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Summary of Cases Involving Civil Penalties

Civil Penalty Cases: Nationwide

The tables on this page provide a summary of those enforcement cases which involve a civil penalty. Civil penalty cases are summarized in four different tabs below.

For a given year, this table shows the number of civil penalty cases initiated (or opened), and the total amount of civil penalties proposed. Proposed civil penalties are communicated to operators in Notices of Probable Violation.

Civil Penalty Cases Initiated: 2002-2014 (1)
Year
Opened
Cases
Opened
Total Penalties
Proposed
2002 46 $1,758,950
2003 33 $1,025,000
2004 64 $2,240,800
2005 80 $4,557,950
2006 34 $3,331,800
2007 44 $4,162,800
2008 25 $8,813,600
2009 38 $6,468,800
2010 34 $4,537,800
2011 56 $3,670,400
2012 58 $8,766,900
2013 63 $9,775,400
2014 15 $1,756,400
Totals 590 $60,866,600

Proposed civil penalties are those penalties that may be recommended for probable violations identified during inspections, investigations, or other means. Proposed penalties are communicated to operators in Notices of Probable Violation. Operators have the right to respond to these allegations before a penalty is assessed in a Final Order. Civil penalties are described in 49 CFR 190.221 through 190.227.

For a given year, this table shows the number of civil penalty cases initiated (or opened) and the number of this same set of cases that has competed the civil penalty collection process. Also shown are the percent of cases completing the civil penalty collection process and the percent of cases which have yet to complete the process (pending).

Cases completing the civil penalty collection process include all closed and withdrawn cases as well as open cases for which penalties have been assessed in a Final Order and collected. The report also includes cases where the assessed civil penalty was reduced to zero from a prior proposed amount, and therefore no collection was required.

Civil Penalty Cases Resolved: 2002-2014 (1)
Year Opened Cases
Opened
Cases Completing the
Civil Penalty
Collection Process
% of Cases Completing the Civil
Penalty Collection Process
% of Cases Pending
2002 46 46 100% 0%
2003 33 33 100% 0%
2004 64 64 100% 0%
2005 80 80 100% 0%
2006 34 34 100% 0%
2007 44 44 100% 0%
2008 25 25 100% 0%
2009 38 37 97% 3%
2010 34 34 100% 0%
2011 56 56 100% 0%
2012 58 53 91% 9%
2013 63 31 49% 51%
2014 15 0 0% 100%
Totals 590 537 91% 9%

This table shows the number of civil penalty cases initiated (opened) in a given year which have completed the civil penalty collection process. This includes all closed and withdrawn cases, as well as open cases for which penalties have been assessed in a Final Order and collected. The report also includes cases where the assessed civil penalty was withdrawn or reduced to zero from a prior proposed amount via the hearing process, and therefore no collection was required. The table shows the total penalties originally proposed for these cases, the total penalties assessed by PHMSA in Final Orders, and the amount actually collected. The table also shows the percent of civil penalties proposed in Notice Letters that were assessed in Final Orders, as well as the percent of assessed civil penalties that end up being collected. For example, for cases opened in 2004 that have proceeded through penalty collection, 78% of the originally proposed civil penalties were assessed, and 100% of the assessed penalties have been collected from operators. These annual figures will change as additional civil penalty cases move through the enforcement process and payments are received from operators.

Civil Penalties Resolved: 2002-2014 (1)
Year Opened Cases Completing the
Civil Penalty
Collection Process
Penalties
Proposed
Penalties
Assessed
% of Proposed Penalties
that were Assessed
Penalties Collected % of Assessed Penalties
that were Collected
2002 46 $1,758,950 $1,268,350 72% $1,178,387 93%
2003 33 $1,025,000 $941,750 92% $941,791 100%
2004 64 $2,240,800 $1,756,300 78% $1,756,712 100%
2005 80 $4,557,950 $3,408,085 75% $3,428,509 101%
2006 34 $3,331,800 $1,834,500 55% $1,834,500 100%
2007 44 $4,162,800 $3,230,953 78% $3,230,953 100%
2008 25 $8,813,600 $7,352,825 83% $7,352,825 100%
2009 37 $6,405,000 $5,209,850 81% $5,209,850 100%
2010 34 $4,537,800 $3,802,260 84% $3,802,260 100%
2011 56 $3,670,400 $3,452,150 94% $3,452,150 100%
2012 53 $8,284,000 $7,687,000 93% $7,687,000 100%
2013 31 $2,618,100 $2,362,350 90% $2,362,350 100%
2014 0 $0 $0 0% $0 0%
Totals 537 $51,406,200 $42,306,373 82% $42,237,287 100%

In cases where there is both a civil penalty and a compliance order, an enforcement case will remain open even after the civil penalty has been paid if the terms of the compliance order have not been satisfied.

Proposed civil penalties are those penalties that may be recommended for probable violations identified during inspections, investigations, or other means. Proposed penalties are communicated to operators in Notices of Probable Violation. Operators have the right to respond to these allegations before a penalty is assessed in a Final Order. Civil penalties are described in 49 CFR 190.221 through 190.227.

Assessed civil penalties are those civil penalties established after the operator had an opportunity to defend its actions or provide further clarifying information. In no case can the assessed amount exceed the originally proposed amount. However, in some cases, civil penalties are reduced due to new evidence or information that alters the underlying factual allegations in the case.

Collected civil penalties are the amounts actually paid by operators. Collected civil penalties are equivalent to the assessed civil penalty amount in nearly all cases. Occasionally the collected civil penalty amount exceeds the assessed civil penalty. This occurs when an operator is late in making payments, thereby incurring interest charges and administrative fees. In rare instances, a civil penalty may not be collected due to a company no longer being in business.

In some circumstances, PHMSA may refer a pipeline safety enforcement case to the Department of Justice for resolution. Because these cases are not settled through PHMSA's administrative enforcement process, they are not reflected in the data on the Civil Penalties Resolved Report on this web site. Civil penalty cases resolved by the Department of Justice are listed below.

Civil Penalties Resolved by DOJ: 2002-2014  
Date Settled Operator Region Civil Penalties Case Number
10/05/07 EL PASO NATURAL GAS CO Southwest $15,500,000 420011004
05/03/11 BP PIPELINES (ALASKA), INC Western $4,500,000 520065015H

Also see

Sources

  1. PHMSA Safety Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for the Pipeline Safety Enforcement Tracking System as of Sept 8, 2014.

For comments and questions on the enforcement information presented on this site, please send us feedback.

Information provided on this website is intended to enhance public understanding of PHMSA's enforcement program. Aggregate and company-specific statistical information reflecting PHMSA's enforcement actions is provided beginning with 2002. Key documents associated with new administrative enforcement cases are provided beginning with 2007. Agency orders issued since 2002 are also provided. The search feature may not retrieve every document associated with each individual enforcement action. Enforcement data is updated monthly as additional cases are initiated and other cases are resolved. Historical totals will change over time to reflect changes in case status.

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