15 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2010 Edition
Title 15 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
CHAPTER 71 - PETROLEUM OVERCHARGE DISTRIBUTION AND RESTITUTION
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

CHAPTER 71—PETROLEUM OVERCHARGE DISTRIBUTION AND RESTITUTION

Sec.
4501.
Restitutionary amounts covered.
4502.
Identification and disbursement of restitutionary amounts.
4503.
Deposit of remainder of excess amount into Treasury as indirect restitution.
4504.
Statute of limitation.
4505.
Reports.
4506.
Termination.
4507.
Definitions.

        

§4501. Restitutionary amounts covered

(a) In general

This chapter (other than section 4504 of this title)—

(1) specifies the procedure for the disbursement of funds collected, including interest thereon, by the Secretary or the courts pursuant to the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973 [15 U.S.C. 751 et seq.] or the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970 (and the regulations issued thereunder) as restitution for actual or alleged violations of such Acts or regulations; and

(2) subject to subsection (c) of this section, applies to—

(A) any amount of such funds held in escrow by the Secretary through accounts administered by the Secretary of the Treasury on or after October 21, 1986; and

(B) any amount of such funds determined at any time, pursuant to judicial or administrative proceedings (including any settlement agreement or declaratory judgment) instituted by the Secretary to enforce such Acts and regulations, to be amounts paid for such actual or alleged violations, including any such amounts held in escrow by any court.

(b) Special rule

Amounts described in subsection (a)(2) of this section and held in an escrow account by a court before October 21, 1986, may continue to be held by such court but shall be disbursed, together with any interest thereon, by the Secretary or, as appropriate, by the court only in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(c) Exclusions

Subsection (a)(2) of this section does not apply to—

(1) any amount actually disbursed before October 21, 1986, to any person or class of persons pursuant to section 155 of Public Law 97–377 or any final judicial or administrative order or judgment (including any settlement agreement or declaratory judgment);

(2) any amount to which any person or class of persons has an enforceable right, created or vested, or governed by the terms and conditions of the settlement approved on July 7, 1986, in In Re: the Department of Energy Stripper Well Exemption Litigation, M.D.L. No. 378, in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas; and

(3) any amount designated by judicial or administrative order or judgment (including any settlement agreement or declaratory judgment) for disbursement at any time to any specific person or class of persons—

(A) identified in such order or judgment as injured by the violation or alleged violation of the Acts described in subsection (a)(1) of this section (including the regulations thereunder); or

(B) identified in such order or judgment issued before October 21, 1986, for indirect restitution.

(d) Escrow accounts

Subject to subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the amounts covered by subsection (a) of this section shall be held in appropriate escrow accounts administered for the Secretary by the Secretary of the Treasury.

(e) Interest

Consistent with the disbursement requirements of this chapter, the Secretary of the Treasury shall provide that amounts described in subsection (a) of this section shall earn interest at the maximum rate earned on investments of Federal trust funds by the Secretary of the Treasury in short-term and long-term securities issued by the Federal Government (including minority bank investments).

(Pub. L. 99–509, title III, §3002, Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1881.)

References in Text

The Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), is Pub. L. 93–159, Nov. 27, 1973, 87 Stat. 628, as amended, which was classified generally to chapter 16A (§751 et seq.) of this title, was omitted from the Code pursuant to section 760g of this title, which provided for the expiration of the President's authority under that chapter on Sept. 30, 1981.

The Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), is title II of Pub. L. 91–379, Aug. 15, 1970, 84 Stat. 799, as amended, formerly set out as an Economic Stabilization Provisions note under section 1904 of Title 12, Banks and Banking.

Section 155 of Public Law 97–377, referred to in subsec. (c)(1), is section 155 of Pub. L. 97–377, title I, Dec. 21, 1982, 96 Stat. 1919, which is not classified to the Code.

Short Title

Section 3001 of Pub. L. 99–509 provided that: “This subtitle [subtitle A (§§3001–3008) of title III of Pub. L. 99–509, enacting this chapter] may be cited as the ‘Petroleum Overcharge Distribution and Restitution Act of 1986’.”

§4502. Identification and disbursement of restitutionary amounts

(a) In general

(1) Subject to paragraph (2)—

(A) all rulings, policies, or other statements (including any administrative order or settlement agreement) issued after October 21, 1986, by any office, official, or employee of the Department of Energy; and

(B) all orders, including declaratory judgments, issued by any court after October 21, 1986,


shall be consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

(2) Nothing in this section shall affect the settlement approved on July 7, 1986, in In Re: the Department of Energy Stripper Well Exemption Litigation, M.D.L. No. 378, in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.

(b) to (d) Repealed. Pub. L. 99–509, title III, §3003(e), as added Pub. L. 105–277, div. A, §101(e) [title III, §337], Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–231, 2681–295

(e) Repeal of subsections (b) to (d); equitable distribution of escrow remainder to claimants

Subsections (b), (c), and (d) of this section are repealed, and any rights that may have arisen are extinguished, on the date of the enactment of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999. After that date, the amount available for direct restitution to current and future refined petroleum product claimants under this chapter is reduced by the amounts specified in title II of that Act as being derived from amounts held in escrow under section 4501(d) of this title. The Secretary shall assure that the amount remaining in escrow to satisfy refined petroleum product claims for direct restitution is allocated equitably among the claimants.

(Pub. L. 99–509, title III, §3003, Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1882; Pub. L. 105–277, div. A, §101(e) [title III, §337], Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–231, 2681–295.)

References in Text

The Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999, referred to in subsec. (e), is section 101(e) of div. A of Pub. L. 105–277, Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–231. Provisions of title II of the Act relating to amounts held in escrow under section 4501(d) of this title (112 Stat. 2681–276) are not classified to the Code. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (e), was in the original “this Act”, which was translated as meaning this subtitle, which enacted this chapter, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Amendments

1998—Subsecs. (b) to (e). Pub. L. 105–277 added subsec. (e) which struck out subsec. (b) relating to disbursement of restitutionary amounts as direct restitution to injured persons, subsec. (c) relating to determination of excess amount to be used for indirect restitution, and subsec. (d) relating to disbursement of excess amount as indirect restitution for energy conservation programs.

§4503. Deposit of remainder of excess amount into Treasury as indirect restitution

The amount that remains from the excess amount described in section 4502(c) 1 of this title after all disbursements have been made for a fiscal year under section 4502(d) 1 of this title shall be deposited by the Secretary of the Treasury into the general fund of the Treasury.

(Pub. L. 99–509, title III, §3004, Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1884.)

References in Text

Section 4502(c) and (d) of this title, referred to in text, was repealed by section 4502(e) of this title.

1 See References in Text note below.

§4504. Statute of limitation

(a) In general

(1) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the commencement of a civil enforcement action shall be barred unless such action is commenced before the later of—

(A) September 30, 1988; or

(B) six years after the date of the violation upon which the action is based.


(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), the term “commencement of a civil enforcement action” means—

(A) the signing and issuance of a proposed remedial order against any person for filing with the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Department of Energy; or

(B) the filing of a complaint with the appropriate district court of the United States.


(3) For purposes of this section, the term “civil enforcement action” means an administrative or judicial civil action by the Secretary under the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973 [15 U.S.C. 751 et seq.] or the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970 (or the regulations issued thereunder) for the enforcement of any violation of such Acts or regulations.

(b) Exceptions

(1) In computing the periods established in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of subsection (a)(1) of this section, there shall be excluded any period—

(A) during which any person who is or may become the subject of a civil enforcement action is outside the United States, has absconded or concealed himself, or is not subject to legal process;

(B) during which facts material to the establishment and maintenance of a civil enforcement action could not be known;

(C) occurring before full compliance with any subpoena or special report order issued to any person under section 772 of this title, and such additional period (not to exceed 12 calendar months) after such compliance for the Secretary to consider the results thereof and commence a civil enforcement action;

(D) during the pendency of any relevant criminal action under the Acts or regulations described in subsection (a)(1) of this section during which a civil enforcement action is held in abeyance as a result of prosecutorial discretion and with or without a stay, and such additional period (not to exceed 12 calendar months) after a final judicial order or dismissal of such criminal action to commence a civil enforcement action;

(E) before the issuance of an order that constitutes final agency action on a request for adjustment from any rule, regulation, or order under section 7194 of title 42, and such additional period (not to exceed 12 calendar months) to commence a civil enforcement action; or

(F) of extension, to which the Secretary and the defendant have consented in writing, before the expiration of the time periods prescribed in subsection (a)(1) of this section.


(2) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not affect or apply to any civil enforcement action commenced before, on, or after October 21, 1986, and remanded by the Office of Hearings and Appeals, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or the court for further action of any kind.

(3) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any agency orders issued under the Acts or regulations described in subsection (a)(1) of this section or to regulations issued under this chapter, other than a proposed remedial order subject to this section.

(c) Expression of intent

(1) It is the intent of the Congress that—

(A) the Secretary and the Administrator of the Economic Regulatory Administration shall, to the greatest extent possible and within the time frames specified on September 12, 1986, by such Administrator to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, commence civil enforcement actions with respect to all cases known by such Administrator as of October 21, 1986, and designated by such Administrator as “prelitigation cases”, unless such an action is found not to be warranted;

(B) the Secretary and such Administrator not delay civil enforcement actions so as to cause the limitation in subsection (a)(1) of this section to apply to any such case;

(C) any negotiations for the purpose of settlement of alleged violations not delay the commencement of a civil enforcement action; and

(D) the Department of Justice cooperate in ensuring that activities necessary, including the enforcement of subpoenas, to commence civil enforcement actions are carried out in a timely manner.


(2) Any failure to comply with the time frames described in paragraph (1)(A) shall not be considered for any purpose in any administrative or judicial proceeding subsequently commenced.

(d) End of investigations and audits

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall not initiate, after January 1, 1987, any audit or investigation of alleged civil violations of the Acts or regulations described in subsection (a)(1) of this section for the purpose of commencement of any civil enforcement action. Nothing in this subsection shall affect or apply to any audit or investigation conducted with respect to any civil enforcement action commenced (within the limitation established by subsection (a)(1) of this section) before, on, or after October 21, 1986. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the authority of the Secretary to continue any audit or investigation initiated before January 1, 1987.

(e) Limitation on review

Any review of a final agency action determined under section 7193 or 7194 of title 42 may not be initiated in any court by any person subject to such action after—

(1) 60 days after the effective date of that action; or

(2) 90 days after October 21, 1986,


whichever occurs later.

(f) Oversight

(1) In order to ensure the expeditious, effective, and efficient resolution of all civil enforcement actions (whether or not in administrative or judicial litigation) and all cases pending at the Office of Hearings and Appeals under subpart V regulations, the Secretary shall—

(A) maintain a personnel level for the compliance program of the Economic Regulatory Administration of 170 full-time equivalents for fiscal year 1987, subject to normal attrition and subject to the provisions of any appropriation Act enacted for such fiscal year concerning such program; and

(B) maintain for the remainder of the program an adequate mix of lawyers, auditors, technical, clerical, and administrative personnel.


(2) By July 1, 1987, and by July 1 of each year thereafter, the Administrator of the Economic Regulatory Administration shall provide to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate the full-time equivalent level necessary for such compliance program for the next fiscal year and the basis for that level.

(3) The Secretary shall, in any fiscal year, provide a notice of at least 30 days to such Committees before initiating any reduction of force at the Economic Regulatory Administration. Such notice shall provide at least—

(A) the reasons for such reduction;

(B) the impact on the mix of personnel and on all cases, whether or not in litigation, including the subpart V regulation proceedings; and

(C) the expected costs and savings for the applicable fiscal year.


(4) The Administrator of the Economic Regulatory Administration shall keep such Committees fully and currently informed about the status (including delays, settlement negotiations, and other pertinent matters) of all enforcement cases (whether or not in litigation) and subpart V regulation proceedings.

(Pub. L. 99–509, title III, §3005, Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1884.)

References in Text

The Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973, referred to in subsec. (a)(3), is Pub. L. 93–159, Nov. 27, 1973, 87 Stat. 628, as amended, which was classified generally to chapter 16A (§751 et seq.) of this title, was omitted from the Code pursuant to section 760g of this title, which provided for the expiration of the President's authority under that chapter on Sept. 30, 1981.

The Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, referred to in subsec. (a)(3), is title II of Pub. L. 91–379, Aug. 15, 1970, 84 Stat. 799, as amended, formerly set out as an Economic Stabilization Provisions note under section 1904 of Title 12, Banks and Banking.

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b)(3), was in the original “this Act”, which was translated as meaning this subtitle, which enacted this chapter, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Change of Name

Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives treated as referring to Committee on Commerce of House of Representatives by section 1(a) of Pub. L. 104–14, set out as a note preceding section 21 of Title 2, The Congress. Committee on Commerce of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives, and jurisdiction over matters relating to securities and exchanges and insurance generally transferred to Committee on Financial Services of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 5, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Jan. 3, 2001.

§4505. Reports

(a) Report on receipts and disbursements

The Secretary shall transmit, not later than 60 days after October 21, 1986, a report to the committees referred to in subsection (d) of this section containing a clear and complete statement of all receipts, disbursements, and commitments of restitutionary amounts, as of October 21, 1986, by the Secretary pursuant to—

(1) any judicial or administrative proceeding (including any settlement agreement or declaratory judgment) instituted at any time by the Secretary to enforce the crude oil and petroleum product pricing and allocation regulations issued under the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973 [15 U.S.C. 751 et seq.] or the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970; or

(2) section 155 of Public Law 97–377.

(b) Report on collection of certain deficiency funds

The Secretary shall transmit a report each fiscal year, beginning in fiscal year 1987, to such committees on the status of collections by the Secretary of deficiency funds to be deposited into the M.D.L. No. 378 escrow account established by the United States District Court for the District of Kansas until all such deficiency funds have been paid. The Secretary shall, in a manner substantially similar to that required by section 155 of Public Law 97–377 with respect to amounts disbursed under such section, monitor the disposition by the States of any funds disbursed to the States by the court pursuant to the opinion and order of such District Court, dated July 7, 1986, with respect to In Re: the Department of Energy Stripper Well Exemption Litigation, M.D.L. No. 378, including the use of such funds for administrative costs and attorneys fees.

(c) Report on amount estimated to be available for indirect restitution

The Secretary shall transmit, on March 1 of each year beginning with 1987 and continuing until all the restitutionary amounts to which section 4501(a) of this title applies have been collected and disbursed as provided in this chapter, a report to such committees containing an estimate of the amount that will be determined under section 4502(c) 1 of this title to be the excess amount for purposes of section 4502(d)(1)(B) 1 of this title for the fiscal year beginning the next October 1.

(d) Receipt by committees

The reports required by this chapter shall be transmitted to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate.

(Pub. L. 99–509, title III, §3006, Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1886.)

References in Text

The Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), is Pub. L. 93–159, Nov. 27, 1973, 87 Stat. 628, as amended, which was classified generally to chapter 16A (§751 et seq.) of this title, was omitted from the Code pursuant to section 760g of this title, which provided for the expiration of the President's authority under that chapter on Sept. 30, 1981.

The Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), is title II of Pub. L. 91–379, Aug. 15, 1970, 84 Stat. 799, as amended, formerly set out as an Economic Stabilization Provisions note under section 1904 of Title 12, Banks and Banking.

Section 155 of Public Law 97–377, referred to in subsecs. (a)(2), (b), is section 155 of Pub. L. 97–377, title I, Dec. 21, 1982, 96 Stat. 1919, which is not classified to the Code.

Section 4502(c) and (d) of this title, referred to in subsec. (c), was repealed by section 4502(e) of this title.

Change of Name

Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives treated as referring to Committee on Commerce of House of Representatives by section 1(a) of Pub. L. 104–14, set out as a note preceding section 21 of Title 2, The Congress. Committee on Commerce of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives, and jurisdiction over matters relating to securities and exchanges and insurance generally transferred to Committee on Financial Services of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 5, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Jan. 3, 2001.

1 See References in Text note below.

§4506. Termination

(a) In general

(1) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the provisions of this chapter (other than section 4504 of this title) shall terminate 90 days after the Secretary—

(A) determines that all of the restitutionary amounts to which section 4501(a) of this title applies have been collected and disbursed as provided in this chapter; and

(B) submits to Congress the final report required by section 4505 of this title.


(2) Such final report shall include the determination (and the justification thereof) described in paragraph (1)(A). Such report shall also be published in the Federal Register.

(b) Exception

The requirements of section 4502(d) 1 of this title shall continue to be applicable to the use of restitutionary amounts received under this chapter as long as such funds remain available.

(Pub. L. 99–509, title III, §3007, Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1887.)

References in Text

Section 4502(d) of this title, referred to in subsec. (b), was repealed by section 4502(e) of this title.

1 See References in Text note below.

§4507. Definitions

For purposes of this chapter:

(1) The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Energy.

(2) The term “subpart V regulations” means the provisions of Subpart V—Special Procedures for Distribution of Refunds (10 CFR 205.280–205.288) and any amendment made after October 21, 1986, and all precedents and decisions under such regulations, but only to the extent that such provisions, precedents, decisions, and amendments are consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

(3) The term “energy conservation programs” means—

(A) the program under part A of the Energy Conservation and Existing Buildings Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C. 6861 and following);

(B) the programs under part D of title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (relating to primary and supplemental State energy conservation programs; 42 U.S.C. 6321 and following);

(C) the program under part G of title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (relating to energy conservation for schools and hospitals; 42 U.S.C. 6371 and following); and

(D) the program under the National Energy Extension Service Act (42 U.S.C. 7001 and following).


(4) The term “person” includes refiners, retailers, resellers, farmer cooperatives, transportation entities, public and private utilities, school districts, Federal, State, and local governmental entities, farmers, and other individuals and their successors.

(5) The term “State” means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession of the United States.

(Pub. L. 99–509, title III, §3008, Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1887.)

References in Text

The Energy Conservation and Existing Buildings Act of 1976, referred to in par. (3)(A), probably means the Energy Conservation and Existing Buildings Act of 1976, which is title IV of Pub. L. 94–385, Aug. 14, 1976, 90 Stat. 1150, as amended. Part A of the Energy Conservation and Existing Buildings Act of 1976, is classified generally to part A (§6861 et seq.) of subchapter III of chapter 81 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 6801 of Title 42 and Tables.

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, referred to in par. (3)(B), (C), is Pub. L. 94–163, Dec. 22, 1975, 89 Stat. 871, as amended. Parts D and G of title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act are classified generally to parts B (§6321 et seq.) and E (§6371 et seq.), respectively, of subchapter III of chapter 77 of Title 42. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 6201 of Title 42 and Tables.

The National Energy Extension Service Act, referred to in par. (3)(D), is title V of Pub. L. 95–39, June 3, 1977, 91 Stat. 191, as amended, which was classified principally to chapter 83 (§7001 et seq.) of Title 42 and was repealed by Pub. L. 102–486, title I, §143(a), Oct. 24, 1992, 106 Stat. 2843. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 7001 of Title 42 and Tables.