CHAPTER 83
             PARTICIPATION IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW OR REGULATION

     Sec.
     8301.  Definitions.
     8302.  Immunity.
     8303.  Right to a hearing.
     8304.  Intervention.
     8305.  Construction.

        Enactment.  Chapter 83 was added December 20, 2000, P.L.980,
     No.138, effective in 60 days.
        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.
        Cross References.  Chapter 83 is referred to in section 7707
     of this title.
     § 8301.  Definitions.
        The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
     shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
     context clearly indicates otherwise:
        "Communication to the government."  A written or oral
     statement or writing made:
            (1)  before a legislative, executive or judicial
        proceeding or any other official proceeding authorized by
        law;
            (2)  in connection with an issue under consideration or
        review by a legislative, executive or judicial body or any
        other official proceeding authorized by law; or
            (3)  to a government agency in connection with the
        implementation and enforcement of environmental law and
        regulations.
        "Enforcement of environmental law and regulation."  Activity
     relating to the identification and elimination of violations of
     environmental laws and regulations, including investigations of
     alleged violations, inspections of activities subject to
     regulation under environmental law and regulations and responses
     taken to produce correction of the violations.
        "Government agency."  The Federal Government, the
     Commonwealth and any of the Commonwealth's departments,
     commissions, boards, agencies, authorities, political
     subdivisions or their departments, commissions, boards, agencies
     or authorities.
        "Implementation of environmental law and regulation."
     Activity relating to the development and administration of
     environmental programs developed under environmental law and
     regulations.
     § 8302.  Immunity.
        (a)  General rule.--Except as provided in subsection (b), a
     person that, pursuant to Federal or State law, files an action
     in the courts of this Commonwealth to enforce an environmental
     law or regulation or that makes an oral or written communication
     to a government agency relating to enforcement or implementation
     of an environmental law or regulation shall be immune from civil
     liability in any resulting legal proceeding for damages where
     the action or communication is aimed at procuring favorable
     governmental action.
        (b)  Exceptions.--A person shall not be immune under this
     section if the allegation in the action or any communication to
     the government is not relevant or material to the enforcement or
     implementation of an environmental law or regulation and:
            (1)  the allegation in the action or communication is
        knowingly false, deliberately misleading or made with
        malicious and reckless disregard for the truth or falsity;
            (2)  the allegation in the action or communication is
        made for the sole purpose of interfering with existing or
        proposed business relationships; or
            (3)  the oral or written communication to a government
        agency relating to enforcement or implementation of an
        environmental law or regulation is later determined to be a
        wrongful use of process or an abuse of process.
     § 8303.  Right to a hearing.
        A person who wishes to raise the defense of immunity from
     civil liability under this chapter may file a motion with the
     court requesting the court to conduct a hearing to determine the
     preliminary issue of immunity. If a motion is filed, the court
     shall then conduct a hearing and if the motion is denied, the
     moving party shall have an interlocutory appeal of right to the
     Commonwealth Court, during which time all discovery shall be
     stayed.
     § 8304.  Intervention.
        A government agency has the right to petition to intervene or
     otherwise participate as an amicus curiae in the action
     involving public petition and participation.
     § 8305.  Construction.
        Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit any
     constitutional, statutory or common law protections of
     defendants to actions involving public petition and
     participation.