Guidance On Federal Field Citation Enforcement OSWER Directive 9610.16 October 6, 1993
- Concurrence Memorandums
- Revisions to the Directive
- I. Federal Enforcement
- II. Regional Program Elements
- Selected Violations of Federal Underground Storage Tank Regulations
- Expedited Enforcement Compliance Order and Settlement Agreement
- Expedited Enforcement Compliance Order and Settlement Agreement--FOR APPROVED STATES
NOTE: The document you are viewing is an HTML facsimile of OSWER Directive 9610.16 that has been reformatted for the Internet. This version maintains as much as possible of the original document integrity. Only a couple of non-essential elements are missing, namely facsimiles of the OSWER Directive cover page, and EPA Form 1315-17 (the Directive Initiation Request). Also, the original typed document had the directive number as a header on each page--in this version the directive number appears at the beginning of each new section.
OSWER Directive 9610.16
October 6, 1993 MEMORANDUM SUBJECT: UST Federal Field Citation Enforcement FROM: David Ziegele, Director Office of Underground Storage Tanks TO: Waste Management Division Directors, Regions 1-3 and 5-9 Water Division Directors, Regions 4 and 10 Regional Counsel, Regions 1-10 The Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) is today issuing as OSWER Directive 9610.16 revised guidance for UST federal field citation enforcement. This guidance replaces OSWER Directive 9610.14, issued on April 9, 1992. During the past year and one-half five additional regions have instituted field citation programs, bringing the total number to eight. The additional experience gained during this period has let EPA to revise its federal field citation program. In February of this year a conference on federal field citations, sponsored by OUST, the Office of Enforcement (OE), and the Office of General Counsel (OGC), was held in Denver, CO. Attending from the regions were the UST regional program managers, staff and attorneys. The purpose of the conference was to review the federal field citation program and, based upon the experience to date, revise and expand it as appropriate. The Denver conference produced a list of recommendations for revision of the program. OUST has coordinated this effort, getting significant input from the regions, OE and OGC. Two drafts of this document have been circulated for review during these past few months. Attached is the revised UST federal field citation guidance. The major changes to the document are listed in an attachment to this memo entitled, Revisions to Guidance for Federal Field Citation Enforcement, October 1993. These changes broaden the scope of the program by expanding its coverage to include "environmentally sensitive" areas and by significantly increasing the number of violations that are "citable" with field citations. In addition, this guidance includes procedures for issuance of field citations in approved and codified states, contains a substitute citation form for use in approved states, and specifies the limited circumstances in which EPA may issue citations in such states. (If EPA issues field citations in states which have been approved but not yet codified, the regional inspector should use the substitute citation form marked "For Approved States", writing down the comparable federal violations cited in addition to the state violations cited.) This guidance does not contain new information on the issuance of field citations at federal facilities. A section for this purpose has been reserved. In the interim, if a region decides to issue a field citation at a federal facility, it should carry no penalty. Additional topics discussed at Denver which have not been incorporated into this document include the tracking of field citations which have been issued, and the deputizing of state or local government inspectors to issue citations. This revised UST federal field citation guidance has received formal concurrence (copies attached) from the Office of Enforcement and the Office of General Counsel. Special thanks to all those who have participated in the extended process to improve this guidance. Please contact Jerry Parker of my staff (703 308-8884) with any questions or comments. Attachments cc: UST/LUST Regional Branch Chiefs UST/LUST Regional Program Managers Regional UST Attorneys Susan O'Keefe, OE Lisa K. Friedman, OGC Milton Robinson, OE Sheila Igoe, OGC OUST Management Team (w/o attachments) OUST Desk Officers (w/o attachments)
OSWER Directive 9610.16
October 5, 1993 MEMORANDUM SUBJECT: Guidance for Federal Field Citation Enforcement FROM: David Ziegele, Director Office of Underground Storage Tanks TO: Susan O'Keefe, Acting Enforcement Counsel for RCRA Enforcement RCRA Enforcement Division Attached is the revised Guidance for Federal Field Citation Enforcement. This guidance has been put together with the assistance of your staff attorney. If your office accepts this document in its current form please indicate your concurrence below. Thank you for your office's continuing participation in this project. /x/ /s/ /d/ -------- --------------------------- ------------- (concur) Susan O'Keefe (date) Acting Enforcement Counsel for RCRA Enforcement
OSWER Directive 9610.16
October 5, 1993 MEMORANDUM SUBJECT: Guidance for Federal Field Citation Enforcement FROM: David Ziegele, Director Office of Underground Storage Tanks TO: Lisa K. Friedman, Associate General Counsel Solid Waste and Emergency Response Attached is the revised Guidance for Federal Field Citation Enforcement. This guidance has been put together with the assistance of your staff attorney. If your office accepts this document in its current form please indicate your concurrence below. Thank you for your office's continuing participation in this project. /x/ /s/ /d/ -------- --------------------------- ------------- (concur) Lisa K. Friedman (date) Associate General Counsel
OSWER Directive 9610.16
REVISIONS TO GUIDANCE FOR FEDERAL FIELD CITATION
- The "Guidance for Federal Field Citation Enforcement" (OSWER
Directive 9610.14) was issued in April 1992. Since then, several
regions have implemented field citation programs and a national
conference was convened to review experiences and consider
improvements. Based on extensive discussions with regional staff
and attorneys, the Office of General Counsel (OGC), and the Office
of Enforcement (OE), a number of revisions have been made. The
- Discusses in greater detail the relation of field citations to the overall enforcement effort, and the advantages of issuing field citations in certain circumstances.
- Explains that field citations are an appropriate response to UST violations in environmentally sensitive areas.
- Emphasizes that if a region wishes to issue warnings as part of its enforcement program, the warning may not be in the form of a field citation without a penalty.
- Discusses the differences between issuing field citations in states that have received state program approval and those that have not, namely, regions must cite state regulations in approved states. The document also provides a model citation for use in approved states.
- Contains a discussion of procedures and criteria for extending the deadline for compliance with the terms of a field citation in limited circumstances.
- Explains procedures to follow if settlement forms and penalties are to be sent to different addresses.
- Discusses the need for regional standard operating procedures (SOP) and suggests a number of basic elements that should be included in the SOP.
- Adds a number of violations and penalty amounts to the list of applicable violations, including violations involving hazardous substance USTs where thresholds on the number of tanks and total hazardous substance capacity at the facility are not exceeded.
- Outlines basic procedures for issuing field citations on Indian lands, and reserves a section to explain procedures for issuing field citations at federal facilities.
- Encourages regions to engage in outreach activities in order to inform the regulated community and the public about the field citation program.
- Explains how the federal field citation program is related to the future development and implementation of state and local field citation programs.
- Adds language to the settlement agreement stating that, by signing, the owner or operator waives any objections to EPA's jurisdiction.
- In addition, some section of the guidance have been re-ordered and edited to improve readability and ensure the logical organization of the document. Finally, outdated information on the development of the field citation program has been replaced with more current information.
OSWER Directive 9610.16
GUIDANCE FOR FEDERAL FIELD CITATION ENFORCEMENT
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS
I. Federal Enforcement
OverviewThe Office of Underground Storage Tanks' (OUST) program implementation approach is to build UST programs at the state level since states will be primarily responsible for the enforcement of UST regulations. Regions perform compliance inspections at UST sites or take enforcement actions, generally in conjunction with or in the place of a state when the state lacks enforcement resources, and on Indian Lands or at federal facilities.
One enforcement option is the use of field citations, "traffic ticket"-styled citations issued on-site by inspectors, generally carrying a penalty. Field citations are currently being used by a number of environmental programs on the federal, state, and local levels, including UST programs. In the experience of many state and local UST enforcement programs, field citations are extremely useful in addressing many prevalent, clear-cut violations that are relatively easy to correct. Addressing these violations using established enforcement methods, such as formal administrative proceedings under 40 CFR Part 22, requires a greater commitment of staff time and resources, which may be difficult to obtain or which must compete with time and resources that staff directs toward releases or violations that are not appropriately addressed by the field citation program. When a citation program is properly designed, violators issued citations for clear-cut violations have greater incentive to correct problems and pay penalties than to contest. Thus, in appropriate circumstances, field citation enforcement is less resource-intensive than traditional methods of UST enforcement. Resources are saved as citations are issued on the spot, and preparation of formal legal documents and procedures, such as administrative appeals, are minimized.
While field citations were developed to expedite the enforcement process, they also encourage owners and operators to come into compliance in an effective and resource-efficient manner. By removing the incentive to expend their time and resources litigating the large penalties typical of more formal enforcement actions, owners and operators who receive field citations should see a clear advantage in focusing their energy and economic resources on achieving compliance. Thus, field citations are a critical component of OUST's efforts to achieve high rates of compliance among regulated entities with minimal expenditure of public and private resources.
This guidance is intended to help the regions establish and operate field citation programs, but should not be construed to mandate the use of field citations in place of other existing enforcement mechanisms. When an inspection is conducted, there are in essence three potential outcomes: (1) compliance (no enforcement action taken), (2) non-compliance followed by issuance of warnings or field citations, or (3) non-compliance followed by more traditional enforcement. (Of course, in theory there is a fourth outcome, where there is non-compliance and no action is taken. However, this outcome is neither common nor desirable.) Field citations therefore are not separate from more formal enforcement mechanisms; they are complementary aspects of the enforcement program. (See Figure 1 (PDF)) (1 pg, 8K, About PDF)
Field citations and more formal enforcement are procedurally distinct, but they share an identical objective: increasing the rate of regulated community compliance. Each should be chosen when the appropriate conditions for its use exist. For example, field citations should be chosen when the violation is clear-cut, easily verifiable, easily correctable, and on the list of citable violations. Generally, field citations should only be issued to first-time violators. More formal enforcement must be pursued for all other violations. If a field citation is ignored, or the owner or operator otherwise refuses to settle, more formal enforcement should be pursued.
UST program staff and legal counsel from several regions participated in a workgroup effort to develop procedures for federal enforcement using field citations. This guidance document is a result of that effort. It attempts to serve the workgroup participants' interest in using field citations in a variety of circumstances and addresses concerns that an enforcement program be fairly and uniformly applied across regions. Some key components of the field citation program are identical from region to region. However, the flexibility provided in this guidance and the relationship between field citations and existing enforcement capabilities should provide considerable room for accommodating local needs. On this score, it is important to emphasize that field citation enforcement will not supplant existing enforcement options. Discretion to exercise existing options for warnings and other enforcement tools remains unchanged by the introduction of field citations, which should blend into regional enforcement choices. Also, regions will continue to select which violations or facilities to target, within the parameters of this guidance, based on local needs and subject to previously issued enforcement guidance. Finally, the availability of federal field citations should not diminish the regions' efforts to assist states and localities in building strong UST enforcement programs.
In February 1993, OUST, the Office of Enforcement, and the Office of General Counsel held a conference to review the federal field citation program, assess its effectiveness, identify potential improvements, and provide valuable "how-to" information to those regions in the process of developing field citation programs. After presentation of data from the regions that had implemented field citation programs, reports, and general discussion, the conference addressed a number of issues, including implementation of regional programs, regional targeting and tracking procedures, standard operating procedures, use of field citations at federal facilities and on Indian lands, and legal issues associated with field citations.
One goal of the conference was to publicize the considerable success of field citations in those regions where they had been used, and thus encourage all regions to initiate development of their own field citation programs. Similarly, this guidance document has been revised as a result of input from participants at the conference in order to reflect recent program experience and facilitate development of regional field citation programs. The Office of General Counsel and the Office of Enforcement have endorsed the use of field citations and have reviewed and concurred with all changes to the document.
OSWER Directive 9610.16
II. Regional Program ElementsGuidance for regions is presented in the following sections. The guidance should be considered in the context of the region's overall enforcement strategy and priorities.
Selecting Appropriate ViolationsThis guidance provides a framework for allowing regions to address certain violations with field citations. The guidance is intended to ensure that each region develops its list of appropriate violations judiciously and implements its program reasonably by providing a list of violations appropriate for field citations and guidelines for selection among violations. Each region should select violations to be cited from the attached list of violations. Regions may not include in their list violations not included in the attached list. Consistency among regions will be further assured by training. The following criteria are generally appropriate for selecting the violations to be cited:
- Select violations which are clear-cut and easily verifiable.
- Select violations which are easily correctable.
- Select first-time violators only.
Guidance for When to Use CitationsThis guidance establishes procedures for issuing citations, and describes some appropriate circumstances for inspectors to issue citations. Since the inspector is the one who must implement the program in the field, the regions must clearly establish the extent of discretion allowed to inspectors in determining whether to issue field citations within the general parameters set forth here. Field citations provide an additional enforcement tool, and inspectors must be instructed in how to respond when they find violations which are addressed appropriately with field citations.
The proper use of field citations must be measured against the backdrop of the regions' existing authority to issue warnings or pursue other existing enforcement measures for all violations of UST requirements. Although the primary objective of any enforcement program is to achieve compliance, formal enforcement mechanisms, such as those found in 40 CFR Part 22, normally will be more appropriate in particular circumstances. These circumstances include, among others, instances involving repeat violations or where payment of a more significant penalty may be more effective in achieving EPA's enforcement goals.
This guidance is intended to provide a framework for the inspector's discretionary use of the field citation enforcement option. Therefore, the guidance is phrased in terms of the action an inspector would take in the typical case, but leaves room for exception if the circumstances in the inspector's judgment so warrant.
The following discussion outlines the three basic enforcement options available to address violations of UST requirements:
- Although warnings can be useful as a first step in the enforcement process, regional inspectors generally should consider issuing citations in all cases where violations which the region has determined are appropriately addressed with a field citation are discovered. Field citations are designed to uniformly address certain violations and promote a quick resolution of the violation with the assessment of a small penalty. Therefore, when a region inspects a facility, inspectors should consider issuing a field citation rather than a warning for a violation or violations which the region has determined may be an appropriate candidate for its field citation program. In order to keep the field citation program distinct from existing enforcement programs, if a warning is issued, it may not be in the form of a field citation without a penalty.
There are several situations in which inspectors will typically issue citations:
- Inspectors may issue citations for as many violations as are
identified at a site. However, if the number of violations found at
a site exceeds "x" (a number set by each region), the inspector
should forego issuing a field citation and use more formal,
existing enforcement methods instead.
Once a region has selected its list of violations appropriate for the field citation program and trained inspectors in procedures for issuing field citations, inspectors may routinely issue field citations for all appropriate violations found at a facility. Each region will have the discretion to place an upper limit on the number of violations that may be cited at one site. The threshold should be set below the point beyond which the number of violations, regardless of the nature of those violations, suggests that a facility was seriously out of compliance and requires a more formal enforcement response. At this point, a more formal enforcement response is likely to be more effective than the use of field citations. As a general matter, a suggested threshold is between three and ten violations.
This guidance does not suggest any predetermined cap on the cumulative dollar amount of penalties that may be set out in a field citation. However, there is a natural cap to the extent that each region will be foregoing issuing field citations if the number of citable violations at a site exceeds a number fixed by the region (see preceding section). The region may want to consider the practical effect that the total cumulative penalty amount proposed in a field citation may have on settlement incentives. This amount should be below the point above which a violator no longer has an incentive to correct the violations and pay the penalty instead of resisting compliance.
- During joint inspections, regional inspectors should usually
not cite for violations that are cited by the state inspector where
state penalties are at least equivalent.
As states are the primary enforcers in the program, regions usually will take enforcement actions only in the circumstances noted in the first paragraph of this guidance document. Therefore, it is likely that during joint inspections regional inspectors will defer to the state program's regulations or authorities and not cite for violations that state inspectors cite. Generally, this will be the case where state penalties are at least equivalent with federal penalties. On the other hand, there may be cases where a field citation would serve an important federal enforcement objective, for example, sending a signal to the regulated community about an enforcement initiative. In these cases, a field citation or other federal enforcement measure might reinforce the state's message.
- Inspectors will usually issue citations to first-time violators
only. If upon follow-up inspection a cited violation has not been
corrected, the inspector should generally use Part 22 procedures,
or, if a later inspection uncovers a different violation, the
inspector should not use a field citation.
Limiting the use of field citations to first-time violators makes sense if it appears to the inspector that the citation and penalty will convince a violator to bring a facility into compliance and to keep it in compliance. The inspector should be guided by the goal of the field citation program, which is to achieve rapid and resource-efficient compliance, rather than to penalize owners and operators for regulatory violations. When conducting inspections, it is critical that the inspector fully conduct the inspection and thoroughly complete the inspection report. If a field citation is not issued because the number of violations is above the threshold for field citations, or the field citation settlement form is not returned, the Agency may choose to pursue standard enforcement based on the inspection report. Therefore, while field citations may expedite the correction and penalty phases of enforcement, the quality and effort applied to the underlying inspection should not be abbreviated.
If an inspector discovers not only violations that are appropriate for the field citation program, but other violations as well, the inspector should address all of the violations at the site using more formal, existing enforcement methods or refer the case to the state for appropriate action. As used in this guidance, more formal enforcement typically refers to the procedures for issuing administrative complaints/compliance orders (including those assessing civil penalties) and conducting the administrative enforcement process governed by 40 CFR Part 22, the Consolidated Rules of Practice Governing the Administrative Assessment of Civil Penalties and the Revocation or Suspension of Permits ("Part 22" or "CROP"). CROP outlines the major steps in the administrative adjudication process and presents the various authorities and duties of Agency officials in the process. More formal enforcement methods also include issuance of corrective action orders pursuant to 40 CFR Part 24 or civil judicial enforcement of the UST requirements.
In selecting those violations which are appropriate for field citations, the regions will, in effect, also be identifying violations which, because of their potential for environmental harm or other characteristics (i.e., not clear-cut), should be addressed using the more formal, existing enforcement mechanisms. The more formal enforcement methods may also be the appropriate response in some circumstances where field citations would otherwise be appropriate (for example, if the total number of individual violations which are appropriate for a field citation surpasses the threshold for multiple violations or are repeated). Another case where a clear-cut violation might be addressed by more formal enforcement is the case of a clear-cut but not easily correctable violation. In these cases, a field citation may not serve the goal of encouraging compliance and might appear to treat the violator mildly compared to penalties applicable under the penalty policy. In general, the regions will need to assess how to maximize resources while bringing as many facilities into compliance as possible.
This guidance is phrased so that inspectors will know what action to take in the typical case. When in the exercise of their enforcement discretion they determine that deviation from this guidance will result in more effective compliance or a more efficient use of enforcement resources, inspectors are not bound to follow this guidance. This approach is consistent with the guidance found in other EPA penalty policies and procedures.
Guidance for Penalty AmountsIn order to ensure that penalty amounts applied by different regions for the same violations are consistent, standard penalty amounts have been set by this guidance. These penalties are in the amounts of either $50, $150, or $300. Consistency among regions is important to achieve fairness in the treatment of the regulated community in selecting regional penalty amounts. In the case of multiple violations, penalties should be totaled. In general, field citation programs set penalty amounts according to the severity of each violation or category of violations. Penalties should be assessed per facility rather than per tank.
The size of the penalties attached to violations is important to the success of a field citation program. Penalties that are relatively high (e.g., greater than $500 per violation) may discourage owners and operators from agreeing to settle. On the other hand, penalties need to be high enough to catch the attention of owners and operators. In general, the field citation program should operate optimally when the penalties are geared primarily to achieving compliance rather than to penalizing violators.
Form of the CitationWhile each region will have considerable discretion in tailoring its field citation program within the boundaries set forth in this guidance, the regions must use the approved field citation form or obtain approval for any region-specific citation form from OUST in writing, after first having obtained approval of Regional Counsel. OUST will obtain concurrence for any proposed change from both the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Enforcement before authorizing such a change. (FOOTNOTE #1) This approach will ensure that the field citations used are legally supportable and designed to accommodate the program elements described in this guidance. In addition, use of a standard citation form will promote uniformity across regions in the issuance of field citations.
The field citation form developed by OUST is entitled "Expedited Enforcement Compliance Order and Settlement Agreement". There are two versions of the field citation form. The first version was designed for use in states that have not yet received state program approval; it instructs inspectors to cite for violations of the federal regulations. The second version of the form was designed for use in states that have received state program approval; it instructs inspectors to cite for violations of the state regulations. Otherwise, the two versions of the citation and the instructions for their use are identical. Because inspectors in approved states still rely upon federal authorities for enforcement, the references to federal authorities which appear on the second version still apply. A copy of each citation form and the instructions for its use are attached at the end of this guidance.
Regions should specify in their SOP and on the citation form the location where the citation form and penalty payment should be sent. Citation forms and penalties are often sent to different addresses. Generally, penalties should be sent to the same location where enforcement monies are normally sent within the region. The inspector should clearly explain this distinction to the violator if the locations to which payment and the citation form should be sent are not the same.
Procedures For Issuance of Citations, Follow-up, and ExtensionsThe field citation represents the issuance of an order pursuant to RCRA " 9006 to address violations listed in RCRA " 9006(d), coupled with a short-form settlement agreement. Each region, as it determines is appropriate, must delegate to individual inspectors the authority necessary to issue the citation form. The violator is given an opportunity to resolve the enforcement action expeditiously by correcting the violation and settling for a lesser penalty amount than might be assessed according to the penalty policy if formal administrative proceedings were initiated. The lower penalty amount reflects the time and expense saved by the Agency over that normally incurred in utilizing more formal enforcement methods. If the violator does not accept the settlement agreement within the time provided in the field citation, the compliance order is automatically withdrawn. The Agency's policy is then to pursue other enforcement options for the violations cited.
Thus, the violator has only two options: accept the field citation or risk more formal enforcement proceedings. If a violator refuses to accept the terms of the field citation or if it is determined that a violator has not fully complied with the terms of a signed settlement agreement, follow-up enforcement should be initiated by EPA. Such follow-up enforcement should be more stringent than the field citation settlement terms in order to achieve compliance and ensure the integrity of the field citation program. Follow-up enforcement is particularly crucial in environmentally sensitive areas, as these areas are most likely to suffer severe adverse impacts from prolonged violations that increase the likelihood of a release.
While it is essential that the regions take steps to conduct follow-up inspections in those cases where the violator does not settle and come into compliance, some program of follow-up inspections is also important for monitoring those violators who do accept the settlement offer, pay the fine and certify that they have achieved compliance. The regions should institute follow-up inspections at a subset of those facilities that have reported a return to compliance as a result of a field citation, as appropriate, to assure that owners and operators are taking the compliance actions that they claim to be taking. In addition, these inspections can be used to determine whether the compliance actions are completed within the 30-day period. Without proper follow-up, the region cannot be sure the field citation program is achieving its goal of assuring compliance through cost-effective means.
There might be circumstances where a 30-day extension of the 30-day period provided to pay the fine and correct the violations would be appropriate. The region should condition the grant of a 30-day extension on the following: (1) the owner or operator files a formal request for the extension, (2) the owner or operator demonstrates that there are factors beyond the control of the owner or operator that necessitate an extension, and (3) the region believes that compliance will be achieved within the period of the extension. The circumstances justifying the extension will typically involve unusual difficulties in obtaining parts or securing and scheduling contractors to install equipment within the initial 30-day period, or delays in securing loan approval to finance repairs. Merely neglecting to seek expert assistance or equipment in a timely fashion should not in itself justify an extension. The region should document the reasoning for granting any extension in the file.
In certain circumstances, the region might also consider extending the 30-day extension for cases in which a force majeure event occurs. "Force majeure," for the purpose of this guidance, is defined as any event arising from causes beyond the control of the owner/operator or of any entity controlled by the owner/operator (including, but not limited to, the owner/operator's contractors and subcontractors) that delays or prevents the performance of any obligation under the field citation, despite the owner/operator's best efforts to fulfill the obligation. The owner/operator's "best efforts to fulfill the obligation" include using best efforts to anticipate any potential force majeure event, and best efforts to address the effects of any potential force majeure event (1) as it is occurring and (2) following the force majeure event, such that the delay is minimized to the greatest extent possible.
Examples of force majeure events include extreme weather conditions that render scheduled excavation of tanks or piping impossible, or an act of God, such as flooding or an earthquake that disrupts normal commerce. Events not constituting force majeure include, but are not limited to, financial inability to perform any actions required by the field citation and unanticipated or increased costs or expenses associated with the implementation of the field citation. The owner or operator should, nevertheless, provide written justification for the second extension and the region should document its reason for granting the extension for the file.
Regional Standard Operating ProceduresEach region should develop a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the use of field citations. The SOP generally should include information on what training is required for inspectors; what procedures are required for issuing the citation and conducting follow-up activities; how to handle requests for extensions; and what steps to follow when the terms of the field citation are not met. Training requirements may include a list of required and advisable courses to be completed by each inspector prior to certification. When providing guidelines for determining violations and penalties, the SOP should include a list of citable violations and their associated penalties, or the regions must use the attached list verbatim. If a region is using field citations in approved states, the region must include in its SOP a list of state violations and penalties that corresponds to the attached list of federal violations and penalty amounts eligible for field citations. Procedures for issuing the citation and follow-up should explain what information the inspector needs to convey to the owner or operator, and set forth the steps to be followed from issuance of the citation through settlement and case closure. The SOP should also indicate the criteria to consider when determining if a 30-day extension will be granted for paying the fine and/or coming into compliance, and separate criteria for determining whether an additional extension for a period to be determined by the region under unusual circumstances is justified. Finally, the SOP should indicate what steps, if any, should be completed before initiation of standard enforcement procedures when the terms of the field citation are not met.
A number of additional topics may be included in the regional SOP, such as regional caps on the maximum number of citable violations and penalty amount; procedures for setting up and maintaining a file system; policies for interaction with other government agencies; procedures for targeting, notifying, and entering facilities; tips on document identification and handling; and requirements for background information. It is up to the region to decide what will be included in the SOP; the goal should be to include sufficient information and guidance to allow effective and legally defensible implementation of the program in accordance with the requirements outlined in this guidance.
Issuance of Field Citations at Hazardous Substance TanksIssuance of federal field citations is an appropriate response to violations involving hazardous substance UST systems, as long as the violations also could be addressed with field citations at a petroleum UST site. Field citations may be issued for such violations if certain conditions are met. Specifically, the facility where the UST system is located should have no more than twelve tanks, and total hazardous substance UST capacity at the facility should be less than 40,000 gallons. If the site exceeds either of these recommended thresholds, more formal enforcement methods should be selected. The two thresholds reflect the greater danger to human health and the environment potentially posed by violations that increase the likelihood of releases from hazardous substance tanks.
Issuance of Field Citations on Indian LandsIf a region wishes to issue field citations against tribally owned or operated facilities, it should coordinate with the Senior Legal Advisor of the Office of Federal Activities, within the Office of Enforcement, before taking action. The Senior Advisor coordinates policy and management issues and legal issues in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, and will be responsible for coordinating Headquarters and regional review of the proposed enforcement action. (For further information, refer to the October 21, 1992 Office of Enforcement Memorandum from Thomas L. McCall, Jr. to Deputy Regional Administrators, Enforcement Counsels, and Regional Counsels.)
Issuance of Field Citations at Federal Facilities[Reserved.]
Hearing RequirementsSubtitle I of RCRA provides for an opportunity for a hearing where an order is issued -- the hearing process is outlined in Part 22. As described above, the field citation has been designed as a compliance order and short-form settlement agreement.
The field citation compliance order is not an adjudicatory proceeding under 40 CFR Part 22. The violator has no right to a hearing under Part 22, since those procedures have not been invoked through issuance of a field citation. Violators who accept the terms of the settlement offer will have expressly waived their rights to a public hearing under 9006 of RCRA. If the violator does not accept the settlement offer, the compliance order is withdrawn.
A region initiating administrative actions against a violator should follow the Part 22 procedures if a violator forgoes the settlement offered through the field citation process. The federal procedures guidance (OSWER Directive 9610.11 "UST/LUST Enforcement Procedures Guidance Manual") describes appropriate procedures in detail. Judicial enforcement may also be appropriate in certain instances, in which case the region should follow appropriate referral procedures for judicial actions.
OutreachRegions are encouraged to publicize their field citation programs while they are still in the developmental stage, as well as when they actually begin issuing citations. It is important to inform the members of the regulated community as well as the public that the programs are being developed so they know what to expect, and to publicize violations addressed using citations, in order to demonstrate that the program is being actively implemented. A variety of methods can be employed to publicize the program, including public meetings, cooperation with trade associations, press releases, radio or television announcements, and written outreach materials.
Developing State Field Citation ProgramsOUST's ultimate goal is to see state and local governments develop the authorities and capabilities needed to implement their own UST enforcement programs. As a way to help realize that goal, OUST is working with the regions to issue federal field citations to demonstrate the success of this expedited enforcement approach to the states. Federal field citations are therefore an interim step, to be used primarily until state enforcement programs are fully developed. Federal field citations represent a low-cost method of maintaining a field presence in states without their own field presence, and of improving state capabilities by training state inspectors through joint inspections. All regions should develop the capability to issue federal field citations and continuously work with states to streamline state enforcement processes, which may include developing state and local field citation programs.
Helping states to develop their own field citation programs raises a number of questions. For example, the regions will need to determine the mechanics of issuing federal field citations in states that have received state program approval. When conducting enforcement activities in approved states, federal officials rely upon federal statutory authority, but enforce the state regulatory requirements. Therefore, federal inspectors in approved states will need to use the model citation OUST has developed for use in approved states. Regions also will need to amend their SOPs to include all citable violations, identified in terms of each approved state's regulatory requirements.
Purposes and Use of This GuidanceThis guidance is intended to provide overall direction for establishing regional field citation programs. As such, the role of the guidance is to enunciate the general principles that should underlie an appropriately designed field citation program; further details not contained in this guidance will be developed and transmitted to program staff through subsequent training or guidance.
This guidance and any internal procedures adopted for its implementation, are intended solely as guidance for employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They do not constitute rulemaking or final Agency action by the Agency and may not be relied on to create a right or a benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any person. The Agency may take action at variance with this memorandum or its internal implementing procedures.
OSWER Directive 9610.16
SELECTED VIOLATIONS OF FEDERAL UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK REGULATIONS
- Subpart B--UST Systems: Design, Construction, Installation, and Notification
- Subpart C--General Operating Requirements
- Subpart D--Release Detection
- Subpart E--Release Reporting, Investigation, and Confirmation
- Subpart F--Release Response and Corrective Action
- Subpart G--Out-of-Service UST Systems and Closure
- Subpart H--Financial Responsibility
OSWER Directive 9610.16
OSWER Directive 9610.16