MINES AND MINING
OIL AND GAS WELLS — GEOLOGIC INFORMATION, AND PREVENTION OF WASTE
47-329. Powers of commission — Witnesses — Penalty. (1) The commission shall have the power to summon witnesses, to administer oaths, and to require the production of records, books, and documents for examination at any hearing or investigation conducted by the commission.
(2) In case of failure or refusal on the part of any person to comply with a subpoena issued by the commission, or in case of refusal of any witness to testify as to any matter regarding which he may be interrogated, any district court in the state, upon the application of the commission, may issue an attachment for such person and compel him to comply with such subpoena, and to attend before the commission and produce such records, books, and documents for examination, and to give his testimony. Such court shall have the power to punish for contempt as in the case of disobedience to a like subpoena issued by the court, or for refusal to testify therein.
(3) Any person who violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter or any rules or orders made or promulgated hereunder may be assessed a civil penalty by the commission or its duly authorized agent of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each violation and shall be liable for reasonable attorney’s fees. Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate and additional violation, punishable by separate and additional civil penalties in like amount or other like civil penalties as determined by the commission; provided that the civil penalties do not begin to accrue until the date notice of violation and opportunity to be heard are given.
(a) Assessment of a civil penalty may be made in conjunction with any other commission administrative action.
(b) No civil penalty may be assessed unless the person charged was given notice and opportunity for a hearing pursuant to chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code, which civil penalty begins to accrue no earlier than the date notice of violation and opportunity for a hearing are given.
(c) If the commission is unable to collect such penalty or if any person fails to pay all or a set portion of the civil penalty as determined by the commission, it may recover such amount by action in the appropriate district court.
(d) Any person against whom the commission has assessed a civil penalty under the provisions of this section may, within twenty-eight (28) days of the final action by the agency making the assessment, appeal the assessment to the district court of the county in which the violation is alleged by the commission to have occurred pursuant to chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code.
(e) All civil penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be remitted to the oil and gas conservation fund.
(4) Whenever it shall appear that any person is violating or threatening to violate any provision of this act or any rule, regulation, or order made hereunder, the commission may bring a civil action in the name of the state against such person in the district court in the county of the residence of the defendant, or in the county of the residence of any defendant, if there be more than one (1) defendant, or in the county where the violation is alleged to have occurred, to restrain such person from continuing such violation or from carrying out the threat of violation. In such suit, the court may grant injunctions, prohibitory and mandatory, including temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions. In such suit, the commission may seek damages to recover costs caused by such violation including, but not limited to, costs of well control, spill response and cleanup, restoration of fresh waters, well plugging and abandonment, and reclamation of surface disturbance.
(5) Nothing in this act, and no suit by or against the commission, and no violation charged or asserted against any person under any provisions of this act, or any rule, regulation or order issued hereunder, shall impair or abridge or delay any cause of action for damages which any person may have or assert against any person violating any provision of this act, or any rule, regulation, or order issued thereunder. Any person so damaged by the violation may sue for and recover such damages as he otherwise may be entitled to receive. In the event the commission shall fail to bring suit to enjoin any actual or threatened violation of this act, or of any rule, regulation or order made hereunder, then any person or party in interest adversely affected and who has, ten (10) days or more prior thereto, notified the commission in writing of such violation or threat thereof and has requested the commission to sue, may, to prevent any or further violation, bring suit for that purpose in the district court of any county in which the commission could have brought suit.
(6) Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this chapter, or any of the rules promulgated hereunder for carrying out the provisions of this chapter, or who knowingly fails or refuses to comply with any requirements herein specified, or who knowingly interferes with the commission, its agents, designees or employees in the execution or on account of the execution of its or their duties under this chapter or rules promulgated hereunder, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or be imprisoned in a county jail for not more than twelve (12) months, or be subject to both such fine and imprisonment.
(7) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as requiring the commission to report minor violations for prosecution when it believes that the public interest will be best served by suitable warnings or other administrative action.
[(47-329) 47-325, added 1963, ch. 148, sec. 11, p. 433; am. 2012, ch. 73, sec. 3, p. 213; am. 2012, ch. 80, sec. 1, p. 230; am. and redesig. 2017, ch. 271, sec. 22, p. 701.]