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Office of Hearings and Mediation Services
Docket Management System

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Docket Management System: Help

Searching the Docket Management System
The Overview Screen


The docket management system is a database of cases that have been referred to the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services (OHMS) for public hearings or other action by an administrative law judge and a decision by the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The docket contains cases that have closed on or after January 1, 2005. For cases that closed before January 1, 2005, contact OHMS at 518-402-9003 or send e-mail to OHMS@dec.ny.gov.

An administrative law judge (ALJ) is an impartial person designated by the Commissioner to conduct public hearings. ALJs from OHMS conduct public hearings about:

  1. new and renewal applications for permits administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation (the Department);
  2. enforcement matters concerning alleged violations of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), DEC rules and regulations, and the terms and conditions of any permit, certificate or order issued by the Department; and
  3. new rules and regulations issued by the Department, or modifications to existing rules and regulations.

In addition, OHMS reviews appeals from determinations made by Department staff concerning requests for information made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). FOIL appeals are ultimately determined by the Assistant Commissioner for Hearings.

Occasionally, other state agencies will ask the OHMS ALJs to conduct public hearings for those agencies. Examples of other state agencies include the Adirondack Park Agency and the Lake George Park Commission.

For general information about permit hearings, consult the Guide to Permit Hearings. The Guide to Enforcement Hearings provides general information about enforcement hearings.

Searching the Docket Management System

Cases in the OHMS docket management system can be searched. In the first search box, type in a key word. In the second search box, select a particular category. Search results may be longer than one page. The number of pages of results appears across the top of the search results. The following provides a brief definition of each search category.

Case Name The case name usually includes the name of the applicant (either the individual or the company name) in a permit case, or the respondent in an enforcement case. Alternatively, the case name may include the name of the site where the proposal would be located, or the name of the facility where alleged violations may have occurred. With respect to FOIL appeals, the case name is the name of the requestor who filed the appeal.
Case Type Generally, the three most common types of cases are: permit cases, enforcement cases, and FOIL appeals. Permit case are sub-divided into two types based on the procedures used to review a new or renewal permit application. Applications processed pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Uniform Procedures Act (UPA [Environmental Conservation Law article 70]) are UPA-type hearings. UPA-type hearings are the most common public hearings.

Applications that are not processed pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Uniform Procedures Act are referred to as non-UPA hearings. Common non-UPA-type hearings include applications to apply aquatic pesticides, as well as applications for oil and natural gas well spacing units.

If Department staff denies a request for access to information under FOIL, the party who made the request may appeal the denial to the Assistant Commissioner for Hearings and Mediation Services. The rules for requesting information and for an appeal from a denial are outlined in 6 NYCRR part 616 (Access to Records).

Region For administrative purposes, the Department has grouped the New York State Counties into nine different regions.

DEC Office Occasionally, a proposal may overlap two or more regions of the Department, but staff from a particular region or staff from the central office in Albany oversee the review of a project. The "DEC office" will identify the location of Department staff.
OHMS Number Each matter referred to the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services is assigned a unique case number. The OHMS number will be identified in public notices and on correspondence. The first four digits of the case number are the year in which the case was referred to the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services.
Program Type The program type relates to the type of application under review, or the type of permit that an individual or company may have. The Department administers many environmental programs. For hearings, the programs are divided into 26 different types. Program types relate to specific natural resources such as air, water, wetlands (freshwater and tidal), as well as wild, scenic and recreational rivers. Program types may also relate to certain regulated activities such as solid waste management and mining. More than one program type may apply to a particular facility or proposal. For example, a factory may have an air emissions permit and a waste water discharge permit. The term "Book" is a reference to the system used to file hard copies of the documents related to the cases. To request a hard copy of a document, contact the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at the link provided above.
Town/City and County Search for existing facilities or for proposed projects by entering the town or city, and the county.

For advanced searches, click on Docket Filter Options. Select the option or options that should be considered for a particular search.

The Docket Filter Options provide three categories in addition to those in the general search. The additional categories are: Case Referral, ALJ, and Case Status.

Case Referral Case referral limits a particular search by dates. To use Case Referral, click on the empty box next to the phrase, "Use Referral Date for Filter." A check mark should appear in the box.
ALJ If you know the ALJ assigned to a particular case, select that ALJ's name.
Case Status The three common choices are active, inactive and pending. A case is active if it is ongoing, for example, the hearing has been scheduled, the parties are filing papers by a particular date, or the ALJ is preparing a ruling or report.

An inactive case is a matter that has been put on hold. For example, the parties may have requested time to work out a settlement, or the ALJ has requested information from a particular party that will take a long time to collect and prepare a report.

Cases are pending when Department staff has referred a matter to the OHMS, but the Chief ALJ has not yet assigned the case to an ALJ. More information about the status of a particular case may be available in the Overview Screen.

More than one topic in some Docket Filter Options may be selected. For example, the cases can be searched for two program types such as Solid Waste and Freshwater Wetlands. Use the CTRL key to select more than one topic for a particular option.

The Overview Screen

If any of the search terms match, you will be provided with a list of cases. To review a particular case, click on the OHMS number to bring up the Overview Screen. The Overview Screen provides a brief description of a particular case. A statement about the status of the hearing may appear at the bottom of the Overview Screen. For example, information about the status of an ALJ's issues ruling or the status of any appeals pending before the Commissioner would be provided at this location.