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Rule

Revised Options for Responding to Notices of Violations

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard amends the procedure for a Notice of Violation when the recipient fails to either accept or decline it within 45 days. Instead of automatically converting the “fail to respond” Notice of Violation to a marine violation case with its lengthier processing and potentially higher penalties, it is treated as a default and we proceed with the civil penalty. The party retains its option to choose marine violation processing at any time during the 45-day response period.

DATES:

This final rule is effective July 5, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket USCG-2001-9175 and are available for inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also find this docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this rule, call LCDR Scott Budka, Project Manager, Office of Investigations & Analysis (G-MOA), Coast Guard, telephone 202-267-2026. If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Dorothy Beard, Chief, Dockets, Department of Transportation, telephone 202-366-5149.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory History

On December 10, 2001, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled “Revised Options for Responding to Notices of Violations” in the Federal Register (66 FR 63640). We received 4 letters commenting on the proposed rule. No public hearing was requested and none was held.

Background

We explained the background of Notices of Violations (NOVs) and our Start Printed Page 38387recent review of their use in the NPRM. Today, we use NOVs only in small oil discharge (under 100 gallons) and minor violations of our pollution prevention regulations; we have not expanded their use since their introduction in 1994. The changes this rule makes to the NOV process allow it to be more easily administered through our Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement system, which came on line in late 2001, and will support expanding the use of NOVs to other programs.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

A total of 4 letters were sent to the docket, with one being a clarification of an earlier letter. One commenter stated a party's failure to respond to an NOV within 45 days of its issuance might result from misdelivery of the NOV. If a party claims it failed to receive the original NOV, the Coast Guard's procedures allow us to review the case.

Another commenter suggested changes that are beyond the scope of this rulemaking. Since the changes suggested concern internal Coast Guard processes, we have delivered them to the appropriate offices to review and consider them.

The third commenter expressed support for this rulemaking.

Regulatory Evaluation

This rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not “significant” under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT)(44 FR 11040, February 26, 1979). We expect the economic impact of this rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under paragraph 10e of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is unnecessary.

As we discussed in the NPRM, this rule only changes the default when a party fails to respond to an NOV within 45 days; currently, only about 1% of all NOV recipients. These parties can avoid the impact of this rule entirely, by making the required NOV response within 45 days.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

As previously noted, this rule only changes the default when a party fails to respond to an NOV within 45 days. These parties can avoid any impact of this rule, simply by making the required NOV response (to accept or decline the NOV) within 45 days. Therefore, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we offered to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. Small entities may call the Project Manager listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

Collection of Information

This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Federalism

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This rule will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. It has not been designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

Environment

We have considered the environmental impact of this rule and concluded that under figure 2-1, Start Printed Page 38388paragraph (34)(a), of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, this rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation. The changes here are procedural and affect only the default treatment of “fail to respond” NOVs. A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 1

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends

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PART 1—GENERAL PROVISIONS

Subpart 1.07—Enforcement; Civil and Criminal Penalty Proceedings

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1. The authority citation for subpart 1.07 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 14 U.S.C. 633; Sec. 6079(d), Pub. L. 100-690, 102 Stat. 4181; 49 CFR 1.46.

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2. In § 1.07-11, a new paragraph (b)(7) is added, paragraph (d) is revised, and paragraphs (e) and (f) are added, as follows:

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Notice of Violation.
* * * * *

(b) * * *

(7) A statement that failure to either pay the proposed penalty on the Notice of Violation or decline the Notice of Violation and request a hearing within 45 days will result in a finding of default and the Coast Guard will proceed with the civil penalty in the amount recommended on the Notice of Violation without processing the violation under the procedures described in 33 CFR 1.07-10(b).

* * * * *

(d) If a party declines the Notice of Violation within 45 days, the case file will be sent to the District Commander for processing under the procedures described in 33 CFR 1.07-10(b).

(e) If a party pays the proposed penalty on the Notice of Violation within 45 days, a finding of proved will be entered into the case file.

(f) If within 45 days of receipt a party—

(1) Fails to pay the proposed penalty on the Notice of Violation; and

(2) Fails to decline the Notice of Violation—the Coast Guard will enter a finding of default in the case file and proceed with the civil penalty in the amount recommended on the Notice of Violation without processing the violation under the procedures described in 33 CFR 1.07-10(b).

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Dated: May 23, 2002.

Jeffrey P. High,

Acting Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection.

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[FR Doc. 02-13963 Filed 6-3-02; 8:45 am]

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