1467.15 Violations and remedies.§ 1467.15 Violations and remedies.
(a) Easement violations. (1) In the event of a violation of the easement, 30-year contract, or any restoration cost-share agreement involving the participant, the participant shall be given reasonable notice and an opportunity to voluntarily correct the violation within 30 days of the date of the notice, or such additional time as the State Conservationist determines is necessary to correct the violation at the landowner's expense.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(1) of this section, NRCS reserves the right to enter upon the easement area at any time to remedy deficiencies or easement violations. Such entry may be made at the discretion of NRCS when such actions are deemed necessary to protect important wetland functions and values or other rights of the United States under the easement. The participant shall be liable for any costs incurred by the United States as a result of the participant's negligence or failure to comply with easement or contractual obligations.
(3) At any time there is a material breach of the easement covenants or any associated agreement, the easement shall remain in force and NRCS may withhold or require the refund of any easement and cost-share payments owed or paid to participants. Such withheld or refunded funds may be used to offset costs incurred by the United States in any remedial actions or retained as damages pursuant to court order or settlement agreement. This remedy is in addition to any and all legal or equitable remedies available to the United States under applicable Federal or State law.
(4) The United States shall be entitled to recover any and all administrative and legal costs, including attorney's fees or expenses, associated with any enforcement or remedial action.
(b) 30-year Contract and Restoration Cost-Share Agreement violations. (1) If the NRCS determines that a participant is in violation of the terms of a 30-year contract, or restoration cost-share agreement, or documents incorporated by reference into the 30-year contract or restoration cost-share agreement, the participant shall be given reasonable notice and an opportunity to voluntarily correct the violation within 30 days of the date of the notice, or such additional time as the State Conservationist determines is necessary to correct the violation. If the violation continues, the State Conservationist may terminate the 30-year contract or restoration cost-share agreement.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b)(1) of this section, a restoration cost-share agreement or 30-year contract termination is effective immediately upon a determination by the State Conservationist that the participant has:
(i) Submitted false information;
(ii) Filed a false claim;
(iii) Engaged in any act for which a finding of ineligibility for payments is permitted under this part; or
(iv) Taken actions NRCS deems to be sufficiently purposeful or negligent to warrant a termination without delay.
(3) If NRCS terminates a restoration cost-share agreement or 30-year contract, the participant will forfeit all rights for future payments under the restoration cost-share agreement or 30-year contract, and must refund all or part, as determined by NRCS, of the payments received, plus interest.