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.