Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
9/17/2021

Article 3. Enforcement

4VAC25-150-170. Enforcement.

A. The director shall enforce the provisions of the Act, this chapter, 4VAC25 Chapter 160 (4VAC25-160-10 et seq.) entitled "The Virginia Gas and Oil Board Regulation," any board order, or any condition of a permit, and may use the following methods:

1. Obtaining voluntary compliance through conference, warning or other means prior to issuing any enforcement notice or order;

2. Issuing notices of violation in accordance with 4VAC25-150-180;

3. Issuing closure orders in accordance with 4VAC25-150-190;

4. Issuing show cause orders in accordance with 4VAC25-150-200;

5. Issuing emergency orders in accordance with § 45.1-361.27 D of the Code of Virginia; or

6. Any other action in accordance with the Code of Virginia.

B. The purpose of taking actions under this section is to obtain compliance with the provisions of the Act, this chapter, 4VAC25 Chapter 160 (4VAC25-160-10 et seq.) entitled "The Virginia Gas and Oil Board Regulation," any board order, or conditions of a permit.

C. Reclamation operations and other activities intended to protect the public health and safety and the environment shall continue during the period of any notice or order unless otherwise provided in the notice or order.

D. Any person found to be conducting a gas, oil or geophysical operation without a permit from the director shall be subject to enforcement for operating without a permit and for not meeting any other standards of the Act or this chapter which would be required if the person was operating under a permit.

E. Decisions of the director may be appealed to the Virginia Gas and Oil Board pursuant to § 45.1-361.23 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-361.27 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-05-22.1 § 1.17, eff. September 25, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 2, eff. November 11, 1998.

4VAC25-150-180. Notices of violation.

A. The director may issue a notice of violation if he finds a violation of any of the following:

1. Chapter 22.1 (§ 45.1-361.1 et seq.) of Title 45.1 of the Code of Virginia;

2. This chapter;

3. 4VAC25-160 entitled "Virginia Gas and Oil Board Regulation";

4. Any board order; or

5. Any condition of a permit, which does not create an imminent danger or harm for which a closure order must be issued under 4VAC5-150-190.

B. A notice of violation shall be in writing, signed, and set forth with reasonable specificity:

1. The nature of the violation, including a reference to the section or sections of the Act, applicable regulation, order or permit condition which has been violated;

2. A reasonable description of the portion of the operation to which the violation applies, including an explanation of the condition or circumstance that caused the portion of the operation to be in violation, if it is not self-evident in the type of violation itself;

3. The remedial action required, which may include interim steps; and

4. A reasonable deadline for abatement, which may include a deadline for accomplishment of interim steps.

C. The director may extend the deadline for abatement or for accomplishment of an interim step, if the failure to meet the deadline previously set was not caused by the permittee's lack of diligence. An extension of the deadline for abatement may not be granted when the permittee's failure to abate has been caused by a lack of diligence or intentional delay by the permittee in completing the remedial action required.

D. If the permittee fails to meet the deadline for abatement or for completion of any interim steps, the director shall issue a closure order under 4VAC25-150-190.

E. The director shall terminate a notice of violation by written notice to the permittee when he determines that all violations listed in the notice of violation have been abated.

F. A permittee issued a notice of violation may request, in writing to the director, an informal fact-finding hearing to review the issuance of the notice. This written request shall be made within 10 days of receipt of the notice. The permittee may request, in writing to the director, an expedited hearing.

G. A permittee is not relieved of the duty to abate any violation under a notice of violation during an appeal of the notice. A permittee may apply for an extension of the deadline for abatement during an appeal of the notice.

H. The director shall issue a decision on any request for an extension of the deadline for abatement under a notice of violation within five days of receipt of such request. The director shall conduct an informal fact-finding hearing, in accordance with the Administrative Process Act, § 2.2-4019 of the Code of Virginia, no later than 10 days after receipt of the hearing request.

I. The director shall affirm, modify, or vacate the notice in writing to the permittee within five days of the date of the hearing.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-361.27 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-05-22.1 § 1.18, eff. September 25, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 2, eff. November 11, 1998; Volume 29, Issue 3, eff. November 8, 2012; Volume 30, Issue 1, eff. October 10, 2013.

4VAC25-150-190. Closure orders.

A. The director shall immediately order a cessation of operations or of the relevant portion thereof, when he finds any condition or practice which:

1. Creates or can be reasonably expected to create an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, including miners; or

2. Causes or can reasonably be expected to cause significant, imminent, environmental harm to land, air or water resources.

B. The director may order a cessation of operations or of the relevant portion thereof, when:

1. A permittee fails to meet the deadline for abatement or for completion of any interim step under a notice of violation;

2. Repeated notices of violations have been issued for the same condition or practice; or

3. Gas, oil or geophysical operations are being conducted by any person without a valid permit from the Division of Gas and Oil.

C. A closure order shall be in writing, signed and shall set forth with reasonable specificity:

1. The nature of the condition, practice or violation;

2. A reasonable description of the portion of the operation to which the closure order applies;

3. The remedial action required, if any, which may include interim steps; and

4. A reasonable deadline for abatement, which may include deadline for accomplishment of interim steps.

D. A closure order shall require the person subject to the order to take all steps the director deems necessary to abate the violations covered by the order in the most expeditious manner physically possible.

E. If a permittee fails to abate a condition or practice or complete any interim step as required in a closure order, the director shall issue a show cause order under 4VAC25-150-200.

F. The director shall terminate a closure order by written notice to the person subject to the order when he determines that all conditions, practices or violations listed in the order have been abated.

G. A person issued a closure order may request, in writing to the director, an informal fact-finding hearing to review the issuance of the order within 10 days of receipt of the order. The person may request, in writing to the director, an expedited hearing within three days of receipt of the order.

H. A person is not relieved of the duty to abate any condition under, or comply with, any requirement of a closure order during an appeal of the order.

I. The director shall conduct an informal fact-finding hearing, in accordance with the Administrative Process Act, § 2.2-4019 of the Code of Virginia, no later than 15 days after the order was issued, or in the case of an expedited hearing, no later than five days after the order was issued.

J. The director shall affirm, modify, or vacate the closure order in writing to the person the order was issued to no later than five days after the date of the hearing.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-361.27 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-05-22.1 § 1.19, eff. September 25, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 2, eff. November 11, 1998; Volume 29, Issue 3, eff. November 8, 2012; Volume 30, Issue 1, eff. October 10, 2013.

4VAC25-150-200. Show cause orders.

A. The director may issue a show cause order to a permittee requiring justification for why his permit should not be suspended or revoked whenever:

1. A permittee fails to abate a condition or practice or complete any interim step as required in a closure order;

2. A permittee fails to comply with the provisions of 4VAC25-160 entitled "Virginia Gas and Oil Board Regulation"; or

3. A permittee fails to comply with the provisions of an order issued by the Virginia Gas and Oil Board.

B. A show cause order shall be in writing, signed, and set forth with reasonable specificity:

1. The permit number of the operation subject to suspension or revocation; and

2. The reason for the show cause order.

C. The permittee shall have five days from receipt of the show cause order to request in writing an informal fact-finding hearing.

D. The director shall conduct an informal fact-finding hearing, in accordance with the Administrative Process Act, § 2.2-4019 of the Code of Virginia, no later than five days after receipt of the request for the hearing.

E. The director shall issue a written decision within five days of the date of the hearing.

F. If the permit is revoked, the permittee shall immediately cease operations on the permit area and complete reclamation within the deadline specified in the order.

G. If the permit is suspended, the permittee shall immediately commence cessation of operations on the permit area and complete all actions to abate all conditions, practices or violations, as specified in the order.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-361.27 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-05-22.1 § 1.20, eff. September 25, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 2, eff. November 11, 1998; Volume 29, Issue 3, eff. November 8, 2012; Volume 30, Issue 1, eff. October 10, 2013.

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