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Title: PUBLIC UTILITIES
Section: Violation of act; injunction; civil penalties.
14. a. Whenever it appears to the board that a person has violated any provision of P.L.1994, c.118 (C.48:2-73 et al.), or any rule, regulation or order adopted pursuant thereto, it may issue an order specifying the provision or provisions of P.L.1994, c.118, or the rule, regulation or order of which the person is in violation, citing the action which constituted the violation, ordering abatement of the violation, and giving notice to the person of his right to a hearing on the matters contained in the order. Such order shall be effective upon receipt and any person to whom such order is directed shall comply with the order immediately. b. The board may institute an action or proceeding in the Superior Court for injunctive and other relief for any violation of P.L.1994, c.118 (C.48:2-73 et al.), or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to P.L.1994, c.118 and the court may proceed in the action in a summary manner. In any such proceeding the court may grant temporary or interlocutory relief, notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.48:2-24. Such relief may include, singly or in combination: (1) A temporary or permanent injunction; and (2) Assessment of the violator for the costs of any investigation, inspection, or monitoring survey which led to the establishment of the violation, and for the reasonable costs of preparing and litigating the case under this subsection. Assessments under this subsection shall be paid to the State Treasurer. The board or an affected operator may institute an action in the Superior Court to enjoin a person whose repeated failure to comply with the provisions of P.L.1994, c.118 constitutes a threat to public safety from engaging in any further excavation or demolition work within the State, except under such terms and conditions as the Superior Court may prescribe to ensure the safety of the public. c. The provisions of section 16 of P.L.1994, c.118 (C.48:2-88) to the contrary notwithstanding, a person who is determined by the board, after notice and opportunity to be heard, to have violated any provision of P.L.1994, c.118 (C.48:2-73 et al.) or any rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant thereto with respect to a natural gas underground pipeline or distribution facility, or a hazardous liquid underground pipeline or distribution facility, shall be liable to a civil penalty not to exceed $100,000 for each violation for each day the violation continues, except that the maximum civil penalty may not exceed $1,000,000 for any related series of violations. Any civil penalty imposed pursuant to this subsection may be compromised by the board. In determining the amount of the penalty, or the amount agreed upon in compromise, the board shall consider the nature, circumstances, and gravity of the violation; the degree of the violator's culpability; any history of prior violations; the prospective effect of the penalty on the ability of the violator to conduct business; any good faith effort on the part of the violator in attempting to achieve compliance; the violator's ability to pay the penalty; and other factors the board determines to be appropriate. The amount of the penalty when finally determined, or the amount agreed upon in compromise, may be deducted from any sums owing by the State to the person charged, or may be recovered, if necessary, in a summary proceeding pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.). The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999" in connection with P.L.1994, c.118. d. Pursuit of any remedy specified in this section shall not preclude the pursuit of any other remedy, including any civil remedy for damage to an operator's underground facilities or for damage to a person's property, provided by any other law. Administrative and judicial remedies provided in this section may be pursued simultaneously. L.1994,c.118,s.14; amended 2007, c.118, s.1.
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