PART VI SANCTIONS AND REMEDIES Subpart A. General Provisions C. Immunity Enactment. Part VI was added December 15, 1999, P.L.949, No.68, effective December 31, 1999. SUBPART A GENERAL PROVISIONS Chapter 77. Costs and Fees Enactment. Subpart A was added December 20, 2000, P.L.980, No.138, effective in 60 days. CHAPTER 77 COSTS AND FEES Sec. 7707. Participation in environmental law or regulation. 7708. Costs for mining proceedings. Enactment. Chapter 77 was added December 20, 2000, P.L.980, No.138, effective in 60 days, unless otherwise noted. Special Provisions in Appendix. See the preamble of Act 138 of 2000 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to legislative findings and declarations. § 7707. Participation in environmental law or regulation. A person that successfully defends against an action under Chapter 83 (relating to participation in environmental law or regulation) shall be awarded reasonable attorney fees and the costs of litigation. If the person prevails in part, the court may make a full award or a proportionate award. § 7708. Costs for mining proceedings. (a) Purpose.--This section establishes costs and fees available in proceedings involving coal mining activities. The purpose of this section is to provide costs and fees to the same extent of section 525(e) of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (Public Law 95-87, 30 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq.) and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. It is hereby determined that it is in the public interest for the Commonwealth to maintain primary jurisdiction over the enforcement and administration of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 and that the purpose of this section is to maintain primary jurisdiction over coal mining in this Commonwealth but in no event to authorize standards which are more stringent than Federal standards for the award of costs and fees. (b) General rule.--Any party may file a petition for award of costs and fees reasonably incurred as a result of that party's participation in any proceeding involving coal mining activities which results in a final adjudication being issued by the Environmental Hearing Board or a final order being issued by an appellate court. (c) Recipients of awards.--Appropriate costs and fees incurred for a proceeding concerning coal mining activities may be awarded: (1) To any party from the permittee if: (i) The party initiates or participates in any proceeding reviewing enforcement actions upon a finding that a violation of a Commonwealth coal mining act, regulation or permit has occurred or that an imminent hazard existed. (ii) The Environmental Hearing Board determines that the party made a substantial contribution to the full and fair determination of the issues. Except that the contribution of a party who did not initiate a proceeding shall be separate and distinct from the contribution made by a party initiating the proceeding. (2) To any party, other than a permittee or his representative, from the department if that party: (i) Initiates or participates in any proceeding concerning coal mining activities. (ii) Prevails in whole or in part, achieving at least some degree of success on the merits. Upon a finding that the party made a substantial contribution to a full and fair determination of the issues. (3) To a permittee from the department when the permittee demonstrates that the department in a matter concerning coal mining activities issued an order of cessation, a compliance order or an order to show cause why a permit should not be suspended or revoked, in bad faith and for the purpose of harassing or embarrassing the permittee. (4) To a permittee from any party where the permittee demonstrates that the party, in bad faith and for the purpose of harassing or embarrassing the permittee: (i) initiated a proceeding under one or more of the coal mining acts or the regulations promulgated pursuant to any of those acts concerning coal mining activities; or (ii) participated in such a proceeding in bad faith for the purpose of harassing or embarrassing the permittee. (d) Time for filing.--The petition for an award of costs and fees shall be filed with the Environmental Hearing Board within 30 days of the date an adjudication of the Environmental Hearing Board becomes final. (e) Contents of petition.--A petition filed under this section shall include the name of the party from whom costs and fees are sought, and the following shall be submitted in support of the petition: (1) An affidavit setting forth in detail all reasonable costs and fees reasonably incurred for or in connection with the party's participation in the proceeding. (2) Receipts or other evidence of such costs and fees. (3) Where attorney fees are claimed, evidence concerning the hours expended on the case, the customary commercial rate of payment for such services in the area and the experience, reputation and ability of the individual or individuals performing the services. (f) Answer.--Any party shall have 30 days from service of the petition within which to file an answer to such petition. (g) Exclusive remedy.--Except for section 601 of the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987, No.394), known as The Clean Streams Law, section 18.3 of the act of May 31, 1945 (P.L.1198, No.418), known as the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act, section 13 of the act of April 27, 1966 (1st Sp.Sess., P.L.31, No.1), known as The Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act, and section 13 of the act of September 24, 1968 (P.L.1040, No.318), known as the Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act, this section shall be the exclusive remedy for the awarding of costs and fees in proceedings involving coal mining activities. (h) Definitions.--The following words and phrases when used in this section shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise: "Coal mining activities." The extraction of coal from the earth, waste or stockpiles, pits or banks by removing the strata or material which overlies or is above or between them or otherwise exposing and retrieving them from the surface, including, but not limited to, strip mining, auger mining, dredging, quarrying and leaching and all surface activity connected with surface or underground coal mining, including, but not limited to, exploration, site preparation, coal processing or cleaning, coal refuse disposal, entry, tunnel, drift, slope, shaft and borehole drilling and construction, road construction, use, maintenance and reclamation, water supply restoration or replacement, repair or compensation for damages to structures caused by underground coal mining and all activities related thereto. "Coal mining acts." The provisions of the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987, No.394), known as The Clean Streams Law, the act of May 31, 1945 (P.L.1198, No.418), known as the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act, the act of April 27, 1966 (1st Sp.Sess., P.L.31, No.1), known as The Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act, and the act of September 24, 1968 (P.L.1040, No.318), known as the Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act, which govern coal mining or activities related to coal mining. "Costs and fees." All reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees and expert witness fees, reasonably incurred as a result of participation in a proceeding involving coal mining activities. "Department." The Department of Environmental Protection of the Commonwealth. "Proceeding." Appeals of final Department of Environmental Protection actions before the Environmental Hearing Board and judicial review of Environmental Hearing Board adjudications. Effective Date. Section 4(1)(i) of Act 138 of 2000 provided that section 7708 shall take effect immediately. Applicability. Section 3 of Act 138 of 2000 provided that section 7708 shall apply to all proceedings and petitions for costs and fees filed after the effective date of Act 138.