Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Energy
Chapter 130. Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations

4VAC25-130-845.18. Procedures for assessment conference.

(a) The division shall arrange for a conference to review the proposed assessment or reassessment, upon written request of the person to whom notice or order was issued, if the request is received within 30 days from the date the proposed assessment or reassessment is served.

(b)(1) The division shall assign a conference officer to hold the assessment conference. The assessment conference shall be conducted as an informal proceeding in accordance with § 2.2-4019 of the Code of Virginia. The assessment conference shall be held within 60 days from the date the conference request is received or the end of the abatement period, whichever is later. Provided that a failure by the division to hold such conference within 60 days shall not be grounds for dismissal of all or part of an assessment unless the person against whom the proposed penalty has been assessed proves actual prejudice as a result of the delay.

(2) The division shall post notice of the time and place of the conference at the division's office in Big Stone Gap or field office located closest to the mine at least five days before the conference. Any person shall have a right to attend and participate in the conference.

(3) The conference officer shall consider all relevant information on the violation. Within 30 days after the conference is held, the conference officer shall either:

(i) Settle the issue, in which case a settlement agreement shall be prepared and signed by the division and by the person assessed; or

(ii) Affirm, raise, lower, or vacate the penalty.

(4) An increase or reduction of a proposed civil penalty assessment of more than 25% and more than $500 shall not be final and binding on the division, until approved by the director or his designee.

(c) The division shall promptly serve the person assessed with a notice of the conference decision in the manner provided in 4VAC25-130-845.17 (b) and shall include a worksheet if the penalty has been raised or lowered. The reasons for the conference officer's action shall be fully documented in the file.

(d)(1) If a settlement agreement is entered into, the person assessed will be deemed to have waived all rights to further review of the violation or penalty in question, except as otherwise expressly provided for in the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement shall contain a clause to this effect.

(2) If full payment of the amount specified in the settlement agreement is not received by the division within 30 days after that date of signing, the division may enforce the agreement or rescind it and proceed according to subdivision (b)(3)(ii) of this section within 30 days from the date of the rescission.

(e) The conference officer may terminate the conference if it is determined that the issues cannot be resolved or that the person assessed is not diligently working toward resolution of the issues.

(f) At any formal review proceedings under §§ 45.2-1020, 45.2-1021, and 45.2-1025 of the Act, no evidence as to statements made or evidence produced by one party at a conference shall be introduced as evidence by another party or to impeach a witness.

Statutory Authority

§ 45.2-103 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 845.20, 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 38, Issue 13, eff. March 31, 2022.

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