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How do I contest a penalty assessment?

When a civil penalty is assessed, the mine operator, contractor, agent or miner (Entity) has 30 days from the day of receipt of the proposed assessment in which to file a penalty contest and request a hearing before a Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission administrative law judge.  Every civil penalty assessment lists each citation and/or order for which a penalty is being assessed.  The Entity has the option to contest all or some of the civil penalties by placing a checkmark beside each citation and/or order listed on the proposed assessment that it wants to contest.  The Entity is also requested to state the reasons for the contest once it has been timely received and processed.  A copy of the contested assessment must be returned to MSHA's Civil Penalty Compliance Division in Arlington, Virginia within 30 days of the Entity's receipt of the proposed assessment.  An Entity who wants to contest a civil penalty assessment must provide such notification regardless of whether it has previously contested the underlying citation(s) and/or order(s).  If, within 30 days from receipt of the Secretary’s proposed penalty assessment, an Entity fails to notify the Secretary that it contests the proposed penalty, the Secretary’s proposed penalty assessment will be deemed a final order of the Commission and is not subject to review by any court or agency.