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Regulation

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has announced that the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act violations will increase from $42,704 to $43,576 a day for each violation. This legislatively mandated increase is contained in a final rule which came into effect on 18 January 2018.

“Assessing civil penalties is one of BSEE’s tools used to promote safe and environmentally sustainable operations,” explained BSEE Director Scott Angelle. “America’s energy future depends on robust production on the Outer Continental Shelf, and oil and gas operators must produce in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.”

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 Bureau reviews penalty rates annually to ensure that they keep pace with inflation and remain a mechanism to emphasize to industry the importance of safe and environmentally sustainable operations.

The law 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 February 2017.

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

BSEE issued NTL 2018-N01, Revised OCSLA Civil Penalty Assessment Matrix January 18, 2018.