BSEE Increases Maximum Civil Penalty Amounts

The U.S. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement published the following article on its website:

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) announced today that the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) violations will increase from $40,000 to $42,017 a day for each violation. This legislatively mandated increase is contained in an interim final rule which is effective July 28, 2016.

‘BSEE uses civil penalties as an enforcement tool to deter unsafe practices that are not in compliance with regulations,’ said BSEE Director Brian Salerno. ‘We review penalty rates annually to make sure they keep pace with inflation. This ensures they remain a mechanism that emphasizes to industry the importance of safe and environmentally responsible operations.’

BSEE imposes civil penalties when an operator fails to correct a recorded violation or commits a violation that constitutes a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to life, property, any mineral deposit, or the marine, coastal, or human environment.

The OCSLA directs the Secretary of the Interior to adjust the maximum civil penalty amount to reflect any increases in the Consumer Price Index prepared by the U.S. Department of Labor. In concert, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 requires Federal agencies to adjust the level of civil monetary penalties through rulemaking. BSEE most recently adjusted the penalty maximum amount in 2011. The rate was reviewed in 2014 and 2015, and it was determined that no adjustment was warranted.

The interim final rule notice is available today for review in the Federal Register.

BSEE will issue a notice to offshore oil and gas operators this week informing them of the changes and provide a list of infractions with the corresponding fine amount. That notice will be available here.”

Click here to access BSEE’s website containing this article.

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