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Process for NGPA Penalty Assessment

  1. Notice of Proposed Penalty: Before issuing an order assessing a civil penalty against any person under the NGPA, the Commission will issue such person notice of the proposed penalty and a statement of the material facts constituting the violation. Though not required by the statute, the Commission allows the person to file with the Commission within 30 days of the notice any legal or factual arguments that could justify not issuing the assessment or a reduction or modification of the proposed penalty. If the person chooses to pay the amount of the proposed penalty, the process will terminate.

  2. Response to Proposed Penalty: Person has the opportunity to respond, including information to show why the penalty should either not be assessed or be modified or reduced. If the person chooses to pay the amount of the proposed penalty, the process will terminate.

  3. Immediate Penalty Assessment: If the Commission finds a violation, the Commission will issue an order setting forth the material facts that constitute the violation and assess any appropriate penalty.

  4. District Court Review: If the assessed penalty is not paid within 60 days, the Commission will institute an action in a United States district court, where, pursuant to NGPA section 504(b)(6)(F), the court is authorized to review de novo the law and facts involved.

  5. Judgment: The district court will enter a judgment enforcing, modifying, enforcing as modified, or setting aside, in whole or in part, the Commission’s penalty assessment. The Commission can appeal an order that modifies or sets aside the Commission’s penalty assessment.

  6. U.S. Court of Appeals: The person can appeal to a United States Court of Appeals within the appropriate time for appeal of a district court order.

  7. Judicial Enforcement: Once the Commission has obtained a district court judgment, the Commission can institute a collection action in an appropriate United States district court.

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