1. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
      2. Office of Oil and Gas Management
      3. I. Service of Proposed Civil Penalty Assessment
      4. II. Informal Hearing Process
      5. III. Nature of Hearing
      6. IV. Powers of Presiding Officer
      7. V. Decision
      8. VI. Payment or Appeal
      9. NOTICE OF PROPOSED ASSESSMENT

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DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Office of Oil and Gas Management
DOCUMENT NUMBER:
800-4000-002
TITLE:
Civil Penalty Assessment Informal Hearing Procedure for the Office of
Oil and Gas Management
EFFECTIVE DATE:
Upon final publication in the
Pennsylvania Bulletin
AUTHORITY:
58 Pa.C.S. §§ 3201-3274
(“2012 Oil and Gas Act”)
POLICY:
This guidance establishes the procedure to be used for holding informal
hearings as authorized under the 2012 Oil and Gas Act.
PURPOSE:
The purpose of this guidance is to describe the procedure to be used for
holding an informal hearing as it relates to civil penalty assessments for
violations of the 2012 Oil and Gas Act, or a regulation, order or permit
issued by the Department under the 2012 Oil and Gas Act.
APPLICABILITY:
This procedure is applicable where it has been determined that violations
under the 2012 Oil and Gas Act have occurred, and it is appropriate to
assess penalties for these violations.
DISCLAIMER:
The policies and procedures outlined in this guidance are intended to
supplement existing requirements. Nothing in the policies or procedures
shall affect regulatory requirements.
The policies and procedures herein are not an adjudication or a regulation.
There is no intent on the part of DEP to give the rules in these policies that
weight or deference. This document establishes the framework within
which DEP will exercise its administrative discretion in the future. DEP
reserves the discretion to deviate from this policy statement if
circumstances warrant.

800-4000-002 / DRAFT April 25, 2014 / Page 1
Section 3256 of the 2012 Oil and Gas Act, 58 Pa.C.S. § 3256, provides that the Department may
assess a civil penalty for violations of the 2012 Oil and Gas Act, or a regulation, order or permit issued
by the Department under the 2012 Oil and Gas Act, after a hearing. Section 3256 further provides that a
person charged with a penalty must, within 30 days of notification, pay the penalty or file an appeal of
the assessment with the Environmental Hearing Board. This document outlines the procedure for the
conduct of the informal hearings.
The person who has been served with a proposed civil penalty assessment by the Department for
a violation of the 2012 Oil and Gas Act may request an informal hearing on the proposed assessment.
Such a request must be submitted to the Department within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the
proposed assessment. The following are the rules of practice and procedure for the conduct of informal
hearings.
I.
Service of Proposed Civil Penalty Assessment
The Department will serve a copy of the proposed civil penalty assessment on the person.
A.
Service shall be by registered or certified mail, or by personal service.
B.
If the mail is tendered at the address specified in the well permit, at the address of the
agent designated pursuant to Section 3211(c), or at an address where the operator is
located, and delivery is refused, or mail is not collected, the service requirements of this
section shall be deemed to have been complied with upon the registered or certified
mailing of the proposed civil penalty assessment to the applicable address.
II.
Informal Hearing Process
Upon service of a proposed civil penalty assessment, the person charged with a penalty has ten
(10) calendar days to request that the Department hold an informal hearing on the proposed
assessment.
A.
The request for an informal hearing should be served on the Department by registered or
certified mail at the Department’s District Oil and Gas Operations office that issued the
proposed civil penalty assessment.
B.
The failure to submit a timely request will operate as a waiver of the opportunity for an
informal hearing and the proposed assessment will become a final assessment of the
Department upon the expiration of the ten (10) day period unless the Department makes a
determination to hold an informal hearing.
C.
If a timely request for a hearing is received by the Department, the Department will
establish a hearing date and notify the person requesting the informal hearing of the date
of the hearing in accordance with the service procedures in Section I.
III.
Nature of Hearing
The nature of this hearing is informal and is not a formal legal proceeding. Informal, rather than
formal, hearing procedures apply to hearings related to civil penalty assessments for violations of

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the 2012 Oil and Gas Act. The purpose of the informal hearing is to provide an opportunity to
review the issues, which can be carried out in an expeditious manner and in the absence of rigid
procedures. Accordingly, the other requirements for the informal hearing are as follows:
A.
The parties may be represented by counsel or other persons.
B.
The person charged with a penalty shall have an opportunity to ask questions to the
attendees, and present information and arguments to the Presiding Officer.
C.
The informal hearing will not be subject to the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence, the
Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure or The Administrative Code of 1929.
IV.
Powers of Presiding Officer
The Department will assign a representative (the
“Presiding
Officer”) to preside at the informal
hearing on a proposed civil penalty assessment. The Presiding Officer shall be a person who is
authorized to affirm, raise, lower or vacate a civil penalty assessment (e.g., Director of District
Oil and Gas Operations, Program Manager).
V.
Decision
The Presiding Officer will consider the relevant information presented and either affirm, adjust
or vacate the proposed assessment. The Presiding Officer shall prepare a written final
assessment.
VI.
Payment or Appeal
Once the assessment is final, the person charged with the penalty must, within thirty (30) days of
notification of the final assessment, either: (1) pay the penalty in full, or (2) appeal, pursuant to
Section 4 of the Environmental Hearing Board Act, 35 P.S.§ 7514, and the Administrative
Agency Law, 2 Pa.C.S. Chapter 5A, to the Environmental Hearing Board (Board), Second Floor,
Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, P.O. Box 8457, Harrisburg, PA 17105-
8457, 717-787-3483. TDD users may contact the Board through the Pennsylvania Relay
Service, 800-654-5984. Copies of the appeal form and the
Board’s
rules of practice and
procedure may be obtained from the Board. The appeal form and the Board's rules of practice
and procedure are also available in braille or on audiotape from the Secretary to the Board at
717-787-3483. Payment is not necessary in order for the person charged with a penalty to appeal
to the Board.
Pursuant to Section 3256 of the 2012 Oil and Gas Act, failure to pay the penalty in full or appeal
the assessment to the Board within 30 days of notification of the final assessment results in a
waiver of all legal rights to contest the violation or the amount of the penalty.
The civil penalty payment must be made by sending a check made payable to the
“Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” with “Oil and Gas Well Plugging Fund” noted in the
memorandum line of the payment to the applicable Oil and Gas Operations District Office. If a
violator neglects or refuses to pay the penalty after demand, the amount, together with the
interest and costs that may accrue, will become a lien in favor of the Commonwealth on the real

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and personal property of the violator, but only after the lien has been entered and docketed of
record by the prothonotary of the county where the property is situated.

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(__________) DISTRICT OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS
[DATE]
CERTIFIED MAIL NO. ________________
[ADDRESSEE]
Re:
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
NOTICE OF PROPOSED ASSESSMENT
Dear :
On [DATE], by [REPORT, NOV, LETTER, ORDER], the Department of Environmental Protection
(Department) notified you that [NAME OF PERMITTEE]
(“NAME”)
violated the 2012 Oil and Gas Act, 58
Pa.C.S. §§ 3201
3274, and/or the regulations promulgated thereunder, a Departmental Order or a permit
issued by the Department. Based upon the information presently available to the Department, a preliminary
evaluation of the violations indicates that [NAME] is subject to a civil penalty of [--$--]. The potential
penalty may be changed in the final assessment upon consideration by the Department of any relevant
information including new information concerning culpability, speed of and effectiveness of compliance,
diligence, unforeseen circumstances and other factors brought to the Department’s attention.
Pursuant to Section 3256 of the 2012 Oil and Gas Act, 58 Pa.C.S. § 3256, [NAME] may request an informal
hearing with the Department to discuss this proposed assessment for these violations within ten (10) calendar
days of receipt of this letter. You have the right to attend and participate in the informal hearing and may be
represented by counsel or other person(s). If an informal hearing is requested, the Department will issue a
final assessment following the informal hearing.
If you do not contact me within ten (10) calendar days to request an informal hearing, the proposed
assessment will become a final assessment unless the Department decides to hold a hearing on the proposed
assessment in the absence of such a request. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact
me at [PHONE].
This Notice of Proposed Assessment is neither an order nor any other final action of the Department of
Environmental Protection. It neither imposes nor waives any enforcement action available to the Department
under any of its statutes. If the Department determines that an enforcement action is appropriate, you will be
notified of the action.
Sincerely,
[NAME]
Compliance Specialist
District Oil and Gas Operations
(_________)District Oil and Gas Operations

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(__________) DISTRICT OF OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS
[DATE]
CERTIFIED MAIL NO. ________________
[ADDRESSEE]
Re:
_______________________
Permit No. ____________
_______________________ Township
_______________________ County
Dear _____________:
Enclosed is an assessment of a civil penalty in the amount of [
$
] for violations of the 2012 Oil
and Gas Act, 58 Pa.C.S. §§ 3201
3274.
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) previously sent you a Notice of Proposed
Assessment by (registered or certified mail or by personal service), dated [
Date ], notifying you of
the opportunity to request an informal hearing to review the proposed penalty.
[The informal hearing
was held on [date] or [An informal hearing was not requested]
.
Within thirty (30) days of notification of this final assessment, you must pay the penalty in full or file an
appeal with the Environmental Hearing Board.
Payment of the civil penalty must
be made by sending a check made payable to the “Commonwealth
of
Pennsylvania” with “Oil and Gas Well Plugging Fund” noted in the
memorandum line of the payment to
the address listed above.
Any person aggrieved by this action may appeal, pursuant to Section 4 of the Environmental Hearing
Board Act, 35 P.S. Section 7514, and the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa.C.S. Chapter 5A, Appeals
must be filed with the Environmental Hearing Board within 30 days of receipt of written notice of this
action unless the appropriate statute provides a different time period. Copies of the appeal form and the
Board's rules of practice and procedure may be obtained from the Board. The appeal form and the
Board's rules of practice and procedure are also available in braille or on audiotape from the Secretary to
the Board at 717-787-3483. This paragraph does not, in and of itself, create any right of appeal beyond
that permitted by applicable statutes and decisional law.
IF YOU WANT TO CHALLENGE THIS ACTION, YOUR APPEAL MUST REACH THE BOARD
WITHIN 30 DAYS. YOU DO NOT NEED A LAWYER TO FILE AN APPEAL WITH THE BOARD.
IMPORTANT LEGAL RIGHTS ARE AT STAKE, HOWEVER, SO YOU SHOULD SHOW THIS
DOCUMENT TO A LAWYER AT ONCE. IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD A LAWYER, YOU MAY
QUALIFY FOR FREE PRO BONO REPRESENTATION. CALL THE SECRETARY TO THE
BOARD (717-787-3483) FOR MORE INFORMATION.

800-4000-002 / DRAFT April 25, 2014 / Page 6
Sincerely,
[NAME]
Compliance Specialist
District Oil and Gas Operations
(_________)District Oil and Gas Operations

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