Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Chapter 13. Air Pollution Control Board

§ 10.1-1309. Issuance of special orders; civil penalties.

A. The Department shall have the power to issue special orders to:

(i) owners who are permitting or causing air pollution as defined by § 10.1-1300, to cease and desist from such pollution;

(ii) owners who have failed to construct facilities in accordance with or have failed to comply with plans for the control of air pollution submitted by them to and approved by the Department, to construct such facilities in accordance with or otherwise comply with, such approved plans;

(iii) owners who have violated or failed to comply with the terms and provisions of any Department order or directive to comply with such terms and provisions;

(iv) owners who have contravened duly adopted and promulgated air quality standards and policies, to cease such contravention and to comply with air quality standards and policies;

(v) require any owner to comply with the provisions of this chapter and any Department decision; and

(vi) require any person to pay civil penalties of up to $32,500 for each violation, not to exceed $100,000 per order, if (a) the person has been issued at least two written notices of alleged violation by the Department for the same or substantially related violations at the same site, (b) such violations have not been resolved by demonstration that there was no violation, by an order issued by the Director, or by other means, (c) at least 130 days have passed since the issuance of the first notice of alleged violation, and (d) there is a finding that such violations have occurred after a hearing conducted in accordance with subsection B. The actual amount of any penalty assessed shall be based upon the severity of the violations, the extent of any potential or actual environmental harm, the compliance history of the facility or person, any economic benefit realized from the noncompliance, and the ability of the person to pay the penalty. The Department shall provide the person with the calculation for the proposed penalty prior to any hearing conducted for the issuance of an order that assesses penalties pursuant to this subsection. Penalties shall be paid to the state treasury and deposited by the State Treasurer into the Virginia Environmental Emergency Response Fund (§ 10.1-2500 et seq.). The issuance of a notice of alleged violation by the Department shall not be considered a case decision as defined in § 2.2-4001. Any notice of alleged violation shall include a description of each violation, the specific provision of law violated, and information on the process for obtaining a final decision or fact finding from the Department on whether or not a violation has occurred, and nothing in this section shall preclude an owner from seeking such a determination.

B. Such special orders are to be issued only after a hearing before a hearing officer appointed by the Supreme Court in accordance with § 2.2-4020 with reasonable notice to the affected owners of the time, place and purpose thereof, and they shall become effective not less than five days after service as provided in subsection C below. Should the Department find that any such owner is unreasonably affecting the public health, safety or welfare, or the health of animal or plant life, or property, after a reasonable attempt to give notice, it shall declare a state of emergency and may issue without hearing an emergency special order directing the owner to cease such pollution immediately, and shall within 10 days hold a hearing, after reasonable notice as to the time and place thereof to the owner, to affirm, modify, amend or cancel such emergency special order. If the Department finds that an owner who has been issued a special order or an emergency special order is not complying with the terms thereof, it may proceed in accordance with § 10.1-1316 or 10.1-1320.

C. Any special order issued under the provisions of this section need not be filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, but the owner to whom such special order is directed shall be notified by certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to the last known address of such owner, or by personal delivery by an agent of the Department, and the time limits specified shall be counted from the date of receipt.

D. Nothing in this section or in § 10.1-1307 shall limit the Department's authority to proceed against such owner directly under § 10.1-1316 or 10.1-1320 without the prior issuance of an order, special or otherwise.

1971, Ex. Sess., c. 91, § 10-17.18:1; 1973, c. 251; 1988, c. 891; 2005, c. 706; 2022, c. 356.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.