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Public Utilities Administrative – Municipal Water System – Untimely Petition – Conditional Approvals

By: S.C. Lawyers Weekly staff//September 5, 2019

Public Utilities Administrative – Municipal Water System – Untimely Petition – Conditional Approvals

By: S.C. Lawyers Weekly staff//September 5, 2019

Because the petitioner-customer did not file a request for a contested case hearing when respondent South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) initially issued permits to the respondent-town for its water system—waiting instead until the town had invested time and money and DHEC had issued final permits—the customer’s motion for a contested hearing was untimely.

We affirm the Administrative Law Court’s dismissal of the customer’s contested case.

Regulation 61-58.1(K), SCCAR, does not address whether a final approval can include conditions, and DHEC interprets this as allowing conditional approvals. Because DHEC is the agency charged with this regulation, we defer to its interpretation. Because the conditions set out in DHEC’s final approvals simply restated the applicable regulations and because the regulation is silent, the conditions in the final approvals did not render those approvals a contestable initial decision.

A.O. Smith Corp. v. South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-083-19, 15 pp.) (Aphrodite Konduros, J.) Appealed from the Administrative Law Court (Shirley Robinson, ALJ) W. Thomas Lavender and Joan Wash Hartley for appellant; Martin Driggers, Richard Edward Mclawhorn, Kathryn Susan Mansfield, Matthew Todd Carroll, Belton Townsend Zeigler and Stephen Philip Hightower for respondents. S.C. App.

 

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