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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
Chapter 130. Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations
7/11/2020

4VAC25-130-845.13. Point System.

The division shall use the point system described in this section to determine the amount of the penalty.

(a) Seriousness. The division shall assign up to 10 points based on the seriousness of the violation in accordance with the following.

Points:

0 No actual or potential damage to the environment or threat to public health and safety.

1-2 Slight actual or potential damage to the environment and no actual or potential threat to public health and safety; also violations of administrative requirements which can be quickly corrected and which do not obstruct enforcement by the division.

3-4 Moderately significant actual or potential damage to the environment which can be corrected promptly; also actual or potential minor hazard to the public health and safety; also violations of administrative requirements which can be corrected after some delay, and which tend to hamper or obstruct enforcement by the division.

5-6 Moderately significant actual or potential damage to the environment which can be corrected only after a substantial effort or period of time; also actual or potential moderately significant hazard to the public health and safety.

7-8 Substantial actual or potential damage to the environment which can be corrected only after a substantial effort or period of time; also extremely serious potential damage to the environment; also substantial actual or potential damage to the public health and safety.

9-10 Extremely serious actual damage to the environment; also extreme actual or potential hazards to the public health and safety.

(b) Negligence.

(1) The division shall assign up to six points based on the degree of fault of the person to whom the notice or order was issued in causing or failing to correct the violation, condition, or practice which led to the notice or order, either through act or omission. Points shall be assessed as follows:

(A) A violation which occurs through no negligence shall be assigned no penalty points for negligence;

(B) A violation which is caused by negligence shall be assigned three points or less, depending on the degree of negligence;

(C) A violation which occurs through a greater degree of fault than negligence shall be assigned four to six points, depending on the degree of fault.

(2) In determining the degree of negligence, involved in a violation and the number of points to be assigned, the following definitions apply:

(A) No negligence means an inadvertent violation which was unavoidable by the exercise of reasonable care.

(B) Negligence means the failure of a permittee to prevent the occurrence of any violation of the permit or any requirement of the Act or this chapter due to indifference, lack of diligence, or lack of reasonable care, or the failure to abate any violation of such permit or the Act due to indifference, lack of diligence, or lack of reasonable care.

(C) A greater degree of fault than negligence means reckless, knowing, or intentional conduct.

(3) In calculating points to be assigned for negligence, the acts of all persons working on the coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation site shall be attributed to the person to whom the notice or order was issued, unless that person establishes that they were acts of deliberate sabotage.

(c) Credit for good faith in attempting to achieve compliance.

(1) The division shall deduct from the total points assigned under subsections (a) and (b) of this section points based on the demonstrated good faith of the permittee in attempting to achieve rapid compliance after notification of the violation. Points shall be deducted as follows:

(i) three to four points shall be deducted when the permittee to whom the notice or order was issued took extraordinary measures to abate the violation in the shortest possible time and that abatement was achieved before the time set for abatement.

(ii) one to two points shall be deducted when the permittee to whom the notice or order was issued took prompt and diligent efforts to promptly abate the violation and that abatement was achieved before the time set for abatement.

(2) If the consideration of this criterion is impractical because of the length of the abatement period, the calculation of points may be made without considering this criterion and may be re-calculated after the violation has been abated.

(d) Determination of base penalty.

The division shall determine the base amount of any civil penalty by converting the total number of points calculated under subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section to a dollar amount, according to the following schedule:

Points

Dollars

Points

Dollars

1

50

9

1050

2

100

10

1350

3

175

11

1700

4

250

12

2050

5

325

13

2400

6

400

14

2750

7

475

15

3100

8

750

16

3500

(e) Credit and additional penalties for previous history.

(1) Except for a violation that resulted in personal injury or fatality to any person, the division shall reduce the base penalty determined under subsection (d) of this section by 10% if the permittee has had no violations cited by the division within the preceding 12-month period.

(2) The division shall add to the base penalty determined under subsection (d) of this section additional sums for the permittee's previous history of violations as follows:

(i) Twenty dollars for each violation contained in a notice of violation, up to 10 of such violations;

(ii) Fifty dollars for each violation contained in a notice of violation, in excess of 10 violations;

(iii) One hundred dollars for each violation contained in a cessation order.

(3) A violation shall not be counted if the notice or order is the subject of pending administrative or judicial review or if the time to request such review has not expired, and thereafter it shall be counted for only one year; provided however, that a violation which is subject to administrative or judicial review, or for which the time to request such review has not expired, shall not be disregarded for the purpose of obtaining a 10% reduction pursuant to subdivision (e)(1) of this section, unless such administrative or judicial review results in the vacation of the penalty.

(4) No violation for which the notice or order has been vacated shall be counted.

(5) Each violation shall be counted without regard to whether it led to a civil penalty assessment.

(f) The maximum penalty which the division may assess under this section for each cessation order or notice of violation shall be $5,000, except that if the violation resulted in a personal injury or fatality to any person, then the civil penalty determined under subsection (d) of this section shall be multiplied by a factor of 20, not to exceed $70,000. As provided in 4VAC25-130-845.15, each day of continuing violation may be deemed a separate violation for the purpose of assessing penalties.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-230 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 845.13, eff. December 15, 1981; amended, eff. June 28, 1982; October 28, 1982; December 14, 1982; October 11, 1983; December 27, 1983; May 8, 1984; June 22, 1984; August 2, 1984; October 16, 1985; January 7, 1987; July 22, 1987; November 25, 1987; October 12, 1988; December 26, 1990; July 1, 1991; July 17, 1991; November 20, 1991; July 7, 1992; May 5, 1993; October 19, 1994; Volume 23, Issue 13, eff. April 4, 2007.

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