Oil spill: BP pipelines trigger safety violations


This week, we’ve been gathering resources for reporters looking to put the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill into context. While the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) doesn’t have jurisdiction over the safety of the offshore wells themselves, they do enforce safety regulations for oil pipelines and can tell us if BP has violated any of these regulations of late.

The records show that civil penalties have been levied on BP pipelines for safety violations ten times since 2002 (the earliest year the data is available online), and three more have been proposed, but have not yet been settled. If these three remaining fines are levied, the company will have paid $544,150 in fines over the past eight years. Links to the original notices are available on the site as well.

You can look at all the enforcement actions taken against an individual company, including any corrective action required or warning letters issued, here. The PHMSA website also maintains links to state enforcement actions, but you have to search them state by state. Not exactly the most user-friendly system if you’re trying to look at a company’s safety record as a whole.