environmental Resources) and 42 (Judiciary
2and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
3Statutes, in costs and fees, further providing for
4participation in environmental law or regulation; repealing
5provisions relating to participation in environmental law or
6regulation; and, in particular rights and immunities,
7providing for participation in law or regulation related to
8an issue in the public interest.

9The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
10hereby enacts as follows:

11Section 1. Section 7707 of Title 27 of the Pennsylvania
12Consolidated Statutes is repealed:

13[§ 7707. Participation in environmental law or regulation.

14A person that successfully defends against an action under
15Chapter 83 (relating to participation in environmental law or
16regulation) shall be awarded reasonable attorney fees and the
17costs of litigation. If the person prevails in part, the court
18may make a full award or a proportionate award.]

19Section 2. Chapter 83 of Title 27 is repealed:



1§ 8301. Definitions.

2The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
3shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
4context clearly indicates otherwise:

5"Communication to the government." A written or oral
6statement or writing made:

7(1) before a legislative, executive or judicial
8proceeding or any other official proceeding authorized by

10(2) in connection with an issue under consideration or
11review by a legislative, executive or judicial body or any
12other official proceeding authorized by law; or

13(3) to a government agency in connection with the
14implementation and enforcement of environmental law and

16"Enforcement of environmental law and regulation." Activity
17relating to the identification and elimination of violations of
18environmental laws and regulations, including investigations of
19alleged violations, inspections of activities subject to
20regulation under environmental law and regulations and responses
21taken to produce correction of the violations.

22"Government agency." The Federal Government, the
23Commonwealth and any of the Commonwealth's departments,
24commissions, boards, agencies, authorities, political
25subdivisions or their departments, commissions, boards, agencies
26or authorities.

27"Implementation of environmental law and regulation."
28Activity relating to the development and administration of
29environmental programs developed under environmental law and

1§ 8302. Immunity.

2(a) General rule.--Except as provided in subsection (b), a
3person that, pursuant to Federal or State law, files an action
4in the courts of this Commonwealth to enforce an environmental
5law or regulation or that makes an oral or written communication
6to a government agency relating to enforcement or implementation
7of an environmental law or regulation shall be immune from civil
8liability in any resulting legal proceeding for damages where
9the action or communication is aimed at procuring favorable
10governmental action.

11(b) Exceptions.--A person shall not be immune under this
12section if the allegation in the action or any communication to
13the government is not relevant or material to the enforcement or
14implementation of an environmental law or regulation and:

15(1) the allegation in the action or communication is
16knowingly false, deliberately misleading or made with
17malicious and reckless disregard for the truth or falsity;

18(2) the allegation in the action or communication is
19made for the sole purpose of interfering with existing or
20proposed business relationships; or

21(3) the oral or written communication to a government
22agency relating to enforcement or implementation of an
23environmental law or regulation is later determined to be a
24wrongful use of process or an abuse of process.

25§ 8303. Right to a hearing.

26A person who wishes to raise the defense of immunity from
27civil liability under this chapter may file a motion with the
28court requesting the court to conduct a hearing to determine the
29preliminary issue of immunity. If a motion is filed, the court
30shall then conduct a hearing and if the motion is denied, the

1moving party shall have an interlocutory appeal of right to the
2Commonwealth Court, during which time all discovery shall be

4§ 8304. Intervention.

5A government agency has the right to petition to intervene or
6otherwise participate as an amicus curiae in the action
7involving public petition and participation.

8§ 8305. Construction.

9Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit any
10constitutional, statutory or common law protections of
11defendants to actions involving public petition and

13Section 3. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:

14§ 8340.3.  Participation in law or regulation related to an
15issue in the public interest.

16(a)  Immunity.--

17(1)  A person who:

18(i) acts in furtherance of the right of advocacy on
19issues of public interest in connection with enforcement
20or implementation of government action related to an
21issue of public interest; or

22(ii) makes a communication genuinely aimed at
23procuring a favorable governmental action shall be immune
24from civil liability.

25(2)  A communication is not genuinely aimed at procuring
26a favorable governmental action if it:

27(i)  is not material or relevant to the enforcement
28or implementation of government action related to an
29issue in the public interest;

30(ii)  was knowingly false when made;

1(iii)  was rendered with reckless disregard as to the
2truth or falsity of the statement when made; or

3(iv)  represented a wrongful use of process or abuse
4of process.

5(b)  Stay of proceedings.--The court shall stay all
6proceedings in the action upon the filing of preliminary
7objections for legal insufficiency of a pleading or other
8appropriate motion on the basis of immunity provided by this
9section. However, the court, on motion and after a hearing and
10for good cause shown, may order that specified discovery be
11conducted. The stay of proceedings shall remain in effect until
12notice of the entry of the order ruling on the preliminary
13objections or on another appropriate motion.

14(c)  Expedited hearing.--The court shall conduct an expedited
15hearing on the filing of any motion or preliminary objections
16based on immunity provided under this section.

17(d)  Admissibility of court determination.--If the court
18determines that the plaintiff has established that there is a
19substantial likelihood that the plaintiff will prevail on the
20claim, neither that determination nor the fact of that
21determination shall be admissible in evidence at any later stage
22of the case, and no burden of proof or degree of proof otherwise
23applicable shall be affected by that determination.

24(e)  Intervention.--The government agency involved in
25furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public
26interest in connection with an issue of public interest may
27intervene or participate as an amicus curiae as provided by
28general rule.

29(f)  Legal protections of defendants.--Nothing in this
30section shall be construed to limit any constitutional,

1statutory or common-law protections of defendants to actions
2involving public petition and participation.

3(g)  Abuse of legal process.--In addition to other costs or
4remedies allowed by general rule or statute, including, but not
5limited, to Subchapter E of Chapter 83 (relating to wrongful use
6of civil proceedings) in any administrative or judicial
7proceeding related to the enforcement or implementation of law
8or regulation related to an issue of public interest, the agency
9or court may award costs, including reasonable attorney fees, if
10the agency or court determines that an action, appeal, claim,
11motion or pleading is frivolous or taken solely for delay or
12that the conduct of a party or counsel is dilatory or vexatious.

13(h)  Personal information.--A request for information that
14discloses the personal identification of an individual and is
15sought pursuant to discovery shall be quashed on the motion of a
16person whose information is sought.

17(i)  Special damages.--The court may award the prevailing
18party who is provided with immunity from suit pursuant to this
19section the costs of litigation including reasonable attorney
20fees if there is a showing that the action brought was frivolous
21or intended to cause unnecessary delay.

22(j) Parties.--In considering any motion or preliminary
23objections provided by this section, the court may additionally
24consider both of the following factors weighing in favor of
25granting immunity under subsection (a)(1)(ii):

26(1) If the person making the communication possesses the
27following characteristics:

28(i)  Is an executive committee, board of directors,
29officers or other leadership chosen through elections.

30(ii) Has written rules, such as bylaws or articles

1of incorporation, that establish its mission and

3(iii) Is organized for a specific purpose that
4includes activities designed for the participation in
5government actions.

6(2)  If the communication at issue was made at, or
7resulted from, a meeting open to the general public which was
8conducted in accordance with written rules, bylaws or
9articles of incorporation under subsection (j)(1)(ii).

10(k)  Definitions.--The following words and phrases when used
11in this section shall have the meanings given to them in this
12subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

13"Act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of
14public interest." Any of the following:

15(1) any written or oral statement made:

16(i) in connection with an issue under consideration
17or review by a legislative, executive or judicial body,
18or any other official proceeding authorized by law; or

19(ii) in a place open to the public or a public forum
20in connection with an issue of public interest; or

21(2) any other expression or expressive conduct that
22involves petitioning the government or communicating views to
23members of the public in connection with an issue of public

25"Government action." Any action regarding the enactment,
26promulgation, issuance, implementation or interpretation of any
27statute, regulation, policy, procedure or directive by a
28government agency.

29"Government agency."  The Federal Government, the
30Commonwealth and any of its departments, commissions, boards,

1agencies and authorities and any political subdivision and its

3"Issue of public interest." An issue related to:

4(1) Health or safety.

5(2) Environmental, economic or community well-being.

6(3) A government agency or a public figure.

7(4) A good, product or service in the market place.

8(5) Land use or licensing.

9The term does not include private interests, including, but not
10limited to, statements directed primarily toward protecting the
11speaker's commercial interests rather than toward commenting on
12or sharing information about a matter of public significance.

13Section 4. This act shall take effect in 60 days.