SEC. 53-7-59. Violations; penalties; appeals; commission authorized to pursue civil action for relief; limitation on liability.
(1) Any person who violates, or fails or refuses to comply with this chapter, any rule or regulation or written order of the commission adopted or issued under this chapter or any condition of a permit or coverage under a general permit issued under this chapter may be subject to a civil penalty to be assessed and levied by the commission after notice and opportunity for a formal hearing. In addition to assessing civil penalties under this section, the commission may submit a written statement to the Permit Board recommending that the Permit Board revoke the permit for any operation which is subject to the maximum penalty of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00). Appeals of any action or decision of the commission may be taken as provided in Section 49-17-41.
(2) Any civil penalty assessed against a permitted, covered or exempt operation and levied by the commission under this section shall not exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for the first violation; for subsequent violations committed within three (3) years of the first violation the maximum penalties are: Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) for the second violation, Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) for the third violation and Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) for the fourth and subsequent violations by the same operator. Multiple violations at a site during one (1) day shall not be cumulative. A separate penalty shall not be assessed for each violation and only one (1) penalty may be assessed for all violations occurring at a site during one (1) day. Each day of a continuing violation shall be a separate violation until corrective action is taken or the operator after notice of the violation is diligently pursuing efforts to achieve compliance in a timely manner. In assessing a penalty under this subsection, the commission shall not consider offenses occurring before July 1, 2002. In addition to the civil penalty authorized under this subsection, the commission may order an operator of a permitted, covered or exempt operation to reclaim the affected area.
(3) Any civil penalty assessed against an operator for mining without a permit and levied by the commission under this section shall not exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) for the first violation, Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) for the second violation and Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) for the third and subsequent violations by an operator. In assessing a penalty under this subsection, the commission shall not consider violations occurring before July 1, 2002.
(4) In determining the amount of penalty under this chapter, the commission shall consider at a minimum:
(a) The willfulness of the violation;
(b) Any damage to air, water, land or other natural resources of the state or their uses;
(c) Costs of restoration and abatement;
(d) Economic benefit as a result of noncompliance;
(e) The seriousness of the violation, including any harm to the environment and any hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the public; and
(f) Past performance history.
(5) The commission may institute and maintain a civil action for relief, including a permanent or temporary injunction or any other appropriate order, in the chancery court of the county in which the majority of the surface mining operation is located. The chancery court shall have jurisdiction to provide relief as may be appropriate. Any relief granted by the court to enforce a written order of the commission shall continue in effect until the completion of all proceedings for review of that order under this chapter, unless the chancery court granting the relief sets it aside or modifies it before that time.
(6) Any provisions of this section and chapter regarding liability for the costs of cleanup, removal, remediation or abatement of any pollution, hazardous waste or solid waste shall be limited as provided in Section 49-17-42 and rules adopted under that section.
(7) Any violation of this law and the Mississippi Air and Water Pollution Control Law or the Solid Wastes Disposal Law of 1974 shall be assessed a civil penalty under only one (1) of these laws.
SOURCES: Laws, 1977, ch. 476, Sec. 18(1-3); 1979, ch. 477, Sec. 51, eff from and after July 1, 1979. Laws, 1995, ch. 627, Sec. 10; Laws, 2002, ch. 492, § 27, HB 573, eff from and after July 1, 2002.
PREVIOUS VERSIONS: Pre-2002.
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