During the 2020 General Legislative Session, the Utah legislature passed Senate Bill 148 requiring the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining to modify the process for imposing and collecting administrative penalties.
Division staff worked with interested stakeholders to revise the current administrative rules regarding final orders, administrative remedies, and create a new rule establishing rules and procedures for imposing and collecting administrative penalties. Penalty rules were approved at the May 26 Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining (UBOGM) Hearing.
Below are highlights of R649-11, however the full rule is available here:
- A Notice of Violation (NOV) describes the nature of the violation, action required, amount of time operators have to resolve violations, and a description of the operation/location.
- Operators can resolve violations during the time specified in the NOV without receiving a penalty.
- If violations are not resolved in the specified time listed in the NOV, the penalty accrual starts at the time the NOV was originally issued.
- Operators can request a compliance conference with Division staff if they disagree with the NOV.
- A Division assessment officer will determine whether a penalty will be assessed and if so, what amount. There are three classes of penalties, with a maximum Division penalty of $5,000/day and a Board maximum penalty of $10,000/day. Administrative penalties can reach a maximum of $200,000 per penalty.
- Operators can appeal penalties to the UBOGM.
Division staff now has clearly defined procedures to hold non-compliant operators fiscally responsible for violations not addressed. This rule provides Oil and Gas Program inspectors with an enforcement tool that ensures Utah’s resources are being developed responsibly.