17 October 2016

PHMSA Reveals Pipeline Penalty Guidelines

On Tuesday, October 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) revealed a pipeline civil penalty framework on its website.  PHMSA will allow a respondent in an enforcement case to request a proposed civil penalty calculation related to its case.

PHMSA’s current caps for administrative civil penalties occurring on or after August 1, 2016, are $205,638 per day and $2,056,380 for a related series of violations. PHMSA states that its penalties may exceed the guideline amounts to “serve as a strong deterrence, driving down incident risk.”

PHMSA’s guidelines provide the following “assessment considerations” for determining penalty amounts:  nature; circumstances; gravity; culpability; history of prior offenses; good faith; and other matters as justice may require.