Revisions to NOAA's Policy for the Assessment of Civil Administrative Penalties and Permit Sanctions, 18808-18809 [2019-08895]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 18808 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 85 / Thursday, May 2, 2019 / Notices Endangered Species Act Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, NMFS consults internally, in this case with the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO), whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species. The NMFS Office of Protected Resources is authorizing the incidental take of three species of marine mammals which are listed under the ESA: The North Atlantic right, fin, and sperm whale. BOEM consulted with NMFS GARFO under section 7 of the ESA on commercial wind lease issuance and site assessment activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey Wind Energy Areas. NMFS GARFO issued a programmatic Biological Opinion in 2013 concluding that these activities may adversely affect but are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the North Atlantic right, fin, and sperm whale. The Biological Opinion was later amended to include the Office of Protected Resources as an action agency. The Biological Opinion can be found online at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-mammal-protection/ incidental-take-authorizations-otherenergy-activities-renewable. The programmatic consultation established a procedure for reviewing future actions to determine if they and their effects fell within the scope of the Biological Opinion, and noted that for future MMPA authorizations for such activities, the Biological Opinion’s incidental take statement (ITS) could be amended to exempt the take of ESA listed marine mammals. In April 2018, NMFS GARFO amended the ITS to exempt the take of right, sperm and fin whales as a result of the site characterization surveys authorized via the previously issued IHA. NMFS GARFO has determined that the 2013 Biological Opinion remains valid and that this MMPA authorization provides no new information about the effects of the action, nor does it change the extent of effects of the action, or any other basis to require reinitiation of the opinion. The Biological Opinion meets the requirements of section 7(a)(2) of the ESA and implementing regulations at 50 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:51 May 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 CFR 402 for our issuance of an IHA under the MMPA, and no further consultation is required. Renewal NMFS has issued an IHA Renewal to Equinor for conducting marine site characterization surveys off the coast of New York and coastal waters where cable route corridors will be established, from April 24, 2019 through April 23, 2020. Dated: April 29, 2019. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–08949 Filed 5–1–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Docket No. 190325274–9274–01] RIN 0648–XG926 Revisions to NOAA’s Policy for the Assessment of Civil Administrative Penalties and Permit Sanctions Office of General Counsel (OGC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announces the availability of draft revisions to NOAA’s Policy for the Assessment of Civil Administrative Penalties and Permit Sanctions (Penalty Policy) for public review and comment. The revisions to the policy reflect new legislation enacted and regulations promulgated, the most recent adjustments to the maximum civil monetary penalties authorized under statutes administered and enforced by NOAA, pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, and clarifications to improve enforcement consistency nationally, increase predictability in enforcement, improve transparency in enforcement, and more effectively protect natural resources. DATES: The draft revisions to the Penalty Policy will remain available for public review until June 3, 2019. To ensure that comments will be considered, NOAA must receive written comments by June 3, 2019. ADDRESSES: Interested persons may submit comments by any of the following methods: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Electronic Submissions: Submit electronic public comments, identified by NOAA–HQ–2019–0029, at http:// www.regulations.gov. The docket established for this rule-making can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-HQ-2019-0029. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Enforcement Section, Office of the General Counsel, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1315 East-West Highway, SSMC–3 15424, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Attn: Meggan Engelke-Ros. The draft revisions to the Penalty Policy are available electronically at the following website: https:/ www.gc.noaa.gov/enforce-office3.html. Commenters may also request a hard copy of the draft revisions to the Penalty Policy by sending a self-addressed envelope (size 8.5 x 11 inches) to the street address provided above. Comments submitted in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in a comment, please be aware that comments—including any personal identifying information—can and will be made publicly available. While a request can be made to withhold personal identifying information from public review, NOAA cannot ensure that it will be able to do so. Comments submitted electronically will generally be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov without change. For posted comments, all personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender is publicly accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Meggan Engelke-Ros at 301–427–2202. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 14, 2011, NOAA published its new NOAA Policy for the Assessment of Civil Administrative Penalties and Permit Sanctions (76 FR 20959). On July 1, 2014, NOAA issued a revised Penalty Policy. As explained more fully in the text of the revised Penalty Policy, the purpose of this Policy is to continue to ensure that: (1) Civil administrative penalties and permit sanctions are assessed in accordance with the laws that NOAA enforces in a fair and consistent manner; (2) penalties and permit sanctions are appropriate for the gravity of the violation; (3) penalties and E:\FR\FM\02MYN1.SGM 02MYN1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 85 / Thursday, May 2, 2019 / Notices permit sanctions are sufficient to deter both individual violators and the regulated community as a whole from committing violations; (4) economic incentives for noncompliance are eliminated; and (5) compliance is expeditiously achieved and maintained to protect natural resources. This revised Penalty Policy also reflects legislation passed and regulations promulgated since issuance of the 2014 Policy, in particular: • The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015, Public Law 114–81, which implemented the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and amended the enforcement provisions of a number of statutes administered by NOAA; and • The most recent adjustments to the maximum civil monetary penalties authorized under statutes administered and enforced by NOAA, pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (see 84 FR 2445, February 7, 2019). Under this revised Policy, NOAA will continue to promote consistency at a national level, provide greater predictability for the regulated community and the public, maintain transparency in enforcement, and more effectively protect natural resources. The major changes to the existing Penalty Policy made by this revision include: (1) Additional clarity on what would be considered ‘‘such other matters as justice may require’’ under the adjustment factors; (2) Clarification on our policy for when and how the newly adjusted statutory penalty maximums will apply; (3) Clarification of the policy on application of prior offenses to penalty assessments; (4) Updates to the penalty schedules to reflect new statutory authorities or regulations; (5) Adjustments to the penalty matrixes to reflect the most recent adjustments to the maximum civil monetary penalties. Some of the statutory adjustments to the maximum civil monetary penalties were significant and required a rebalancing of our distribution of the penalty ranges in the penalty matrixes. In making these adjustments, there were two primary considerations that affected the revised penalty matrixes. First, for each matrix that was adjusted, a percentage increase was applied across the entire matrix and the percentage increase was, in all cases, less than the percentage increase to the statutory maximum (numbers were rounded). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:51 May 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 This was done so as to take a conservative approach to the statutory penalty increases, which reflected a ‘‘catch-up’’ application of adjustments for inflation causing some significant penalty increases. Second, the matrixes were adjusted to ensure each individual matrix utilized the full penalty range in a balanced manner so that the penalty ranges increased gradually as the gravity level of the violations increased, rather than having an exponential increase in penalty ranges from one gravity level to the next. The revised Penalty Policy will supersede the previous Penalty Policy regarding the assessment of penalties or permit sanctions, and previous penalty and permit sanction schedules issued by the NOAA Office of General Counsel. This Penalty Policy provides guidance for the NOAA General Counsel’s Office in assessing penalties but is not intended to create a right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, in any person or company. NOAA retains discretion to assess the full range of penalties authorized by statute in any particular case. The full revised Penalty Policy, along with examples, matrixes, and schedules can be found at https:// www.gc.noaa.gov/enforce-office3.html. More information about the NOAA General Counsel Enforcement Section can be found at https:// www.gc.noaa.gov/enforce-office.html. Dated: April 25, 2019. Jeff Dillen, Deputy General Counsel, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 2019–08895 Filed 5–1–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XG818 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Navy Target and Missile Launch Activities on San Nicolas Island, California National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for comments on proposed authorization and possible renewal. AGENCY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18809 authorization to take marine mammals incidental to target and missile launch activities on San Nicolas Island (SNI), California for the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), Point Mugu Sea Range (PMSR). Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS is also requesting comments on a possible one-year renewal that could be issued under certain circumstances and if all requirements are met, as described in Request for Public Comments at the end of this notice. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision. The Navy’s activity is considered a military readiness activity pursuant to MMPA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (NDAA). DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than June 3, 2019. ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 EastWest Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to ITP.Egger@noaa.gov. Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Egger, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list E:\FR\FM\02MYN1.SGM 02MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 85 (Thursday, May 2, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18808-18809]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-08895]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[Docket No. 190325274-9274-01]
RIN 0648-XG926


Revisions to NOAA's Policy for the Assessment of Civil 
Administrative Penalties and Permit Sanctions

AGENCY: Office of General Counsel (OGC), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
announces the availability of draft revisions to NOAA's Policy for the 
Assessment of Civil Administrative Penalties and Permit Sanctions 
(Penalty Policy) for public review and comment. The revisions to the 
policy reflect new legislation enacted and regulations promulgated, the 
most recent adjustments to the maximum civil monetary penalties 
authorized under statutes administered and enforced by NOAA, pursuant 
to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, and 
clarifications to improve enforcement consistency nationally, increase 
predictability in enforcement, improve transparency in enforcement, and 
more effectively protect natural resources.

DATES: The draft revisions to the Penalty Policy will remain available 
for public review until June 3, 2019. To ensure that comments will be 
considered, NOAA must receive written comments by June 3, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons may submit comments by any of the 
following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit electronic public comments, 
identified by NOAA-HQ-2019-0029, at http://www.regulations.gov. The 
docket established for this rule-making can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-HQ-2019-0029. Click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Enforcement Section, Office of the General Counsel, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1315 East-West 
Highway, SSMC-3 15424, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Attn: Meggan Engelke-
Ros.
    The draft revisions to the Penalty Policy are available 
electronically at the following website: https:/www.gc.noaa.gov/
enforce-office3.html. Commenters may also request a hard copy of the 
draft revisions to the Penalty Policy by sending a self-addressed 
envelope (size 8.5 x 11 inches) to the street address provided above. 
Comments submitted in response to this notice are a matter of public 
record. Before including an address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in a comment, please be aware 
that comments--including any personal identifying information--can and 
will be made publicly available. While a request can be made to 
withhold personal identifying information from public review, NOAA 
cannot ensure that it will be able to do so.
    Comments submitted electronically will generally be posted to 
http://www.regulations.gov without change. For posted comments, all 
personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), 
confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information 
submitted voluntarily by the sender is publicly accessible. NOAA will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Meggan Engelke-Ros at 301-427-2202.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 14, 2011, NOAA published its new 
NOAA Policy for the Assessment of Civil Administrative Penalties and 
Permit Sanctions (76 FR 20959). On July 1, 2014, NOAA issued a revised 
Penalty Policy. As explained more fully in the text of the revised 
Penalty Policy, the purpose of this Policy is to continue to ensure 
that: (1) Civil administrative penalties and permit sanctions are 
assessed in accordance with the laws that NOAA enforces in a fair and 
consistent manner; (2) penalties and permit sanctions are appropriate 
for the gravity of the violation; (3) penalties and

[[Page 18809]]

permit sanctions are sufficient to deter both individual violators and 
the regulated community as a whole from committing violations; (4) 
economic incentives for noncompliance are eliminated; and (5) 
compliance is expeditiously achieved and maintained to protect natural 
resources.
    This revised Penalty Policy also reflects legislation passed and 
regulations promulgated since issuance of the 2014 Policy, in 
particular:
     The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing 
Enforcement Act of 2015, Public Law 114-81, which implemented the 
Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate 
Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and amended the 
enforcement provisions of a number of statutes administered by NOAA; 
and
     The most recent adjustments to the maximum civil monetary 
penalties authorized under statutes administered and enforced by NOAA, 
pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 
1990 (see 84 FR 2445, February 7, 2019).
    Under this revised Policy, NOAA will continue to promote 
consistency at a national level, provide greater predictability for the 
regulated community and the public, maintain transparency in 
enforcement, and more effectively protect natural resources. The major 
changes to the existing Penalty Policy made by this revision include:
    (1) Additional clarity on what would be considered ``such other 
matters as justice may require'' under the adjustment factors;
    (2) Clarification on our policy for when and how the newly adjusted 
statutory penalty maximums will apply;
    (3) Clarification of the policy on application of prior offenses to 
penalty assessments;
    (4) Updates to the penalty schedules to reflect new statutory 
authorities or regulations;
    (5) Adjustments to the penalty matrixes to reflect the most recent 
adjustments to the maximum civil monetary penalties.
    Some of the statutory adjustments to the maximum civil monetary 
penalties were significant and required a rebalancing of our 
distribution of the penalty ranges in the penalty matrixes. In making 
these adjustments, there were two primary considerations that affected 
the revised penalty matrixes. First, for each matrix that was adjusted, 
a percentage increase was applied across the entire matrix and the 
percentage increase was, in all cases, less than the percentage 
increase to the statutory maximum (numbers were rounded). This was done 
so as to take a conservative approach to the statutory penalty 
increases, which reflected a ``catch-up'' application of adjustments 
for inflation causing some significant penalty increases. Second, the 
matrixes were adjusted to ensure each individual matrix utilized the 
full penalty range in a balanced manner so that the penalty ranges 
increased gradually as the gravity level of the violations increased, 
rather than having an exponential increase in penalty ranges from one 
gravity level to the next.
    The revised Penalty Policy will supersede the previous Penalty 
Policy regarding the assessment of penalties or permit sanctions, and 
previous penalty and permit sanction schedules issued by the NOAA 
Office of General Counsel. This Penalty Policy provides guidance for 
the NOAA General Counsel's Office in assessing penalties but is not 
intended to create a right or benefit, substantive or procedural, 
enforceable at law or in equity, in any person or company. NOAA retains 
discretion to assess the full range of penalties authorized by statute 
in any particular case.
    The full revised Penalty Policy, along with examples, matrixes, and 
schedules can be found at https://www.gc.noaa.gov/enforce-office3.html. 
More information about the NOAA General Counsel Enforcement Section can 
be found at https://www.gc.noaa.gov/enforce-office.html.

    Dated: April 25, 2019.
Jeff Dillen,
Deputy General Counsel, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration.
[FR Doc. 2019-08895 Filed 5-1-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P