Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation for Fiscal Year 2020, 2281-2283 [2020-00304]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 10 / Wednesday, January 15, 2020 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1 TO § 2634.703—Continued Date of violation NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION Penalty 10 CFR Parts 2 and 13 Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015 .............................. 20,489 [NRC–2018–0048] RIN 3150–AK11 (b) This remedy shall be in addition to any other remedy available under statutory or common law. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES PART 2636—LIMITATIONS ON OUTSIDE EARNED INCOME, EMPLOYMENT AND AFFILIATIONS FOR CERTAIN NONCAREER EMPLOYEES Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation for Fiscal Year 2020 Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is amending its regulations to adjust the maximum civil ■ 5. The authority citation for part 2636 monetary penalties it can assess under continues to read as follows: statutes enforced by the agency. These changes are mandated by the Federal Authority: 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Government Act of 1978); Pub. L. 101–410, of 1990, as amended by the Federal 104 Stat. 890, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note (Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of Improvements Act of 2015. The NRC is 1990), as amended by Sec. 31001, Pub. L. amending its regulations to adjust the 104–134, 110 Stat. 1321 (Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996) and Sec. 701, Pub. maximum civil monetary penalty for a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of L. 114–74 (Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 1954, as amended, or any regulation or Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015); E.O. 12674, 54 FR 15159, 3 CFR, 1989 Comp., order issued under the Atomic Energy p. 215, as modified by E.O. 12731, 55 FR Act from $298,211 to $303,471 per 42547, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp., p. 306. violation, per day. Additionally, the NRC is amending provisions concerning ■ 6. Section 2636.104 is amended by program fraud civil penalties by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: adjusting the maximum civil monetary penalty under the Program Fraud Civil § 2636.104 Civil, disciplinary and other Remedies Act from $11,463 to $11,665 action. for each false claim or statement. (a) Civil action. Except when the DATES: This final rule is effective on employee engages in conduct in good January 15, 2020. faith reliance upon an advisory opinion ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID issued under § 2636.103, an employee who engages in any conduct in violation NRC–2018–0048 when contacting the NRC about the availability of of the prohibitions, limitations and information for this action. You may restrictions contained in this part may obtain publicly-available information be subject to civil action under 5 U.S.C. app. 504(a) and a civil monetary penalty related to this action by any of the following methods: of not more than the amounts set in • Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to Table 1 to this section, as adjusted in https://www.regulations.gov and search accordance with the inflation adjustment procedures prescribed in the for Docket ID NRC–2018–0048. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended, or Gallagher; telephone: 301–415–3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For the amount of the compensation the technical questions, contact the individual received for the prohibited individual listed in the FOR FURTHER conduct, whichever is greater. INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. TABLE 1 TO § 2636.104 • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System Date of violation Penalty (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclyavailable documents online in the Violation occurring between ADAMS Public Documents collection at Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2, 2015 .................................. $11,000 https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ Violation occurring after Nov. adams.html. To begin the search, select 2, 2015 .............................. 20,489 ‘‘Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.’’ For problems with ADAMS, please contact * * * * * the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) [FR Doc. 2020–00479 Filed 1–14–20; 8:45 am] reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301– BILLING CODE 6345–03–P 415–4737, or by email to pdr.resource@ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:02 Jan 14, 2020 Jkt 250001 SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2281 nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section. • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC’s PDR, Room O1–F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eric Michel, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, telephone: 301–415–0932; email: Eric.Michel2@ nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents: I. Background II. Discussion III. Rulemaking Procedure IV. Section-by-Section Analysis V. Regulatory Analysis VI. Regulatory Flexibility Act VII. Backfitting and Issue Finality VIII. Plain Writing IX. National Environmental Policy Act X. Paperwork Reduction Act XI. Congressional Review Act I. Background Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (FCPIAA) in 1990 to allow for regular adjustment for inflation of civil monetary penalties (CMPs), maintain the deterrent effect of such penalties and promote compliance with the law, and improve the collection of CMPs by the Federal Government (Pub. L. 101– 410, 104 Stat. 890; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). Pursuant to this authority, and as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104– 34, 110 Stat. 1321–373), the NRC increased via rulemaking the CMP amounts for violations of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (AEA) (codified at § 2.205 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR)) and Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act (codified at § 13.3) on four occasions between 1996 and 2008.1 On November 2, 2015, Congress amended the FCPIAA through the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 1 Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation, (73 FR 54671; Sept. 23, 2008); Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation, (69 FR 62393; Oct. 26, 2004); Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation; Miscellaneous Administrative Changes, (65 FR 59270; Oct. 4, 2000); Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties for Inflation, (61 FR 53554; Oct. 11, 1996). An adjustment was not performed in 2012 because the FCPIAA at the time required agencies to round their CMP amounts to the nearest multiple of $1,000 or $10,000, depending on the size of the CMP amount, and the 2012 adjustments based on the statutory formula were small enough that no adjustment resulted. E:\FR\FM\15JAR1.SGM 15JAR1 2282 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 10 / Wednesday, January 15, 2020 / Rules and Regulations jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Improvements Act) (Sec. 701, Pub. L. 114–74, 129 Stat. 599). The 2015 Improvements Act required that the head of each agency perform an initial ‘‘catch-up’’ adjustment via rulemaking, adjusting the CMPs enforced by that agency according to the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between the month of October 2015 and the month of October of the calendar year when the CMP amount was last established by Congress. The NRC performed this catch-up rulemaking on July 1, 2016 (81 FR 43019). The 2015 Improvements Act also requires that the head of each agency continue to adjust CMP amounts, rounded to the nearest dollar, on an annual basis. Specifically, each CMP is to be adjusted based on the percentage change between the CPI for the previous month of October, and the CPI for the month of October in the year preceding that. The NRC most recently adjusted its civil penalties for inflation according to this statutory formula on February 7, 2019 (84 FR 2433). This year’s adjustment is based on the percentage change between the CPI for October 2018 and October 2019. II. Discussion Section 234 of the AEA limits civil penalties for violations of the AEA to $100,000 per day, per violation (42 U.S.C. 2282). However, as discussed in Section I, ‘‘Background,’’ of this document, the NRC has increased this amount several times since 1996 per the FCPIAA, as amended. Using the formula in the 2015 Improvements Act, the $298,211 amount last established in February 2019 will increase by 1.764 percent, resulting in a new CMP amount of $303,471. This is based on the percentage change between the October 2018 CPI (252.885) and the October 2019 CPI (257.346). Therefore, the NRC is amending § 2.205 to reflect a new maximum CMP under the AEA in the amount of $303,471 per day, per violation. This represents an increase of $5,260. Monetary penalties under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act were established in 1986 at $5,000 per claim (Pub. L. 99–509, 100 Stat. 1938; 31 U.S.C. 3802). The NRC also has adjusted this amount (currently set at $11,463) multiple times pursuant to the FCPIAA, as amended, since 1996. Using the formula in the 2015 Improvements Act, the $11,463 amount last established in February 2019 will also increase by 1.764 percent, resulting in a new CMP amount of $11,665. Therefore, the NRC is amending § 13.3 to reflect a new VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:02 Jan 14, 2020 Jkt 250001 maximum CMP amount of $11,665 per claim or statement. This represents an increase of $202. As permitted by the 2015 Improvements Act, the NRC may apply these increased CMP amounts to any penalties assessed by the agency after the effective date of this rulemaking (January 15, 2020), regardless of whether the associated violation occurred before or after this date (Pub. L. 114–74, 129 Stat. 600; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). The NRC assesses civil penalty amounts for violations of the AEA based on the class of licensee and severity of the violation, in accordance with the NRC Enforcement Policy. A corresponding update to the NRC Enforcement Policy is being published today in the Rules section of the Federal Register to reflect the updated CMP amount in § 2.205 (Docket ID NRC– 2019–0242). III. Rulemaking Procedure The 2015 Improvements Act expressly exempts this final rule from the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, by directing agencies to adjust CMPs for inflation ‘‘notwithstanding section 553 of title 5, United States Code’’ (Pub. L. 114–74, 129 Stat. 599; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). As such, this final rule is being issued without prior public notice or opportunity for public comment, with an effective date of January 15, 2020. IV. Section-by-Section Analysis § 2.205 Civil Penalties This final rule revises paragraph (j) by replacing ‘‘$298,211’’ with ‘‘$303,471’’. § 13.3 Basis for Civil Penalties and Assessments This final rule revises paragraphs (a)(1)(iv) and (b)(1)(ii) by replacing ‘‘$11,463’’ with ‘‘$11,665’’. V. Regulatory Analysis This final rule adjusts for inflation the maximum CMPs the NRC may assess under the AEA and under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986. The formula for determining the amount of the adjustment is mandated by Congress in the FCPIAA, as amended by the 2015 Improvements Act (codified at 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). Congress passed this legislation on the basis of its findings that the power to impose monetary civil penalties is important to deterring violations of Federal law and furthering the policy goals of Federal laws and regulations. Congress has also found that inflation diminishes the impact of these penalties and their effect. The principal purposes of this legislation are to provide for adjustment of civil PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 monetary penalties for inflation, maintain the deterrent effect of civil monetary penalties, and promote compliance with the law. Therefore, these are the anticipated impacts of this rulemaking. Direct monetary impacts fall only upon licensees or other persons subjected to NRC enforcement for violations of the AEA and regulations and orders issued under the AEA (§ 2.205), or those licensees or persons subjected to liability pursuant to the provisions of the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986 (31 U.S.C. 3801– 3812) and the NRC’s implementing regulations (10 CFR part 13). VI. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply to regulations for which a Federal agency is not required by law, including the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C 553(b), to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking (5 U.S.C. 604). As discussed in this notice under Section III., ‘‘Rulemaking Procedure,’’ the NRC has determined that this final rule is exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and notice and comment need not be provided. Accordingly, the NRC also determines that the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act do not apply to this final rule. VII. Backfit and Issue Finality The NRC has not prepared a backfit analysis for this final rule. This final rule does not involve any provision that would impose a backfit, nor is it inconsistent with any issue finality provision, as those terms are defined in 10 CFR chapter I. As mandated by Congress, this final rule increases CMP amounts for violations of alreadyexisting NRC regulations and requirements. This final rule does not modify any licensee systems, structures, components, designs, approvals, or procedures required for the construction or operation of any facility. VIII. Plain Writing The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111–274) requires Federal agencies to write documents in a clear, concise, and well-organized manner. The NRC has written this document to be consistent with the Plain Writing Act as well as the Presidential Memorandum, ‘‘Plain Language in Government Writing,’’ published June 10, 1998 (63 FR 31883). IX. National Environmental Policy Act The NRC has determined that this final rule is the type of action described as a categorical exclusion in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(1). Therefore, neither an E:\FR\FM\15JAR1.SGM 15JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 10 / Wednesday, January 15, 2020 / Rules and Regulations environmental impact statement nor an environmental assessment has been prepared for this final rule. X. Paperwork Reduction Act This final rule does not contain a collection of information as defined in the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and, therefore, is not subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. XI. Congressional Review Act This final rule is a rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801–808). However, the Office of Management and Budget has not found it to be a major rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act. List of Subjects [Amended] 2. In § 2.205(j), remove the amount ‘‘$298,211’’ and add in its place the amount ‘‘$303.471’’. ■ PART 13—PROGRAM FRAUD CIVIL REMEDIES 3. The authority citation for part 13 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 31 U.S.C. 3801 through 3812; 44 U.S.C. 3504 note. Section 13.3 also issued under 28 U.S.C. 2461 note. Section 13.13 also issued under 31 U.S.C. 3730. § 13.3 [Amended] 4. In § 13.3(a)(1)(iv) and (b)(1)(ii), remove the amount ‘‘$11,463’’ and add in its place the amount ‘‘$11,665’’. ■ 10 CFR Part 2 Administrative practice and procedure, Antitrust, Byproduct material, Classified information, Confidential business information, Environmental protection, Freedom of information, Hazardous waste, Nuclear energy, Nuclear materials, Nuclear power plants and reactors, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sex discrimination, Source material, Special nuclear material, Waste treatment and disposal. Dated in Rockville, Maryland, this 31st day of December 2019. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Margaret M. Doane, Executive Director for Operations. 10 CFR Part 13 Administrative practice and procedure, Claims, Fraud, Organization and function (Government agencies), Penalties. For the reasons set out in the preamble and under the authority of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended; the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note; and 5 U.S.C. 552 and 553, the NRC is adopting the following amendments to 10 CFR parts 2 and 13: RIN 3055–AA16 PART 2—AGENCY RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE 1. The authority citation for part 2 is revised to read as follows: ■ jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES § 2.205 Authority: Atomic Energy Act of 1954, secs. 29, 53, 62, 63, 81, 102, 103, 104, 105, 161, 181, 182, 183, 184, 186, 189, 191, 234 (42 U.S.C. 2039, 2073, 2092, 2093, 2111, 2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2201, 2231, 2232, 2233, 2234, 2236, 2239, 2241, 2282); Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, secs. 201, 206 (42 U.S.C. 5841, 5846); Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, secs. 114(f), 134, 135, 141 (42 U.S.C. 10134(f), 10154, 10155, 10161); Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 552, 553, 554, 557, 558); National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332); 44 U.S.C. 3504 note. Section 2.205(j) also issued under 28 U.S.C. 2461 note. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:02 Jan 14, 2020 Jkt 250001 [FR Doc. 2020–00304 Filed 1–14–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P FARM CREDIT SYSTEM INSURANCE CORPORATION 12 CFR Part 1411 Rules of Practice and Procedure; Adjusting Civil Money Penalties for Inflation Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This rule implements inflation adjustments to civil money penalties (CMPs) that the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation (FCSIC) may impose under the Farm Credit Act of 1971, as amended. These adjustments are required by 2015 amendments to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990. DATES: Effective date: This regulation is effective on January 15, 2020. Applicability date: The adjusted amounts of civil money penalties in this rule are applicable to penalties assessed on or after January 15, 2019, for conduct occurring on or after November 2, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn M. Powalski, General Counsel, Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation, 1501 Farm Credit Drive, McLean, Virginia 22102, (703) 883– 4380, TTY (703) 883–4390. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2283 I. Background The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (the 2015 Act) amended the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (the Inflation Adjustment Act) 1 to improve the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties and to maintain their deterrent effect. The Inflation Adjustment Act provides for the regular evaluation of CMPs and requires FCSIC, and every other Federal agency with authority to impose CMPs, to ensure that CMPs continue to maintain their deterrent values.2 FCSIC must enact regulations that annually adjust its CMPs pursuant to the inflation adjustment formula of the amended Inflation Adjustment Act and rounded using a method prescribed by the Inflation Adjustment Act. The new amounts are applicable to penalties assessed on or after January 15, 2019, for conduct occurring on or after November 2, 2015. Agencies do not have discretion in choosing whether to adjust a CMP, by how much to adjust a CMP, or the methods used to determine the adjustment. II. CMPs Imposed Pursuant to Section 5.65 of the Farm Credit Act First, section 5.65(c) of the Farm Credit Act, as amended (Act), provides that any insured Farm Credit System bank that willfully fails or refuses to file any certified statement or pay any required premium shall be subject to a penalty of not more than $100 for each day that such violations continue, which penalty FCSIC may recover for its use.3 Second, section 5.65(d) of the Act provides that, except with the prior written consent of the Farm Credit Administration, it shall be unlawful for any person convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or a breach of trust to serve as a director, officer, or employee of any System institution.4 For each willful violation of section 5.65(d), the institution involved shall be subject to a penalty of not more than 1 Public Law 101–410, 104 Stat. 890 (Oct. 5, 1990), as amended by Public Law 104–134, title III, sec. 31001(s)(1), 110 Stat. 1321–373 (Apr. 26, 1996); Public Law 105–362, title XIII, sec. 1301(a), 112 Stat. 3293 (Nov. 10, 1998); Public Law 114–74, title VII, sec. 701(b), 129 Stat. 599 (Nov. 2, 2015), codified at 28 U.S.C. 2461 note. 2 Under the amended Inflation Adjustment Act, a CMP is defined as any penalty, fine, or other sanction that: (1) Either is for a specific monetary amount as provided by Federal law or has a maximum amount provided for by Federal law; (2) is assessed or enforced by an agency pursuant to Federal law; and (3) is assessed or enforced pursuant to an administrative proceeding or a civil action in the Federal courts. All three requirements must be met for a fine to be considered a CMP. 3 12 U.S.C. 2277a–14(c). 4 12 U.S.C. 2277a–14(d). E:\FR\FM\15JAR1.SGM 15JAR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 10 (Wednesday, January 15, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2281-2283]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-00304]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Parts 2 and 13

[NRC-2018-0048]
RIN 3150-AK11


Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation for Fiscal Year 2020

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is amending its 
regulations to adjust the maximum civil monetary penalties it can 
assess under statutes enforced by the agency. These changes are 
mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 
1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment 
Act Improvements Act of 2015. The NRC is amending its regulations to 
adjust the maximum civil monetary penalty for a violation of the Atomic 
Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or any regulation or order issued under 
the Atomic Energy Act from $298,211 to $303,471 per violation, per day. 
Additionally, the NRC is amending provisions concerning program fraud 
civil penalties by adjusting the maximum civil monetary penalty under 
the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act from $11,463 to $11,665 for each 
false claim or statement.

DATES: This final rule is effective on January 15, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2018-0048 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may 
obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of 
the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2018-0048. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; email: [email protected]. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ``Begin Web-based ADAMS 
Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or 
by email to [email protected]. The ADAMS accession number for each 
document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first 
time that it is mentioned in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eric Michel, Office of the General 
Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, 
telephone: 301-415-0932; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents:

I. Background
II. Discussion
III. Rulemaking Procedure
IV. Section-by-Section Analysis
V. Regulatory Analysis
VI. Regulatory Flexibility Act
VII. Backfitting and Issue Finality
VIII. Plain Writing
IX. National Environmental Policy Act
X. Paperwork Reduction Act
XI. Congressional Review Act

I. Background

    Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment 
Act of 1990 (FCPIAA) in 1990 to allow for regular adjustment for 
inflation of civil monetary penalties (CMPs), maintain the deterrent 
effect of such penalties and promote compliance with the law, and 
improve the collection of CMPs by the Federal Government (Pub. L. 101-
410, 104 Stat. 890; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). Pursuant to this authority, 
and as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 
104-34, 110 Stat. 1321-373), the NRC increased via rulemaking the CMP 
amounts for violations of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended 
(AEA) (codified at Sec.  2.205 of title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR)) and Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act (codified at 
Sec.  13.3) on four occasions between 1996 and 2008.\1\
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    \1\ Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation, (73 FR 54671; 
Sept. 23, 2008); Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation, (69 FR 
62393; Oct. 26, 2004); Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation; 
Miscellaneous Administrative Changes, (65 FR 59270; Oct. 4, 2000); 
Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties for Inflation, (61 FR 53554; 
Oct. 11, 1996). An adjustment was not performed in 2012 because the 
FCPIAA at the time required agencies to round their CMP amounts to 
the nearest multiple of $1,000 or $10,000, depending on the size of 
the CMP amount, and the 2012 adjustments based on the statutory 
formula were small enough that no adjustment resulted.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On November 2, 2015, Congress amended the FCPIAA through the 
Federal Civil Penalties Inflation

[[Page 2282]]

Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Improvements Act) (Sec. 
701, Pub. L. 114-74, 129 Stat. 599). The 2015 Improvements Act required 
that the head of each agency perform an initial ``catch-up'' adjustment 
via rulemaking, adjusting the CMPs enforced by that agency according to 
the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between the 
month of October 2015 and the month of October of the calendar year 
when the CMP amount was last established by Congress. The NRC performed 
this catch-up rulemaking on July 1, 2016 (81 FR 43019).
    The 2015 Improvements Act also requires that the head of each 
agency continue to adjust CMP amounts, rounded to the nearest dollar, 
on an annual basis. Specifically, each CMP is to be adjusted based on 
the percentage change between the CPI for the previous month of 
October, and the CPI for the month of October in the year preceding 
that. The NRC most recently adjusted its civil penalties for inflation 
according to this statutory formula on February 7, 2019 (84 FR 2433). 
This year's adjustment is based on the percentage change between the 
CPI for October 2018 and October 2019.

II. Discussion

    Section 234 of the AEA limits civil penalties for violations of the 
AEA to $100,000 per day, per violation (42 U.S.C. 2282). However, as 
discussed in Section I, ``Background,'' of this document, the NRC has 
increased this amount several times since 1996 per the FCPIAA, as 
amended. Using the formula in the 2015 Improvements Act, the $298,211 
amount last established in February 2019 will increase by 1.764 
percent, resulting in a new CMP amount of $303,471. This is based on 
the percentage change between the October 2018 CPI (252.885) and the 
October 2019 CPI (257.346). Therefore, the NRC is amending Sec.  2.205 
to reflect a new maximum CMP under the AEA in the amount of $303,471 
per day, per violation. This represents an increase of $5,260.
    Monetary penalties under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act were 
established in 1986 at $5,000 per claim (Pub. L. 99-509, 100 Stat. 
1938; 31 U.S.C. 3802). The NRC also has adjusted this amount (currently 
set at $11,463) multiple times pursuant to the FCPIAA, as amended, 
since 1996. Using the formula in the 2015 Improvements Act, the $11,463 
amount last established in February 2019 will also increase by 1.764 
percent, resulting in a new CMP amount of $11,665. Therefore, the NRC 
is amending Sec.  13.3 to reflect a new maximum CMP amount of $11,665 
per claim or statement. This represents an increase of $202.
    As permitted by the 2015 Improvements Act, the NRC may apply these 
increased CMP amounts to any penalties assessed by the agency after the 
effective date of this rulemaking (January 15, 2020), regardless of 
whether the associated violation occurred before or after this date 
(Pub. L. 114-74, 129 Stat. 600; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). The NRC assesses 
civil penalty amounts for violations of the AEA based on the class of 
licensee and severity of the violation, in accordance with the NRC 
Enforcement Policy. A corresponding update to the NRC Enforcement 
Policy is being published today in the Rules section of the Federal 
Register to reflect the updated CMP amount in Sec.  2.205 (Docket ID 
NRC-2019-0242).

III. Rulemaking Procedure

    The 2015 Improvements Act expressly exempts this final rule from 
the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure 
Act, by directing agencies to adjust CMPs for inflation 
``notwithstanding section 553 of title 5, United States Code'' (Pub. L. 
114-74, 129 Stat. 599; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). As such, this final rule 
is being issued without prior public notice or opportunity for public 
comment, with an effective date of January 15, 2020.

IV. Section-by-Section Analysis

Sec.  2.205 Civil Penalties

    This final rule revises paragraph (j) by replacing ``$298,211'' 
with ``$303,471''.

Sec.  13.3 Basis for Civil Penalties and Assessments

    This final rule revises paragraphs (a)(1)(iv) and (b)(1)(ii) by 
replacing ``$11,463'' with ``$11,665''.

V. Regulatory Analysis

    This final rule adjusts for inflation the maximum CMPs the NRC may 
assess under the AEA and under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 
1986. The formula for determining the amount of the adjustment is 
mandated by Congress in the FCPIAA, as amended by the 2015 Improvements 
Act (codified at 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). Congress passed this legislation 
on the basis of its findings that the power to impose monetary civil 
penalties is important to deterring violations of Federal law and 
furthering the policy goals of Federal laws and regulations. Congress 
has also found that inflation diminishes the impact of these penalties 
and their effect. The principal purposes of this legislation are to 
provide for adjustment of civil monetary penalties for inflation, 
maintain the deterrent effect of civil monetary penalties, and promote 
compliance with the law. Therefore, these are the anticipated impacts 
of this rulemaking. Direct monetary impacts fall only upon licensees or 
other persons subjected to NRC enforcement for violations of the AEA 
and regulations and orders issued under the AEA (Sec.  2.205), or those 
licensees or persons subjected to liability pursuant to the provisions 
of the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986 (31 U.S.C. 3801-3812) 
and the NRC's implementing regulations (10 CFR part 13).

VI. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply to regulations for 
which a Federal agency is not required by law, including the rulemaking 
provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C 553(b), to 
publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking (5 U.S.C. 604). As 
discussed in this notice under Section III., ``Rulemaking Procedure,'' 
the NRC has determined that this final rule is exempt from the 
requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and notice and comment need not be 
provided. Accordingly, the NRC also determines that the requirements of 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act do not apply to this final rule.

VII. Backfit and Issue Finality

    The NRC has not prepared a backfit analysis for this final rule. 
This final rule does not involve any provision that would impose a 
backfit, nor is it inconsistent with any issue finality provision, as 
those terms are defined in 10 CFR chapter I. As mandated by Congress, 
this final rule increases CMP amounts for violations of already-
existing NRC regulations and requirements. This final rule does not 
modify any licensee systems, structures, components, designs, 
approvals, or procedures required for the construction or operation of 
any facility.

VIII. Plain Writing

    The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-274) requires Federal 
agencies to write documents in a clear, concise, and well-organized 
manner. The NRC has written this document to be consistent with the 
Plain Writing Act as well as the Presidential Memorandum, ``Plain 
Language in Government Writing,'' published June 10, 1998 (63 FR 
31883).

IX. National Environmental Policy Act

    The NRC has determined that this final rule is the type of action 
described as a categorical exclusion in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(1). Therefore, 
neither an

[[Page 2283]]

environmental impact statement nor an environmental assessment has been 
prepared for this final rule.

X. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule does not contain a collection of information as 
defined in the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) 
and, therefore, is not subject to the requirements of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995.

XI. Congressional Review Act

    This final rule is a rule as defined in the Congressional Review 
Act (5 U.S.C. 801-808). However, the Office of Management and Budget 
has not found it to be a major rule as defined in the Congressional 
Review Act.

List of Subjects

10 CFR Part 2

    Administrative practice and procedure, Antitrust, Byproduct 
material, Classified information, Confidential business information, 
Environmental protection, Freedom of information, Hazardous waste, 
Nuclear energy, Nuclear materials, Nuclear power plants and reactors, 
Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sex 
discrimination, Source material, Special nuclear material, Waste 
treatment and disposal.

10 CFR Part 13

    Administrative practice and procedure, Claims, Fraud, Organization 
and function (Government agencies), Penalties.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble and under the authority of 
the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended; the Energy Reorganization 
Act of 1974, as amended; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note; and 5 U.S.C. 552 and 553, 
the NRC is adopting the following amendments to 10 CFR parts 2 and 13:

PART 2--AGENCY RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

0
1. The authority citation for part 2 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  Atomic Energy Act of 1954, secs. 29, 53, 62, 63, 81, 
102, 103, 104, 105, 161, 181, 182, 183, 184, 186, 189, 191, 234 (42 
U.S.C. 2039, 2073, 2092, 2093, 2111, 2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2201, 
2231, 2232, 2233, 2234, 2236, 2239, 2241, 2282); Energy 
Reorganization Act of 1974, secs. 201, 206 (42 U.S.C. 5841, 5846); 
Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, secs. 114(f), 134, 135, 141 (42 
U.S.C. 10134(f), 10154, 10155, 10161); Administrative Procedure Act 
(5 U.S.C. 552, 553, 554, 557, 558); National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332); 44 U.S.C. 3504 note.
    Section 2.205(j) also issued under 28 U.S.C. 2461 note.


Sec.  2.205   [Amended]

0
2. In Sec.  2.205(j), remove the amount ``$298,211'' and add in its 
place the amount ``$303.471''.

PART 13--PROGRAM FRAUD CIVIL REMEDIES

0
3. The authority citation for part 13 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  31 U.S.C. 3801 through 3812; 44 U.S.C. 3504 note.
    Section 13.3 also issued under 28 U.S.C. 2461 note.
    Section 13.13 also issued under 31 U.S.C. 3730.


Sec.  13.3   [Amended]

0
4. In Sec.  13.3(a)(1)(iv) and (b)(1)(ii), remove the amount 
``$11,463'' and add in its place the amount ``$11,665''.

    Dated in Rockville, Maryland, this 31st day of December 2019.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Margaret M. Doane,
Executive Director for Operations.
[FR Doc. 2020-00304 Filed 1-14-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7590-01-P