Civil Penalties and Appeals
The goal of the OCS Civil/Criminal Penalties Program is to assure safe and clean operations on the OCS. Through the pursuit, assessment, and collection of civil penalties and referrals for the consideration of criminal penalties, the program is designed to encourage compliance with OCS statutes and regulations.
The Bureau’s Criminal Penalty program is a screening and referral process. As part of the process, potential cases are analyzed to determine whether the facts and circumstances suggest the likelihood of a knowing violation of law warranting investigation by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG decides whether to initiate a criminal investigation or to conduct further preliminary inquiries to ascertain the facts necessary to determine whether the case meets the criteria for investigation. Below is the Statutory Authority that governs the Bureau's Criminal Penalty Program.
Criminal violations are covered under Section 24(c) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA or the Act) (43 U.S.C. 1350(c)). Criminal violations are those that are knowing and willful and may include:
- Violation of any provision of the OCSLA, any lease term, license, or permit pursuant to the Act, or any regulation or order issued under the Act designed to protect health, safety, or the environment or to conserve natural resources;
- Any false statement, representation, or certification in any application, record, report, or other document filed or required to be maintained under the Act;
- Falsifying, tampering with, or rendering inaccurate any monitoring device or method of record required to be maintained under the Act; and
- A disclosure of any data or information required to be kept confidential by the Act. Inspector General Act (IGA): The OIG is authorized to investigate violations of OCSLA under Section 2 of the IGA (5 U.S.C. App §§ 2 and 4 (1998)).
Civil Penalties Assessments and Appeals
Summary of Civil Penalties Paid
Chronological History of the OCS Civil Penalty Program
Federal Register (FR) Notices
- FR 2011: Final rule published which raises the maximum penalty rate effective July 30, 2011.
Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTL)