[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 127 (Wednesday, July 2, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 37644-37646]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15578]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 13

[FRL-9910-14-OCFO]


Administrative Wage Garnishment

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Direct final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct 
final action to amend EPA's claims collection standards to implement 
the administrative wage garnishment provisions of the Debt Collection 
Improvement Act of 1982, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement 
Act of 1996 (DCIA). The direct final rule will allow the EPA to garnish 
non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United 
States without first obtaining a court order.

DATES: This direct final rule is effective September 2, 2014 without 
further notice unless EPA receives adverse comments by August 1, 2014. 
If EPA receives such comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of 
the direct final rule in the Federal Register and inform the public 
that the rule will not take effect.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments by one of the following methods:
    1. Email: jones.anita@epa.gov.
    2. Fax: (202) 565-2585.
    3. Mail: OCFO-2014-0001; FRL-9910-14-OCFO FPPS c/o Anita Jones, 
OCFO/OFM/FPPS, Mailcode 2733R, Environmental Protection Agency, 1300 
Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.
    Instructions: EPA's policy is that all comments received will be 
included in the public docket without change and may be made available 
online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be 
Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information restricted 
by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or 
otherwise protected through email. If you submit an electronic comment, 
EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information 
in the body of your comment and with any disk or Cd-ROM you submit. If 
EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot 
contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your 
comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, 
any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: FPPS c/o Anita Jones, OCFO/OFM/FPPS, 
Mailcode 2733R, Environmental Protection Agency, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. 
NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-4969; fax 
number: (202) 565-2585; email address: jones.anita@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Applicability: This direct final rule 
applies to delinquent non-tax debt owed to the United States.

Background

    This direct final rule implements the administrative wage 
garnishment provisions in section 31001(o) of the Debt Collection 
Improvement Act of the 1996 (DCIA), Public Law 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321-
358, codified as 31 U.S.C. 3720D. Under the administrative wage 
garnishment provisions of the DCIA,

[[Page 37645]]

Federal agencies may garnish administratively up to 15 percent of the 
disposable pay of a debtor to satisfy a delinquent non-tax debt owed to 
the United States. Prior to the enactment of the DCIA, Federal agencies 
were required to obtain a court judgment before garnishing non-Federal 
wages. Section 31001(o) of the DCIA preempts State laws that prohibit 
wage garnishment or otherwise govern wage garnishment procedures.
    As authorized by the DCIA, a Federal agency collecting a delinquent 
non-tax debt may garnish a delinquent debtor's wages in accordance with 
regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Treasury. The Bureau of 
Fiscal Services, a bureau of the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), 
is responsible for promulgating the regulations implementing this and 
other debt collection tools established by the DCIA. The Bureau of 
Fiscal Services published its final rule at 63 FR 25136, May 6 1998, 
(Treasury Final Rule) and published technical amendments at 64 FR 
22906, 22908, April 28, 1999 and 66 FR 51867, 51868, October 11, 2001. 
The Treasury Final Rule, as amended, is published in 31 CFR 285.11. 
Pursuant to 31 CFR 285.11(f), Federal agencies must either prescribe 
their own conforming regulations for the conduct of AWG hearings 
consistent with the substantive and procedural requirements set forth 
in the Treasury Final Rule or adopt Treasury's AWG regulation, 31 CFR 
285.11, without change by reference.

Basic Provisions

    In accordance with the requirements of the DCIA and the 
implementing regulations at 31 CFR 285.11, the EPA is adopting the 
provisions of 31 CFR 285.11 concerning administrative wage garnishment, 
including the hearing procedures described in 31 CFR 285.11(f).

Regulatory Analysis

Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review

    This action is not a ``significant regulatory action'' as defined 
in Executive Order 128666 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and is 
therefore not subject to review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 
(76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not impose an information collection burden under 
the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. 
Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b). This regulation applies to 
individuals, as well as employers of such individuals, with delinquent 
debt owed to the United States. A small number of employers of 
individuals with delinquent debt will be subject to this regulation and 
to its certification requirements in this direct final rule, the 
requirements do not impose an information collection burden. The 
employers of delinquent debtors must certify certain information about 
the debtor such as the debtor's employment status and earnings. The 
information is contained in the employer's payroll records. Therefore, 
the burden of completing the certification would not be significant.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires an agency 
to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis for any rule subject to 
notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative 
Procedure Act or any other statute unless the agency certifies that the 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, 
small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.
    For purposes of assessing the impacts of today's rule on small 
entities, small entity is defined as: (1) A small business as defined 
by the Small Business Administration's (SBA) regulations at 13 CFR 
121.201; (2) a small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of 
a city, county town, school district or special district with a 
population of less than 50,000; and (3) a small organization that is 
any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated 
and is not dominant in its field.
    After considering the economic impacts of today's final rule on 
small entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    This rule applies only to individuals, as well as employers of such 
individuals, with delinquent debts owed to the United States. The 
requirements will not have a significant economic impact on these 
entities. Employers of delinquent debtors must certify certain 
information about the debtor such as the debtor's employment status and 
earnings. This information is contained in the employer's payroll 
records. Therefore, it will not take a significant amount of time or 
result in a significant cost for an employer to complete the 
certification form. Even if an employer is served withholdings orders 
on several employees over the course of a year, the cost imposed on the 
employer to complete the certifications would not have a significant 
economic impact on the entity. Employers are not required to vary their 
normal pay cycles in order to comply with a withholding order issued 
pursuant to this direct final rule.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action contains no Federal mandates under the provisions of 
Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 2 U.S.C. 
1531-1538 for State, local, or tribal governments or the private 
sector. The action implements a mandate specifically and explicitly set 
forth by the Congress in the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 
(DCIA), Public Law 104-134, without exercise of any policy discretion 
by EPA.

Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have 
substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between 
the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as 
specified in Executive Order 13132. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does 
not apply to this action.

Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in 
Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). Administrative 
wage garnishment only applies to circumstances where individuals, as 
well as employers of such individuals, with delinquent debts owed to 
the United States which do not have a substantial direct effects on one 
or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes. 
Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health 
Risks and Safety Risks

    EPA interprets EO 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) as applying 
only to those regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks, 
such that the analysis required under section 5-501 of the EO has the 
potential to influence the regulation. This action is not subject to EO 
13045 because it does not establish

[[Page 37646]]

an environmental standard intended to mitigate health or safety risks.

Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355 
(May 22, 2001)), because it is not a significant regulatory action 
under Executive Order 12866.

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 (``NTTAA''), Public Law 104-113, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) 
directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory 
activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standards bodies. NTTAA directs EPA to provide 
Congress, through OMB, explanations when the agency decides not to use 
available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. This action 
does not involve technical standards. Therefore, EPA is not considering 
the use of any voluntary consensus standards.

Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice 
in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    Executive Order (EO) 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994)) establishes 
federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provisions 
directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and 
permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission 
by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high 
and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, 
policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income 
populations in the United States.
    EPA lacks the discretionary authority to address environmental 
justice in this proposed rulemaking. This rule implements the 
provisions in section 31001(o) of the Debt Collection Improvement Act 
of 1996 (DCIA) and only addresses administrative wage garnishment for 
delinquent non-tax debt.

Congressional Review Act

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally 
provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating 
the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, 
to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the 
United States. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other 
required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of 
Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior 
to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A Major rule cannot 
take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal 
Register. This action is not a ``major rule'' as defined by 5 U.S.C. 
804(2). This rule will be effective September 2, 2014.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 13

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, 
Claims, Debt collection, Government employees, Garnishment of wages, 
Hearing and appeal procedures, Salaries, Wages.

    Dated: June 23, 2014.
Jeanne Conklin,
Acting Director Office of Financial Management.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Environmental 
Protection Agency amends 40 CFR part 13 as follows:

PART 13--CLAIMS COLLECTION STANDARDS

0
1. The authority citation to part 13 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552a, 5512, and 5514; 31 U.S.C. 3701; 31 
U.S.C. 3711 et seq. and 3720A; 31 U.S.C. 3720D; 31 CFR 285.11; 31 
CFR parts 900-904.


0
2. Part 13 is amended by adding Subpart I to read as follows:

Subpart I--Administrative Wage Garnishment


Sec.  13.41  Administrative wage garnishment.

    (a) Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to collect debts 
from an individual debtor's wages by means of administrative wage 
garnishment in accordance with the requirements of 31 U.S.C. 3720D and 
31 CFR 285.11. This part adopts the provisions of 31 CFR 285.11 
concerning administrative wage garnishment, including the hearing 
procedures described in 31 CFR 285.11(f). Environmental Protection 
Agency may use administrative wage garnishment to collect a delinquent 
Environmental Protection Agency debt unless the debtor is making timely 
payments under an agreement to pay the debt in installments (see Sec.  
13.18 of this part). If the Environmental Protection Agency intends to 
use administrative wage garnishment, at least thirty (30) days prior to 
initiating an administrative wage garnishment, the Environmental 
Protection Agency will send notice to the debtor as set forth in 31 CFR 
285.11(e). Alternatively, for Environmental Protection Agency debts 
referred to the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for cross-
servicing pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3711(g)(1), the Environmental 
Protection Agency may authorize Treasury to send the required notice 
informing the debtor that administrative wage garnishment will be 
initiated and how the debtor may request a hearing as described in 31 
CFR 285.11(f). If a debtor makes a timely request for a hearing, 
administrative wage garnishment will not begin until a hearing is held 
and a decision is sent to the debtor. See 31 CFR 285.11(f)(4). Even if 
a debtor's hearing request is not timely, the Environmental Protection 
Agency may suspend collection by administrative wage garnishment in 
accordance with the provisions of 31 CFR 285.11(f)(5). All travel 
expenses incurred by the debtor in connection with an in-person hearing 
will be borne by the debtor.
    (b) This section does not apply to Federal employee salary offset, 
the process by which the Environmental Protection Agency collects debts 
from the salaries of Federal employees (see Sec.  13.21 of this part).

[FR Doc. 2014-15578 Filed 7-1-14; 8:45 am]
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