Offshore safety chief pushes for fine increase

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2011 12:29 PM
Offshore safety chief pushes for fine increase

The head of the offshore drilling safety agency is telling Congress current fines for offshore violations need to be much stiffer.

Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, says the maximum civil penalty for a violation offshore should be "well into the six figures" per day, per incident. The maximum fine was $35,000 per day at the time of the Gulf blowout. Bromwich called that amount "trivial" for profitable companies spending up to $1 million a day leasing an offshore rig.

Bromwich's statement comes a day after BP was cited for seven violations, and its contractors Transocean and Halliburton, four apiece, stemming from the Gulf spill.

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Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Edward Markey says based on his calculations, the most BP could be fined is $21 million.