(A) The gas storage well inspector or any person having a direct interest in the administration of this chapter may at any time file with the division of oil and gas resources management a written request that a conference be held for the purpose of discussing and endeavoring to resolve by mutual agreement any question or issue relating to the administration of this chapter, or to compliance with its provisions, or to any violation thereof. Such request shall describe the matter concerning which the conference is requested. Thereupon the gas storage well inspector shall promptly fix the time and place for the holding of such conference and shall send written notice thereof to each person having a direct interest therein. At such conference the gas storage well inspector or a representative of the division designated by the gas storage well inspector shall be in attendance, and shall preside at the conference, and the gas storage well inspector or designated representative may make such recommendations as the gas storage well inspector or designated representative deems proper. Any agreement reached at such conference shall be consistent with the requirements of this chapter and, if approved by the gas storage well inspector, it shall be reduced to writing and shall be effective. Any such agreement approved by the gas storage well inspector shall be kept on file in the division and a copy thereof shall be furnished to each of the persons having a direct interest therein. The conference shall be deemed terminated as of the date an approved agreement is reached or when any person having a direct interest therein refuses to confer thereafter. Such a conference shall be held in all cases prior to the holding of a hearing as provided in this section.
(B) Within ten days after the termination of a conference at which no approved agreement is reached, any person who participated in such conference and who has a direct interest in the subject matter thereof, or the gas storage well inspector, may file with the chief of the division of oil and gas resources management a request that the chief hear and determine the matter or matters, or any part thereof considered at the conference. Thereupon the chief shall promptly fix the time and place for the holding of such hearing and shall send written notice thereof to each person having a direct interest therein. The form of the request for such hearing and the conduct of the hearing shall be in accordance with rules that the chief adopts under section 1571.11 of the Revised Code. Consistent with the requirement for reasonable notice each such hearing shall be held promptly after the filing of the request therefor. Any person having a direct interest in the matter to be heard shall be entitled to appear and be heard in person or by attorney. The division may present at such hearing any evidence that is material to the matter being heard and that has come to the division's attention in any investigation or inspection made pursuant to this chapter.
(C) For the purpose of conducting such a hearing the chief may require the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, and papers, and the chief may, and at the request of any person having a direct interest in the matter being heard, the chief shall, issue subpoenas for witnesses or subpoenas duces tecum to compel the production of any books, records, or papers, directed to the sheriffs of the counties where such witnesses are found, which subpoenas shall be served and returned in the same manner as subpoenas in criminal cases are served and returned. The fees of sheriffs shall be the same as those allowed by the court of common pleas in criminal cases. Witnesses shall be paid the fees and mileage provided for under section 119.094 of the Revised Code. Such fee and mileage expenses shall be paid in advance by the persons at whose request they are incurred, and the remainder of such expenses shall be paid out of funds appropriated for the expenses of the division.
In case of disobedience or neglect of any subpoena served on any person, or the refusal of any witness to testify to any matter regarding which the witness may be lawfully interrogated, the court of common pleas of the county in which such disobedience, neglect, or refusal occurs, or any judge thereof, on application of the chief, shall compel obedience by attachment proceedings for contempt as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena issued from such court or a refusal to testify therein. Witnesses at such hearings shall testify under oath, and the chief may administer oaths or affirmations to persons who so testify.
(D) With the consent of the chief, the testimony of any witness may be taken by deposition at the instance of a party to any hearing before the chief at any time after hearing has been formally commenced. The chief may, of the chief's own motion, order testimony to be taken by deposition at any stage in any hearing, proceeding, or investigation pending before the chief. Such deposition shall be taken in the manner prescribed by the laws of this state for taking depositions in civil cases in courts of record.
(E) After the conclusion of a hearing the chief shall make a determination and finding of facts. Every adjudication, determination, or finding by the chief shall be made by written order and shall contain a written finding by the chief of the facts upon which the adjudication, determination, or finding is based. Notice of the making of such order shall be given to the persons whose rights, duties, or privileges are affected thereby, by sending a certified copy thereof by registered mail to each of such persons.
Adjudications, determinations, findings, and orders made by the chief shall not be governed by, or be subject to, Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.
Effective Date: 06-14-2000; 2008 HB525 07-01-2009