Administrative Agencies are created by federal constitution, the US congress, state legislatures and local law making bodies to manage crises, redress social problems or oversee complex matters of governmental concern beyond the expertise of legislators (Harington, & Cater, 2015). The Administrative Agencies’ rules and regulations often have the force of law against individuals. This tendency however, has led to many critics to argue that creation of the Agencies that laws are to be created by elected officials (Billiet et al, 2014). In the US, it’s only the congress that has the power to write laws that are generally binding on the general public (Becker, 1968). The constitutional authority does not extend down to the individual citizens of the country nor does it extend down to individual businesses located in the country
It’s only the state government that has the constitutional authority to regulate the lives of those living inside the borders and the companies doing businesses.
Types Of Administrative Enforcement Actions
These administrative enforcement actions include;
- Administrative civil liability
- Civil judicial actions
- Criminal actions
Administrative civil liability
According to Billiet et al., 2010, Administrative civil liability is a non –judicial enforcement actions taken by EPA or state under its own authority and do not involve judicial court proceedings. It can be in form of;
- Notice of violation
- An order directing an individual to comply with statutes
Civil judicial actions
They are formal law suits and are filed in court against persons or entities that have failed to;
- Comply with statutory requirements
- Comply with administrative order
- Pay EPA the cost of cleaning up a superfund site
These are normally filed by US Department of Justice on behalf of EPA. They are under Civil Cases and Settlement(Harington, & Cater, 2015). An example of this is when a court order is given to individuals to stop any activities which do not uphold environmental health.
Occur when EPA or State enforce against a company or a person through criminal action. Criminal actions are usually reserved for the most serious violations, that are willful, or knowingly committed and court conviction can result into fine or imprisonment (Billetet al, 2014). For example, when a court subjects or fines a defendant to imprisonment due to crimes which violate social order or environmental health and cause harm to people. The court can thus force the criminal to reinstitute the persons affected or rather pay for the damages that may have been caused.
In my opinion, criminal action is much better compared to the civil judicial action. This is because the damages in criminal action are paid to the affected persons while civil judicial action on the other hand gives an order to stop destructive activities.
Enforcement Of Rules By Administrative Agencies
Are generally agreed upon resolutions to an enforcement case. Settlements in administrative actions are often in the form of consent agreements/final orders. Settlements in judicial actions are in the form of consent decrees signed by all parties to the action and filed in the appropriate court.
These are monetary assessment paid by a person or regulated entity due to a violation or non-compliance. Penalties are incentives for coming into compliance and staying in compliance with Environmental statutes and orders (Billiet et al, 2014).
According to Billiet et al., 2010, injunctive relief requires a regulated entity to perform some designated actions it also brings the entity to compliance with environmental law. Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) can be part of an enforcement settlement.
These are federal or state fines imposed by judges at the sentencing. Besides penalties, restitutions may be paid tom those affected by the violation, for example paying local fire department for responding and containing a hazardous waste spill (Harington, & Cater, 2015).
Similarities and differences between administrative enforcement
In both the actions, there is a soft or hard punishment involved or a notice to the defendant given by the authority. Contrary to the similarities, each type of action is addressed differently(Harington, & Cater, 2015). For example civil liability is solved outside the court whereas civil judicial action is addressed in the court.
It can be concluded therefore that all the administrative actions are important in bringing social order. The violators of social and environmental laws should be forced by law to either restitute the affected persons or serve jail terms as a way of punishing them.