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Title 18 Part 808

Title 18 → Chapter VIII → Part 808

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 18 Part 808

e-CFR data is current as of December 6, 2018

Title 18Chapter VIII → Part 808


Title 18: Conservation of Power and Water Resources


PART 808—HEARINGS AND ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS


Contents

Subpart A—Conduct of Hearings

§808.1   Public hearings.

(a) Required hearings. A public hearing shall be conducted in the following instances:

(1) Addition of projects or adoption of amendments to the comprehensive plan, except as otherwise provided by section 14.1 of the compact.

(2) Review and approval of diversions.

(3) Imposition or modification of rates and charges.

(4) Determination of protected areas.

(5) Drought emergency declarations.

(6) Hearing requested by a member jurisdiction.

(7) As otherwise required by sections 3.5(4), 4.4, 5.2(e), 6.2(a), 8.4, and 10.4 of the compact.

(b) Optional hearings. A public hearing may be conducted by the Commission or the Executive Director in any form or style chosen by the Commission or Executive Director in the following instances:

(1) Proposed rulemaking.

(2) Consideration of projects, except projects approved pursuant to memoranda of understanding with member jurisdictions.

(3) Adoption of policies and technical guidance documents.

(4) When it is determined that a hearing is necessary to give adequate consideration to issues related to public health, safety and welfare, or protection of the environment, or to gather additional information for the record or consider new information on a matter before the Commission.

(c) Notice of public hearing. At least 20 days before any public hearing required by the compact, notices stating the date, time, place and purpose of the hearing including issues of interest to the Commission shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected. In all other cases, at least 20 days prior to the hearing, notice shall be posted on the Commission Web site, sent to the parties who, to the Commission's knowledge, will participate in the hearing, and sent to persons, organizations and news media who have made requests to the Commission for notices of hearings or of a particular hearing. With regard to rulemaking, hearing notices need only be forwarded to the directors of the New York Register, the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the Maryland Register and the Federal Register, and it is sufficient that this notice appear in the Federal Register at least 20 days prior to the hearing and in each individual state publication at least 10 days prior to any hearing scheduled in that state.

(d) Standard public hearing procedure. (1) Hearings shall be open to the public. Participants may be any person, including a project sponsor, wishing to appear at the hearing and make an oral or written statement. Statements shall be made a part of the record of the hearing, and written statements may be received up to and including the last day on which the hearing is held, or within 10 days or a reasonable time thereafter as may be specified by the presiding officer.

(2) Participants are encouraged to file with the Commission at its headquarters written notice of their intention to appear at the hearing. The notice should be filed at least three days prior to the opening of the hearing.

(e) Representative capacity. Participants wishing to be heard at a public hearing may appear in person or be represented by an attorney or other representative. A governmental authority may be represented by one of its officers, employees or by a designee of the governmental authority.

(f) Description of project. When notice of a public hearing is issued, there shall be available for inspection, consistent with the Commission's Access to Records Policy, all plans, summaries, maps, statements, orders or other supporting documents which explain, detail, amplify, or otherwise describe the project the Commission is considering. Instructions on where and how the documents may be obtained will be included in the notice.

(g) Presiding officer. A public hearing shall be presided over by the Commission chair, the Executive Director, or any member or designee of the Commission or Executive Director. The presiding officer shall have full authority to control the conduct of the hearing and make a record of the same.

(h) Transcript. Whenever a project involving a diversion of water is the subject of a public hearing, and at all other times deemed necessary by the Commission or the Executive Director, a written transcript of the hearing shall be made. A certified copy of the transcript and exhibits shall be available for review during business hours at the Commission's headquarters to anyone wishing to examine them. Persons wishing to obtain a copy of the transcript of any hearing shall make arrangements to obtain it directly from the recording stenographer at their expense.

(i) Joint hearings. The Commission may conduct any public hearings in concert with any other agency of a member jurisdiction.

[82 FR 29395, June 29, 2017]

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§808.2   Administrative appeals.

(a) A project sponsor or other person aggrieved by a final action or decision of the Executive Director shall file a written appeal with the Commission within 30 days of the receipt of actual notice by the project sponsor or within 30 days of publication of the action in the Federal Register. Appeals shall be filed on a form and in a manner prescribed by the Commission and the petitioner shall have 20 days from the date of filing to amend the appeal. The following is a non-exclusive list of actions by the Executive Director that are subject to an appeal to the Commission:

(1) A determination that a project requires review and approval under §806.5;

(2) An approval or denial of an application for transfer under §806.6;

(3) An approval of a Notice of Intent under a general permit under §806.17;

(4) An approval of a minor modification under §806.18;

(5) A determination regarding an approval by rule under §806.22(e) or (f);

(6) A determination regarding an emergency certificate under §806.34;

(7) Enforcement orders issued under §808.14;

(8) A finding regarding a civil penalty under §808.15(c);

(9) A determination of grandfathered quantity under §806.44;

(10) A decision to modify, suspend or revoke a previously granted approval; and

(11) A records access determination made pursuant to Commission policy.

(b) The appeal shall identify the specific action or decision being appealed, the date of the action or decision, the interest of the person requesting the hearing in the subject matter of the appeal, and a statement setting forth the basis for objecting to or seeking review of the action or decision.

(c) Any request not filed on or before the applicable deadline established in paragraph (a) of this section hereof will be deemed untimely and such request for a hearing shall be considered denied unless the Commission, upon written request and for good cause shown, grants leave to make such filing nunc pro tunc; the standard applicable to what constitutes good cause shown being the standard applicable in analogous cases under Federal law. Receipt of requests for hearings pursuant to this section, whether timely filed or not, shall be submitted by the Executive Director to the commissioners for their information.

(d) Petitioners shall be limited to a single filing that shall set forth all matters and arguments in support thereof, including any ancillary motions or requests for relief. Issues not raised in this single filing shall be considered waived for purposes of the instant proceeding. Where the petitioner is appealing a final determination on a project application and is not the project sponsor, the petitioner shall serve a copy of the appeal upon the project sponsor within five days of its filing.

(e) The Commission will determine the manner in which it will hear the appeal. If a hearing is granted, the Commission shall serve notice thereof upon the petitioner and project sponsor and shall publish such notice in the Federal Register. The hearing shall not be held less than 20 days after publication of such notice. Hearings may be conducted by one or more members of the Commission, or by such other hearing officer as the Commission may designate.

(1) The petitioner may also request a stay of the action or decision giving rise to the appeal pending final disposition of the appeal, which stay may be granted or denied by the Executive Director after consultation with the Commission chair and the member from the affected member State. The decision of the Executive Director on the request for stay shall not be appealable to the Commission under this section and shall remain in full force and effect until the Commission acts on the appeal.

(2) In addition to the contents of the request itself, the Executive Director, in granting or denying the request for stay, will consider the following factors:

(i) Irreparable harm to the petitioner.

(ii) The likelihood that the petitioner will prevail.

(f) The Commission shall grant the hearing request pursuant to this section if it determines that an adequate record with regard to the action or decision is not available, or that the Commission has found that an administrative review is necessary or desirable. If the Commission denies any request for a hearing, the party seeking such hearing shall be limited to such remedies as may be provided by the compact or other applicable law or court rule. If a hearing is granted, the Commission shall refer the matter for hearing to be held in accordance with §808.3, and appoint a hearing officer.

(g) If a hearing is not granted, the Commission may set a briefing schedule and decide the appeal based on the record before it. The Commission may, in its discretion, schedule and hear oral argument on an appeal.

(h)(1) A request for intervention may be filed with the Commission by persons other than the petitioner within 20 days of the publication of a notice of the granting of such hearing in the Federal Register. The request for intervention shall state the interest of the person filing such notice, and the specific grounds of objection to the action or decision or other grounds for appearance. The hearing officer(s) shall determine whether the person requesting intervention has standing in the matter that would justify their admission as an intervener to the proceedings in accordance with Federal case law.

(2) Interveners shall have the right to be represented by counsel, to present evidence and to examine and cross-examine witnesses.

(i) Where a request for an appeal is made, the 90-day appeal period set forth in section 3.10 (6) and Federal reservation (o) of the compact shall not commence until the Commission has either denied the request for or taken final action on an administrative appeal.

[82 FR 29396, June 29, 2017]

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§808.3   Hearings on administrative appeal.

(a) Unless otherwise agreed to by the Commission and the party requesting an administrative appeal under §808.2 of this part, the following procedures shall govern the conduct of hearing on an administrative appeal.

(b) Hearing procedure. (1) The hearing officer shall have the power to rule upon offers of proof and the admissibility of evidence, to regulate the course of the hearing, to set the location or venue of the hearing, to hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of issues and the stipulation of facts, to determine the proper parties to the hearing, to determine the scope of any discovery procedures, to delineate the hearing issues to be adjudicated, and to take notice of judicially cognizable facts and general, technical, or scientific facts. The hearing officer may, with the consent of the parties, conduct all or part of the hearing or related proceedings by telephone conference call or other electronic means.

(2) The hearing officer shall cause each witness to be sworn or to make affirmation.

(3) Any party to a hearing shall have the right to present evidence, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, submit rebuttal evidence, and to present summation and argument.

(4) When necessary, in order to prevent undue prolongation of the hearing, the hearing officer may limit the number of times any witness may testify, the repetitious examination or cross-examination of witnesses, or the extent of corroborative or cumulative testimony.

(5) The hearing officer shall exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence, but the parties shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence, and all relevant evidence of reasonably probative value may be received provided it shall be founded upon competent, material evidence which is substantial in view of the entire record.

(6) Any party may appear and be heard in person or be represented by an attorney at law who shall file an appearance with the Commission.

(7) Briefs and oral argument may be required by the hearing officer and may be permitted upon request made prior to the close of the hearing by any party. They shall be part of the record unless otherwise ordered by the presiding officer.

(8) The hearing officer may, as he/she deems appropriate, issue subpoenas in the name of the Commission requiring the appearance of witnesses or the production of books, papers, and other documentary evidence for such hearings.

(9) A record of the proceedings and evidence at each hearing shall be made by a qualified stenographer designated by the Executive Director. Where demanded by the petitioner, or any other person who is a party to the appeal proceedings, or where deemed necessary by the Hearing Officer, the testimony shall be transcribed. In those instances where a transcript of proceedings is made, two copies shall be delivered to the Commission. The petitioner or other persons who desire copies shall obtain them from the stenographer at such price as may be agreed upon by the stenographer and the person desiring the transcript.

(c) Staff and other expert testimony. The Executive Director shall arrange for the presentation of testimony by the Commission's technical staff and other experts, as he/she may deem necessary or desirable, to be incorporated in the record to support the administrative action, determination or decision which is the subject of the hearing.

(d) Written testimony. If the direct testimony of an expert witness is expected to be lengthy or of a complex, technical nature, the presiding officer may order that such direct testimony be submitted to the Commission in sworn, written form. Copies of said testimony shall be served upon all parties appearing at the hearing at least 10 days prior to said hearing. Such written testimony, however, shall not be admitted whenever the witness is not present and available for cross-examination at the hearing unless all parties have waived the right of cross-examination.

(e) Assessment of costs. (1) Whenever a hearing is conducted, the costs thereof, as herein defined, shall be assessed by the presiding officer to the petitioner or such other party as the hearing officer deems equitable. For the purposes of this section, costs include all incremental costs incurred by the Commission, including, but not limited to, hearing officer and expert consultants reasonably necessary in the matter, stenographic record, rental of the hall and other related expenses.

(2) Upon the scheduling of a matter for hearing, the hearing officer shall furnish to the petitioner a reasonable estimate of the costs to be incurred under this section. The project sponsor may be required to furnish security for such costs either by cash deposit or by a surety bond of a corporate surety authorized to do business in a member state.

(3) A party to an appeal under this section who desires to proceed in forma pauperis shall submit an affidavit to the Commission requesting the same and showing in detail the assets possessed by the party, and other information indicating the reasons why that party is unable to pay costs incurred under this section or to give security for such costs. The Commission may grant or refuse the request based upon the contents of the affidavit or other factors, such as whether it believes the appeal or intervention is taken in good faith.

(f) Findings and report. The hearing officer shall prepare a report of his/her findings and recommendations based on the record of the hearing. The report shall be served by personal service or certified mail (return receipt requested) upon each party to the hearing or its counsel. Any party may file objections to the report. Such objections shall be filed with the Commission and served on all parties within 20 days after the service of the report. A brief shall be filed together with objections. Any replies to the objections shall be filed and served on all parties within 10 days of service of the objections. Prior to its decision on such objections, the Commission may grant a request for oral argument upon such filing.

(g) Action by the Commission. The Commission will act upon the findings and recommendations of the presiding officer pursuant to law. The determination of the Commission will be in writing and shall be filed in Commission records together with any transcript of the hearing, report of the hearing officer, objections thereto, and all plans, maps, exhibits and other papers, records or documents relating to the hearing.

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§808.4   Optional joint hearing.

(a) The Commission may order any two or more public hearings involving a common or related question of law or fact to be consolidated for hearing on any or all of the matters at issue in such hearings.

(b) Whenever designated by a department, agency or instrumentality of a member jurisdiction, and within any limitations prescribed by the designation, a hearing officer designated pursuant to §808.2 may also serve as a hearing officer, examiner or agent pursuant to such additional designation and may conduct joint hearings for the Commission and for such other department, agency or instrumentality. Pursuant to the additional designation, a hearing officer shall cause to be filed with the department, agency, or instrumentality making the designation, a certified copy of the transcript of the evidence taken before him/her and, if requested, of his/her findings and recommendations. Neither the hearing officer nor the Susquehanna River Basin Commission shall have or exercise any power or duty as a result of such additional designation to decide the merits of any matter arising under the separate laws of a member jurisdiction (other than the compact).

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Subpart B—Compliance and Enforcement

§808.10   Scope of subpart.

This subpart shall be applicable where there is reason to believe that a person may have violated any provision of the compact, or the Commission's rules, regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions, or any other requirements of the Commission. The said person shall hereinafter be referred to as the alleged violator.

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§808.11   Duty to comply.

It shall be the duty of any person to comply with any provision of the compact, or the Commission's rules, regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions, staff directives or any other requirement of the Commission.

[82 FR 29396, June 29, 2017]

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§808.12   Investigative powers.

(a) The Commission or its agents or employees, at any reasonable time and upon presentation of appropriate credentials, may inspect or investigate any person or project to determine compliance with any provisions of the compact, or the Commission's rules, regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions, or any other requirements of the Commission. Such employees or agents are authorized to conduct tests or sampling; to take photographs; to perform measurements, surveys, and other tests; to inspect the methods of construction, operation, or maintenance; to inspect all measurement equipment; and to audit, examine, and copy books, papers, and records pertinent to any matter under investigation. Such employees or agents are authorized to take any other action necessary to assure that any project is constructed, operated and maintained in accordance with any provisions of the compact, or the Commission's rules, regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions, or any other requirements of the Commission.

(b) Any person shall allow authorized employees or agents of the Commission, without advance notice, at any reasonable time and upon presentation of appropriate credentials, and without delay, to have access to and to inspect all areas where a project is being constructed, operated, or maintained.

(c) Any person shall provide such information to the Commission as the Commission may deem necessary to determine compliance with any provisions of the compact, or the Commission's rules, regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions, or any other requirements of the Commission. The person submitting information to the Commission shall verify that it is true and accurate to the best of the knowledge, information, and belief of the person submitting such information. Any person who knowingly submits false information to the Commission shall be subject to civil penalties as provided in the compact and criminal penalties under the laws of the member jurisdictions relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.

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§808.13   Notice of violation.

When the Executive Director or his/her designee issues a Notice of Violation (NOV) to an alleged violator, such NOV will:

(a) List the violations that are alleged to have occurred.

(b) State a date by which the alleged violator shall respond to the NOV.

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§808.14   Orders.

(a) Whether or not an NOV has been issued, the Executive Director may issue an order directing an alleged violator to cease and desist any action or activity to the extent such action or activity constitutes an alleged violation, or may issue any other order related to the prevention of further violations, or the abatement or remediation of harm caused by the action or activity.

(b) If the project sponsor fails to comply with any term or condition of a docket or other approval, the commissioners or Executive Director may issue an order suspending, modifying or revoking approval of the docket. The commissioners may also, in their discretion, suspend, modify or revoke a docket approval if the project sponsor fails to obtain or maintain other federal, state or local approvals.

(c) The commissioners or Executive Director may issue such other orders as may be necessary to enforce any provision of the compact, the Commission's rules or regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions, or any other requirements of the Commission.

(d) It shall be the duty of any person to proceed diligently to comply with any order issued pursuant to this section.

(e) The Commission or Executive Director may enter into a Consent Order and Agreement with an alleged violator to resolve non-compliant operations and enforcement proceedings in conjunction with or separately from settlement agreements under §808.18.

[82 FR 29396, June 29, 2017]

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§808.15   Show cause proceeding.

(a) The Executive Director may issue an order requiring an alleged violator to show cause why a penalty should not be assessed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and section 15.17 of the compact. The order to the alleged violator shall:

(1) Specify the nature and duration of violation(s) that is alleged to have occurred.

(2) Set forth the date by which the alleged violator must provide a written response to the order.

(3) Identify the civil penalty recommended by Commission staff.

(b) The written response by the project sponsor should include the following:

(1) A statement whether the project sponsor contests that the violations outlined in the Order occurred;

(2) If the project sponsor contests the violations, then a statement of the relevant facts and/or law providing the basis for the project sponsor's position;

(3) Any mitigating factors or explanation regarding the violations outlined in the Order; and

(4) A statement explaining what the appropriate civil penalty, if any, should be utilizing the factors at §808.16.

(c) Based on the information presented and any relevant policies, guidelines or law, the Executive Director shall make a written finding affirming or modifying the civil penalty recommended by Commission staff.

[82 FR 29397, June 29, 2017]

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§808.16   Civil penalty criteria.

(a) In determining the amount of any civil penalty or any settlement of a violation, the Commission and Executive Director shall consider:

(1) Previous violations, if any, of any provision of the compact, the Commission's rules or regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions or any other requirements of the Commission.

(2) The intent of the alleged violator.

(3) The extent to which the violation caused adverse consequences to public health, safety and welfare or to water resources.

(4) The costs incurred by the Commission or any member jurisdiction relating to the failure to comply with any provision of the compact, the Commission's rules or regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions or any other requirements of the Commission.

(5) The extent to which the violator has cooperated with the Commission in correcting the violation and remediating any adverse consequences or harm that has resulted therefrom.

(6) The extent to which the failure to comply with any provision of the compact, the Commission's rules or regulations, orders, approvals, docket conditions or any other requirements of the Commission was economically beneficial to the violator.

(7) The length of time over which the violation occurred and the amount of water used, diverted or withdrawn during that time period.

(8) The punitive effect of a civil penalty.

(b) The Commission and/or Executive Director retains the right to waive any penalty or reduce the amount of the penalty recommended by the Commission staff under §808.15(a)(3) should it be determined, after consideration of the factors in paragraph (a) of this section, that extenuating circumstances justify such action.

[71 FR 78589, Dec. 29, 2006, as amended at 82 FR 29397, June 29, 2017]

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§808.17   Enforcement of penalties, abatement or remedial orders.

Any penalty imposed or abatement or remedial action ordered by the Commission or the Executive Director shall be paid or completed within such time period as shall be specified in the civil penalty assessment or order. The Executive Director and Commission counsel are authorized to take such additional action as may be necessary to assure compliance with this subpart. If a proceeding before a court becomes necessary, the penalty amount determined in accordance with this part shall constitute the penalty amount recommended by the Commission to be fixed by the court pursuant to section 15.17 of the compact.

[82 FR 29397, June 29, 2017]

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§808.18   Settlement by agreement.

(a) An alleged violator may offer to settle an enforcement action by agreement. The Executive Director may enter into settlement agreements to resolve an enforcement action. The Commission may, by Resolution, require certain types of enforcement actions or settlements to be submitted to the Commission for action or approval.

(b) In the event the violator fails to carry out any of the terms of the settlement agreement, the Commission or Executive Director may reinstitute a civil penalty action and any other applicable enforcement action against the alleged violator.

[82 FR 29397, June 29, 2017]

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§808.19   Effective date.

This part shall be effective on January 1, 2007.

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