A. Any owner or operator who violates, or fails or refuses to obey any special order may be assessed a civil penalty by the State Forester. Such penalty shall not exceed $ 5,000 for each violation. Each day of a continuing violation may be deemed a separate violation for purposes of assessing penalties. In determining the amount of the penalty, consideration shall be given to the owner’s or operator’s history of noncompliance; the seriousness of the violation, including any irreparable harm to the environment and any hazard to the health or safety of the public; whether the owner or operator was negligent; and the demonstrated good faith of the owner or operator in reporting and remedying the pollution.
B. A civil penalty may be assessed by the State Forester only after the owner or operator has been given an opportunity for a hearing. Any hearing required under this section shall be conducted in accordance with § 2.2-4020, unless the parties consent to informal proceedings. If the owner or operator fails to avail himself of the opportunity for a formal hearing, a civil penalty shall be assessed by the State Forester after the State Forester finds that a violation of a special order has occurred and the amount of the civil penalty warranted, and issues an order requiring that the civil penalty be paid.
C. If a person who is required under this article to pay a civil penalty fails to do so, the State Forester may transmit a true copy of the final order assessing such penalty to the clerk of circuit court of any county or city wherein it is ascertained that the person owing the penalty has any estate; and the clerk to whom such copy is sent shall record it, as a judgment is required by law to be recorded, and shall index the same in the name of the Commonwealth as well as of the person owing the penalty, and thereupon there shall be a lien in favor of the Commonwealth on the property of the owner or operator within such county or city in the amount of the penalty. The State Forester may collect civil penalties that are owed in the same manner as provided by law in respect to judgment of a court of record. All civil penalties shall be paid into the state treasury and deposited by the State Treasurer into the Virginia Forest Water Quality Fund pursuant to § 10.1-1181.7.
D. With the consent of any owner or operator who has violated or failed, neglected or refused to obey any special order of the State Forester issued pursuant to subsection B or C of § 10.1-1181.2, the State Forester may provide, in an order issued by the State Forester against such owner or operator, for the payment of civil charges for violations in specific sums, not to exceed the limit specified in subsection A of this section. Such civil charges shall be in lieu of any civil penalty that could be imposed under subsection A of this section, and shall be placed in the Virginia Forest Water Quality Fund pursuant to § 10.1-1181.7.
1993, c. 948; 2004, c. 228.