36 CFR § 214.14 - Conduct of an appeal.

§ 214.14 Conduct of an appeal.

(a) Evidence of timely filing. The Appeal Deciding Officer shall determine the timeliness of an appeal by the following indicators:

(1) The date of the U.S. Postal Service postmark for an appeal received before the close of the fifth business day after the appeal filing date;

(2) The electronically generated posted date and time for email and facsimiles;

(3) The shipping date for delivery by private carrier for an appeal received before the close of the fifth business day after the appeal filing date; or

(4) The official agency date stamp showing receipt of hand delivery.

(b) Computation of time.

(1) A time period in this part begins on the first day following the event or action triggering the time period.

(2) All time periods shall be computed using calendar days, including Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. However, if a time period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, the time period is extended to the end of the next Federal business day.

(c) Extensions of time -

(1) In general. Parties to an appeal, Appeal Deciding Officers, and Discretionary Reviewing Officers shall meet the time periods specified in this part, unless an extension of time has been granted under paragraph (c)(3) of this section. Extension requests from parties to an appeal shall be made in writing, shall explain the need for the extension, and shall be transmitted to the Appeal Deciding Officer.

(2) Time periods that may not be extended. The following time periods may not be extended:

(i) The time period for filing an appeal;

(ii) The time period to decide whether to conduct discretionary review of an appeal decision or a Chief's decision; and

(iii) The time period to issue a discretionary review decision.

(3) Time periods that may be extended. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, all time periods in this part may be extended upon written request by a party to an appeal and a finding of good cause for the extension by the Appeal Deciding Officer. Written requests for extensions of time will be automatically granted by the Appeal Deciding Officer where the parties to an appeal represent that they are working in good faith to resolve the dispute and that additional time would facilitate negotiation of a mutually agreeable resolution.

(4) Decision. The Appeal Deciding Officer shall have 10 days to issue a decision granting or denying the extension request. The decision shall be in writing and shall briefly explain the basis for granting or denying the request.

(5) Duration. Ordinarily, extensions that add more than 60 days to the appeal period should not be granted.

(d) Procedural orders. The Appeal Deciding Officer may issue procedural orders as necessary for the orderly, expeditious, and fair conduct of an appeal under this part.

(e) Consolidation of appeals.

(1) The Appeal Deciding Officer may consolidate multiple appeals of the same decision or of similar decisions involving common issues of fact and law and issue one appeal decision.

(2) The Responsible Official may prepare one responsive statement for consolidated appeals.

(f) Requests for additional information. The Appeal Deciding Officer may ask parties to an appeal for additional information to clarify appeal issues. If necessary, the Appeal Deciding Officer may extend appeal time periods per paragraph (c)(3) of this section to allow for submission of the additional information and to give the other parties an opportunity to review and comment on it.

(g) Service of documents.

(1) Parties to an appeal shall send a copy of all documents filed in the appeal to all other parties, including the appellant's sending a copy of the appeal to the Responsible Official, at the same time the original is filed with the Appeal Deciding Officer. All filings in an appeal must be accompanied by a signed and dated certificate of service attesting that all other parties have been served. Prospective intervenors shall send a copy of their request to intervene to all parties to the appeal at the same time the original is filed with the Appeal Deciding Officer. Each party and prospective intervenor is responsible for identifying the parties to the appeal and may contact the Appeal Deciding Officer for assistance regarding their names and addresses. Filings in an appeal shall not be considered by the Appeal Deciding Officer unless they are accompanied by a certificate of service.

(2) All decisions and orders issued by the Appeal Deciding Officer and the Discretionary Reviewing Officer related to the appeal shall be in writing and shall be sent to all parties to the appeal.

(h) Posting of final decisions. Once a final appeal decision or discretionary review decision has been issued, its availability shall be posted on the Web site of the national forest or national grassland or region that issued the appealable decision or on the Web site of the Washington Office for Chief's decisions.

(i) Expenses. Each party to an appeal shall bear its own expenses, including costs associated with preparing the appeal, participating in an oral presentation, obtaining information regarding the appeal, and retaining professional consultants or counsel.