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           SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT
    Decision Information

Docket Number:  
EP_716_4

Case Title:  
CIVIL MONETARY PENALTIES – 2019 ADJUSTMENT

Decision Type:  
Decision

Deciding Body:  
Entire Board

    Decision Summary

Decision Notes:  
PROVIDED NOTICE THAT THE BOARD ISSUED ITS FINAL RULE TO IMPLEMENT THE ANNUAL INFLATIONARY ADJUSTMENT TO ITS CIVIL MONETARY PENALTIES, PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL CIVIL PENALTIES INFLATION ADJUSTMENT ACT IMPROVEMENTS ACT OF 2015., PROVIDED NOTICE THAT THE BOARD ISSUED A FINAL RULE TO IMPLEMENT THE ANNUAL INFLATIONARY ADJUSTMENT TO ITS CIVIL MONETARY PENALTIES, PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL CIVIL PENALTIES INFLATION ADJUSTMENT ACT IMPROVEMENTS ACT OF 2015., PROVIDED NOTICE THAT THE BOARD ISSUED A FINAL RULE TO IMPLEMENT THE ANNUAL INFLATIONARY ADJUSTMENT TO ITS CIVIL MONETARY PENALTIES, PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL CIVIL PENALTIES INFLATION ADJUSTMENT ACT IMPROVEMENTS ACT OF 2015.

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    Full Text of Decision

46738 SERVICE DATE – LATE RELEASE DECEMBER 21, 2018

EB

 

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD

 

DECISION

 

Docket No. EP 716 (Sub-No. 4)

 

CIVIL MONETARY PENALTies—2019 Adjustment

 

Decided: December 20, 2018

 

AGENCY: Surface Transportation Board.

 

ACTION: Final rule.

 

SUMMARY: The Surface Transportation Board (Board) is issuing a final rule to implement the annual inflationary adjustment to its civil monetary penalties, pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.

 

DATES: This final rule is effective on publication in the Federal Register.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathon Binet: (202) 245-0368. Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) for the hearing impaired: (800) 877-8339.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

 

I. Background

 

The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Act), enacted as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, Pub. L. No. 114-74,  701, 129 Stat. 584, 599-601, requires agencies to adjust their civil penalties for inflation annually, beginning on July 1, 2016, and no later than January 15 of every year thereafter. In accordance with the 2015 Act, annual inflation adjustments are to be based on the percent change between the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for October of the previous year and the October CPI-U of the year before that. Penalty level adjustments should be rounded to the nearest dollar.

 

II. Discussion

 

The statutory definition of civil monetary penalty covers various civil penalty provisions under the Rail (Part A); Motor Carriers, Water Carriers, Brokers, and Freight Forwarders (Part B); and Pipeline Carriers (Part C) provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended. The Board’s civil (and criminal) penalty authority related to rail transportation appears at 49 U.S.C.  11901-11908. The Board’s penalty authority related to motor carriers, water carriers, brokers, and freight forwarders appears at 49 U.S.C.  14901‑14916. The Board’s penalty authority related to pipeline carriers appears at 49 U.S.C.  16101‑16106.[1] The Board has regulations at 49 C.F.R. pt. 1022 that codify the method set forth in the 2015 Act for annually adjusting for inflation the civil monetary penalties within the Board’s jurisdiction.

 

As set forth in this final rule, the Board is amending 49 C.F.R. pt. 1022 to make an annual inflation adjustment to the civil monetary penalties in conformance with the requirements of the 2015 Act. The adjusted penalties set forth in the rule will apply only to violations that occur after the effective date of this regulation.

 

In accordance with the 2015 Act, the annual adjustment adopted here is calculated by multiplying each current penalty by the cost-of-living adjustment factor of 1.02522, which reflects the percentage change between the October 2018 CPI-U (252.885) and the October 2017 CPI-U (246.663). The table at the end of this decision shows the statutory citation for each civil penalty, a description of the provision, the adjusted statutory civil penalty level for 2018, and the adjusted statutory civil penalty level for 2019.

 

III. Final Rule

 

The final rule set forth at the end of this decision is being issued without notice and comment pursuant to the rulemaking provision of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C.  553(b)(B), which does not require that process “when the agency for good cause finds” that public notice and comment are “unnecessary.” Here, Congress has mandated that the agency make an annual inflation adjustment to its civil monetary penalties. The Board has no discretion to set alternative levels of adjusted civil monetary penalties, because the amount of the inflation adjustment must be calculated in accordance with the statutory formula. Given the absence of discretion, the Board has determined that there is good cause to promulgate this rule without soliciting public comment and to make this regulation effective immediately upon publication.

 

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Statement

 

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, 5 U.S.C.  601-612, generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements, unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Because the Board has determined that notice and comment are not required under the APA for this rulemaking, the requirements of the RFA do not apply.

 

V. Paperwork Reduction Act

 

This final rule does not contain a new or amended information collection requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C.  3501-3521.

 

VI. List of Subjects in 49 C.F.R. pt. 1022

 

Administrative practice and procedures, Brokers, Civil penalties, Freight forwarders, Motor carriers, Pipeline carriers, Rail carriers, Water carriers.

 

It is ordered:

 

1. The Board amends its rules as set forth in this decision. Notice of the final rule will be published in the Federal Register.

 

2. This decision is effective on its date of publication in the Federal Register.

 

By the Board, Board Members Begeman and Miller.


 

Code of Federal Regulations

 

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, part 1022 of title 49, chapter X, of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

 

PART 1022—CIVIL MONETARY PENALTY INFLATION ADJUSTMENT

 

1. The authority citation for part 1022 continues to read as follows:

 

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 551-557; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note; 49 U.S.C. 11901, 14901, 14903, 14904, 14905, 14906, 14907, 14908, 14910, 14915, 14916, 16101, 16103.

 

2. Revise  1022.4(b) to read as follows:

 

1022.4 Cost-of-living adjustments of civil monetary penalties.

*****

(b) The cost-of-living adjustment required by the statute results in the following adjustments to the civil monetary penalties within the jurisdiction of the Board:

U.S. Code Citation

Civil Monetary Penalty Description

Adjusted Penalty Amount 2018

Adjusted Penalty Amount 2019

 

Rail Carrier Civil Penalties

 

 

49 U.S.C. 11901(a)

Unless otherwise specified, maximum penalty for each knowing violation under this part, and for each day.

$7,791

$7,987

49 U.S.C. 11901(b)

For each violation under  11124(a)(2) or (b).

$779

$799

49 U.S.C. 11901(b)

For each day violation continues.

$40

$41

49 U.S.C. 11901(c)

Maximum penalty for each knowing violation under  10901-10906.

$7,791

$7,987

49 U.S.C. 11901(d)

For each violation under  11123 or 11124(a)(1).

$155-$779

$159-799

49 U.S.C. 11901(d)

For each day violation continues.

$78

$80

49 U.S.C. 11901(e)(1), (4)

For each violation under  11141-11145, for each day.

$779

$799

49 U.S.C. 11901(e)(2), (4)

For each violation under  11144(b)(1), for each day.

$155

$159

49 U.S.C. 11901(e)(3)-(4)

For each violation of reporting requirements, for each day.

$155

$159

 

Motor and Water Carrier Civil Penalties

 

 

49 U.S.C. 14901(a)

Minimum penalty for each violation and for each day.

$1,066

$1,093

49 U.S.C. 14901(a)

For each violation under  13901 or 13902(c).

$10,663

$10,932

49 U.S.C. 14901(a)

For each violation related to transportation of passengers.

$26,659

$27,331

49 U.S.C. 14901(b)

For each violation of the hazardous waste rules under  3001 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act.

$21,327-$42,654

$21,865-$43,730

49 U.S.C. 14901(d)(1)

Minimum penalty for each violation of household good regulations, and for each day.

$1,558

$1,597

49 U.S.C. 14901(d)(2)

Minimum penalty for each instance of transportation of household goods if broker provides estimate without carrier agreement.

$15,583

$15,976

49 U.S.C. 14901(d)(3)

Minimum penalty for each instance of transportation of household goods without being registered.

$38,954

$39,936

49 U.S.C. 14901(e)

Minimum penalty for each violation of a transportation rule.

$3,116

$3,195

49 U.S.C. 14901(e)

Minimum penalty for each additional violation.

$7,791

$7,987

49 U.S.C. 14903(a)

Maximum penalty for undercharge or overcharge of tariff rate, for each violation.

$155,820

$159,750

49 U.S.C. 14904(a)

For first violation, rebates at less than the rate in effect.

$311

$319

49 U.S.C. 14904(a)

For all subsequent violations.

$390

$400

49 U.S.C. 14904(b)(1)

Maximum penalty for first violation for undercharges by freight forwarders.

$779

$799

49 U.S.C. 14904(b)(1)

Maximum penalty for subsequent violations.

$3,116

$3,195

49 U.S.C. 14904(b)(2)

Maximum penalty for other first violations under  13702.

$779

$799

49 U.S.C. 14904(b)(2)

Maximum penalty for subsequent violations.

$3,116

$3,195

49 U.S.C. 14905(a)

Maximum penalty for each knowing violation of  14103(a), and knowingly authorizing, consenting to, or permitting a violation of  14103(a) or (b).

$15,583

$15,976

49 U.S.C. 14906

Minimum penalty for first attempt to evade regulation.

$2,133

$2,187

49 U.S.C. 14906

Minimum amount for each subsequent attempt to evade regulation.

$5,332

$5,466

49 U.S.C. 14907

Maximum penalty for recordkeeping/reporting violations.

$7,791

$7,987

49 U.S.C. 14908(a)(2)

Maximum penalty for violation of  14908(a)(1).

$3,116

$3,195

49 U.S.C. 14910

When another civil penalty is not specified under this part, for each violation, for each day.

$779

$799

49 U.S.C. 14915(a)(1)-(2)

Minimum penalty for holding a household goods shipment hostage, for each day.

$12,383

$12,695

49 U.S.C. 14916(c)(1)

Maximum penalty for each violation under  14916(a) by knowingly authorizing, consenting to, or permitting unlawful brokerage activities.

$10,663

$10,932

 

Pipeline Carrier Civil Penalties

 

 

49 U.S.C. 16101(a)

Maximum penalty for violation of this part, for each day.

$7,791

$7,987

49 U.S.C. 16101(b)(1), (4)

For each recordkeeping violation under  15722, each day.

$779

$799

49 U.S.C. 16101(b)(2), (4)

For each inspection violation liable under  15722, each day.

$155

$159

49 U.S.C. 16101(b)(3)-(4)

For each reporting violation under  15723, each day.

$155

$159

49 U.S.C. 16103(a)

Maximum penalty for improper disclosure of information.

$1,558

$1,597

 



[1] The Board also has various criminal penalty authority, enforceable in a federal criminal court. Congress has not, however, authorized federal agencies to adjust statutorily prescribed criminal penalty provisions for inflation, and this rule does not address those provisions.