ONRR to update civil penalty regulations for first time since 1999

The US Office of Natural Resources Revenue will update its civil penalties on Aug. 1 for the first time since May 1999, the US Department of the Interior agency reported. Legislation, legal decisions, and recommendations from oversight entities drove the need to modernize and improve its civil penalty authority, it said.

The new regulations, which will appear in the Federal Register on Aug. 1 and become effective on Aug. 31, will amend existing rules by:

• Applying the regulations to all federal mineral leases, including those for solid minerals and geothermal resources.

• Adjusting civil penalty amounts for inflation.

• Clarify and simplify existing regulations for issuing noncompliance notices and fines.

• Provide notice that ONRR will place civil penalty matrices on its web site.

ONRR was created in 2010 when it spun off from what was then the US Minerals Management Service after then-US Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar determined that the revenue management responsibility created contradictions in the mission of MMS. The agency subsequently split further into the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which primarily handles offshore leasing, and the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Now a part of DOI’s Policy, Management, and Budget Office, ONRR collects, disburses, and verifies energy revenues from production onshore on public and American Indian lands, and offshore on the US Outer Continental Shelf. The agency disbursed more than $9.8 billion during fiscal 2015 to states, American Indian tribes, individual Indian mineral owners, and various federal accounts, including the US Treasury, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Reclamation Fund, it said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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