The regulations governing NOAA's administrative proceedings for the assessment of civil penalties; suspension, revocation, modification, or denial of permits; issuance and use of written warnings; and release or forfeiture of seized property can be found at 15 CFR Part 904 (the 904s). The regulations were most recently amended in 2010 and 2022.
On June 30, 2022, a final rule amending the 904s was published in the Federal Register (see 87 Fed. Reg. 38934). The principal changes include updates to statutory references; clarifications to the Administrator’s discretionary review; and revisions to the written warning appeals process, responses to requests for admissions, and directions for electronic service. Other changes simplify the use of electronic signatures, rename discovery filings, allow depositions by videoconference, update how and when the need for a witness interpreter is noticed, clarify both when failing to pay can be a basis for permit sanctions and the application of existing administrative forfeiture deadlines, and allow NOAA to publish notice of a proposed forfeiture on an official government website.
On June 23, 2010, a final rule amending the 904s was published in the Federal Register (see 75 Fed. Reg. 75631). The principal change was removal of the requirement that an Administrative Law Judge state good reason(s) for departing from the civil penalty or permit sanction assessed by NOAA in its charging document. This revision eliminated any presumption in favor of the civil penalty or permit sanction assessed by NOAA. The other change corrected a clerical error in a citation to rules pertaining to protective orders issued by Administrative Law Judges.