AFO Public Participation Process

AFO Public Participation Process

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Public Notices

Pursuant to COMAR 26.08.04.09N(3)(c), “publication of public notices or public notification required by this regulation may be accomplished by posting on MDE’s web site at mde.maryland.gov.The search initiated on the AFO Search​ page will serve as notification to the public of the status of Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs), which have applied for coverage under the General Discharge Permit for AFOs (GD Permit), State Discharge Permit No. 14AF and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Discharge Permit No. MDG01. This permit became effective on December 1, 2014.

Public Process for CAFOs and MAFOs

COMAR 26.08.04.09N(3) describes the public process for CAFOs and MAFOs. This webpage and public information search function contains the required public notices for the AFO Program. Most information on the specific public process for a particular AFO is available by utilizing the public information search function on ​this webpage.

Pending

During the time that AFOs are in the process of submitting their NOIs and Required Plans and the Department is reviewing the submission, the listing for the AFO will show a “Status” of “Pending”.

Preliminary Approval​

Once a NOI and the required plans are received, reviewed by MDE to assure that they meet the requirements of the GD Permit, and preliminarily approved, the listing for that particular AFO on the public information search function page is updated to include a Notice of Preliminary Approval of the required plans. This requirement is satisfied when there is a date under “Deadline to Request Hearing” and “Deadline to Submit Written Comments”. The “Status” changes from “Pending” to “Notice of Preliminary Approval”

CAFOs

A public hearing will be held upon request to review MDE’s preliminary approval of the required plan if a written request is received on or before twenty (20) calendar days of the publication of notice of MDE’s preliminary approval on the MDE website. The request should indicate the name, address, and daytime telephone number of the person making the request, the name of any party whom the person making the request may represent, and the name of the operation. Interested parties may also submit written comments whether or not a hearing is requested. Any written comments concerning the preliminary approval must be received by the close of business, thirty (30) calendar days after the publication of notice on MDE's website. Requests for a public hearing or written comments should be sent to: Ms. Hilary Miller, Director, Land Management Administration, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230-1719. Upon prior request, MDE will provide an interpreter for the deaf or hearing-impaired persons. 

MAFOs

Public hearings regarding MAFOs may be held at MDE's discretion. However, interested parties may submit written comments. Any written comments concerning the preliminary approval must be received by the close of business, thirty (30) calendar days after the publication of the notice on the MDE website. Written comments should be sent to: Ms. Hilary Miller, Director, Land Management Administration, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230-1719.

CAFOs and MAFOs

The NOI and required plan will be available for review at the location indicated in the search on the MDE website as “Plan Review Location”, and at MDE by appointment. For further information regarding this notice, to schedule an appointment to review the NOI or the required plan, or to request an interpreter, please contact the AFO Division at (410) 537-3314.

Public Hearing

If a Public Hearing is requested during this period, the hearing will be scheduled and a date and location will appear on the public information search results for a particular AFO. The date will be listed under “Public Hearing Date”, a location will be listed under “Public Hearing Location” and the Status will be listed as “Public Hearing Scheduled." When a public hearing is held, the Department will accept written comments for five calendar days after the date of the public hearing.

Final Approval

If no comments are received during the 30 calendar day public comment period, the preliminary approval becomes a final approval and the AFO is registered. The public information search results for such an AFO will indicate a date under “AFO Registered Date” and “AFO Application Number” changes to “AFO Registration Number”. The “Status” changes from “Notice of Preliminary Approval to “Registered”.

MDE will prepare and provide notice of its final approval if:

  • Written comments adverse to the preliminary approval are received by MDE within 30 calendar days after publication of the notice of preliminary approval;
  • Comments adverse to the preliminary approval were received in writing at, or within 5 calendar days after, a public hearing held according to COMAR 26.08.04.01-2B(5);
  • Comments adverse to the preliminary approval were received orally at the public hearing conducted in accordance with COMAR 26.08.04.01-2B(5); or
  • The final approval is substantively different from the preliminary approval and all persons who may be aggrieved by the final approval have not waived, in writing, their right to request a contested case hearing.

The public will be apprised of the final approval of the required plan through the public information search function under the listing for the particular AFO.

  • If MDE determines that no modification of the required plan were necessary based on the comments received, a person aggrieved by MDE's final approval can request a Contested Case Hearing, in writing, within fifteen (15) calendar days. The public information search function listing for a particular AFO will provide a date under “Deadline to Request a Contested Case Hearing” and the “Status” will change from “Notice of Preliminary Approval” to “Notice of Final Approval and Opportunity to Request a Contested Case Hearing”. If no Contested Case Hearing is requested during this period, the AFO will be registered. This is indicated by a date under “AFO Registered Date” and “AFO Application Number” changes to “AFO Registration Number. The “Status” will change from “Notice of Final Approval and Opportunity to Request Contested Case Hearing” to “Registered”.
  • If MDE determines that it was necessary to have the planner perform a substantial modification of the required plan, the public information search function listing for a particular AFO will indicate a second thirty (30) calendar day opportunity for public comment on the modified plans by listing a date under:
    • “Required Plan Review Location”;
    • “Deadline to Request Hearing”; and
    • “Deadline to Submit Written Comments”.
  • The procedure will then be repeated as if this was a Preliminary Approval.
  • The “Status” will change from “Notice of Preliminary Approval” to “Notice of Final Approval and Opportunity to Request Contested Case Hearing”.
  • If no Contested Case Hearing is requested during this period, the AFO will be registered. This is indicated by a date under “AFO Registered Date” and “AFO Application Number” changes to “AFO Registration Number. The “Status” will change from “Notice of Final Approval and Opportunity to Request Contested Case Hearing” to “Registered”.

Contested Case Hearing

Notwithstanding COMAR 26.08.04.08K(1), which states that “a person may not request a contested case hearing on an individual discharge covered under a general permit adopted under the provisions of this chapter”, a person aggrieved by MDE’s final approval of the required plan, may request a contested case hearing. The form and content of a request for a contested case hearing shall be consistent with COMAR 26.08.04.08K(2) and (3). A contested case hearing conducted under these requirements shall be limited to contesting the terms of the approved plan. The public will be apprised of the contested case hearing through the public information search function listing for a particular AFO.

  • If a Contested Case Hearing is requested during this period, the hearing will be scheduled and a date and location will appear on the public information search results for a particular AFO. The date will be listed under “Contested Hearing Date”, a location will be listed under “Contested Hearing Location” and the Status will be listed as “Contested Hearing Scheduled.

Search results will only list the status of those AFO applicants that have submitted NOIs and have not requested that their NOIs be withdrawn or terminated. The results will be updated on an ongoing basis, adding additional AFOs as their NOIs are submitted and the status and location of any applicable public participation opportunity. Please refer to the AFO Page on this web site for the GD Permit and for more information on the AFO (CAFO/MAFO) Program. If you have any questions, please contact Gary Kelman at 410-537-4423 or gary.kelman@maryland.gov.​​