Monday, September 04, 2006

EPA Moving Toward Providing Legally Required Notice by Internet

This applies only to notice to the public, not the violator, but it continues the massive adoption of the internet for conducting government business.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OECA-2006-0748; FRL-8213-1] Notice of Intent To Provide Internet Publication of Proposed Penalties under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to issue notices of proposed penalty orders issued under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act via the Internet. EPA is encouraging the Regions to use the Internet as a more effective and efficient means to provide such notice. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Kaczka Brantner, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Office of Civil Enforcement, Water Enforcement Division, Mail Code 2243A, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-9933; fax number: 202-564-0018; e-mail address: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Both the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act authorize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess administrative penalties for specified violations of the Act. See sections 309(g) and 311(b)(6) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1319(g) and 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(6) and section 1423(c) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), 42 U.S.C. 300h-2(c). These provisions require EPA to provide public notice of any civil penalty order before issuing any such order. For such administrative actions, EPA's Consolidated Rules of Practice Governing the Administrative Assessment of Civil Penalties, 40 CFR Part 22, require notice to the public ``by a method reasonably calculated to provide notice.'' 40 CFR 22.45(b)(2). Typically, notice is provided through publication in newspapers of general circulation. The Part 22 rules and the Clean Water Act do not define what methods of notice are reasonable. Courts have recognized that the Internet may be one method reasonably calculated to provide public notice. Thus, for example in discussing service of process by e-mail, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has recently described in broad language a court's authority to adapt its procedures to meet technological advances as follows: ``In proper circumstances, this broad constitutional principle [i.e., that the selected method of service must be reasonably calculated to provide notice and an opportunity to respond] unshackles the federal courts from anachronistic methods of service and permits them entry into the technological renaissance.'' Rio Properties, Inc. v. Rio International Interlink. 284 F.3d 1007, 1017 (9th Cir. 2002)