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Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf-Civil Penalty Inflation Adjustment

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Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Interior.


Final rule.


This final rule adjusts the level of the maximum daily civil monetary penalty contained in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) regulations for violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. The civil penalty inflation adjustment, using a 1.01764 multiplier, accounts for one year of inflation spanning from October 2018 to October 2019.


This rule is effective on March 4, 2020.

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Janine Marie Tobias, Safety and Enforcement Division, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, (202) 208-4657 or by email:

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I. Background and Legal Authority

The OCSLA, at 43 U.S.C. 1350(b)(1), directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to adjust the OCSLA maximum daily civil penalty amount at least once every three years to reflect any increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to account for inflation. On November 2, 2015, the President signed into law the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Sec. 701 of Pub. L. 114-74) (FCPIA of 2015). The FCPIA of 2015 required Federal agencies to adjust the level of civil monetary penalties found in their regulations with an initial “catch-up” adjustment through rulemaking, if warranted, and then to make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation. The purpose of these adjustments is to maintain the deterrent effect of civil penalties and to further the policy goals of the underlying statutes. Agencies were required to publish the first annual inflation adjustments in the Federal Register by no later than January 15, 2017 and must publish recurring annual inflation adjustments by no later than January 15 of each subsequent year.

BSEE last updated the maximum daily civil penalty amounts in BSEE's regulations for OCSLA violations by a final rule published and effective on March 25, 2019. (See 84 FR 10,989). Consistent with OMB guidance, BSEE's final rule implemented the inflation adjustments required by the FCPIA of 2015 through October 2018.

The OMB Memorandum M-20-05 (Implementation of Penalty Inflation Adjustments for 2020, Pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015; available at​wp-content/​uploads/​2019/​12/​M-20-05.pdf) explains agency responsibilities for: Identifying applicable penalties and performing the annual adjustment; publishing revisions to regulations to implement the adjustment in the Federal Register; applying adjusted penalty levels; and performing agency oversight of inflation adjustments.

BSEE is promulgating this 2020 inflation adjustment for the OCSLA maximum daily civil penalties as a final rule pursuant to the provisions of the FCPIA of 2015 and OMB's guidance. A proposed rule is not required because the FCPIA of 2015 expressly exempted the annual inflation adjustments implemented pursuant to the FCPIA of 2015 from the pre-promulgation notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553 et seq. (the APA), allowing those adjustments to be published directly as final rules. Specifically, the FCPIA of 2015 states that agencies shall adjust civil monetary penalties “notwithstanding Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act.” (FCPIA of 2015 at section 4(b)(2)). This interpretation of the FCPIA of 2015 is confirmed by OMB Memorandum M-20-05 at 4 (“This means that the public procedure the APA generally requires—notice, an opportunity for comment, and a delay in effective date-is not required for agencies to issue regulations implementing the annual adjustment.”).

II. Calculation of Adjustments

In accordance with the FCPIA of 2015 and the guidance provided in OMB Memorandum M-20-05, BSEE has calculated the necessary inflation adjustment for the maximum daily civil monetary penalty amount in 30 CFR 250.1403 for violations of OCSLA. The previous OCSLA civil penalty inflation adjustment accounted for inflation through October 2018. The required annual civil penalty inflation adjustment promulgated through this rule accounts for inflation through October 2019.

Annual inflation adjustments are based on the percent change between the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the October preceding the date of the adjustment, and the prior year's October CPI-U. Consistent with the guidance in OMB Memorandum M-20-05, BSEE divided the October 2019 CPI-U by the October 2018 CPI-U to calculate the multiplying factor. In this case, the October 2019 CPI-U (257.346) divided by the October 2018 CPI-U (252.885) is 1.01764. OMB Memorandum M-20-05 confirms that this is the proper multiplier. (OMB Memorandum M-20-05 at 1, n.4).

The FCPIA of 2015 requires that BSEE adjust the OCSLA maximum daily civil penalty amount for inflation using the applicable 2020 multiplier (1.01764). Accordingly, BSEE multiplied the existing OCSLA maximum daily civil penalty amount ($44,675) by 1.01764 to arrive at the new maximum daily civil penalty amount ($45,463.07). The FCPIA of 2015 requires that the resulting amount be rounded to the nearest $1.00 at the end of the calculation process. Accordingly, the adjusted OCSLA maximum daily civil penalty for 2020 is $45,463.

The adjusted penalty levels take effect immediately upon publication of this rule. Pursuant to the FCPIA of 2015, the increase in the OCSLA maximum daily civil penalty amount applies to civil penalties assessed after the date the increase takes effect, even when the associated violation(s) predates such increase. Consistent with the provisions of OCSLA and the FCPIA of 2015, this rule adjusts the following maximum civil monetary penalty per day per violation as follows:Start Printed Page 12734

CFR citationDescription of the penaltyCurrent maximum penaltyMultiplierAdjusted maximum penalty
30 CFR 250.1403Failure to comply per-day, per-violation$44,6751.01764$45,463

III. Procedural Requirements

A. Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866, 13563, and 13771)

Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 provides that the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this rule is not significant. (See OMB Memorandum M-20-05 at 3).

E.O. 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the Nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. E.O. 13563 directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 further emphasizes that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements, to the extent permitted by statute.

E.O. 13771 of January 30, 2017, directs Federal agencies to reduce the regulatory burden on regulated entities and control regulatory costs. E.O. 13771, however, applies only to significant regulatory actions, as defined in Section 3(f) of E.O. 12866. OIRA has determined that agency regulations implementing the annual adjustment required by the FCPIA of 2015 are not significant regulatory actions under E.O. 12866, provided they are consistent with OMB Memorandum M-20-05. (See OMB Memorandum M-20-05 at 3). Thus, E.O. 13771 does not apply to this rulemaking.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis for rules unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The RFA applies only to rules for which an agency is required to first publish a proposed rule. (See 5 U.S.C. 603(a) and 604(a)). The FCPIA of 2015 expressly exempts these annual inflation adjustments from the requirement to publish a proposed rule for notice and comment. (See FCPIA of 2015 at § 4(b)(2); OMB Memorandum M-20-05 at 4). Thus, the RFA does not apply to this rulemaking.

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

(1) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more;

(2) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; and

(3) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, a statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

E. Takings (E.O. 12630)

This rule does not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have takings implications under E.O. 12630. Therefore, a takings implication assessment is not required.

F. Federalism (E.O. 13132)

Under the criteria in section 1 of E.O. 13132, this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. To the extent that State and local governments have a role in Outer Continental Shelf activities, this rule will not affect that role. Therefore, a federalism summary impact statement is not required.

G. Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

This rule complies with the requirements of E.O. 12988. Specifically, this rule:

(1) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be written to minimize litigation; and

(2) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards.

H. Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175 and Departmental Policy)

The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes through a commitment to consultation with Indian tribes and recognition of their right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this rule under the Department of the Interior's consultation policy, under Departmental Manual Part 512 Chapters 4 and 5, and under the criteria in E.O. 13175. We have determined that it has no substantial direct effects on Federally-recognized Indian tribes or Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporations, and that consultation under the Department of the Interior's tribal and ANCSA consultation policies is not required.

I. Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule does not contain information collection requirements, and a submission to the OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) is not required.

J. National Environmental Policy Act

This rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. A detailed statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is not required because, as a regulation of an administrative nature, this rule is covered by a categorical exclusion (see 43 CFR 46.210(i)). BSEE also determined that the rule does not implicate any of the extraordinary circumstances listed in 43 CFR 46.215 that would require further analysis under NEPA. Therefore, a detailed statement under NEPA is not required.

K. Effects on the Energy Supply (E.O. 13211)

This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in E.O. Start Printed Page 1273513211. Therefore, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 250

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Continental shelf
  • Environmental impact statements
  • Environmental protection
  • Government contracts
  • Investigations
  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Penalties
  • Pipelines
  • Continental Shelf—mineral resources
  • Continental Shelf—rights-of-way
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Sulfur
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Casey Hammond,

Acting Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management, U.S. Department of the Interior.

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For the reasons given in the preamble, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) amends Title 30, Chapter II, Subchapter B, Part 250 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows.

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1. The authority citation for 30 CFR Part 250 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 30 U.S.C. 1751, 31 U.S.C. 9701, 33 U.S.C. 1321(j)(1)(C), 43 U.S.C. 1334.

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2. Revise § 250.1403 to read as follows:

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What is the maximum civil penalty?

The maximum civil penalty is $45,463 per day per violation.

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[FR Doc. 2020-03694 Filed 3-3-20; 8:45 am]