New Law #5: Expansion of Liability & Penalty Increases Under Oil & Gas Act
Published Date: January 7, 2016
Continuing our countdown of new Illinois environmental laws taking effect on January 1, 2016 is Public Act 99-0137, which expands liability and increases civil penalties for falsifying or misstating information submitted in connection with oil and gas permits.
This new law amends the Illinois Oil and Gas Act, 225 ILCS 725/8a. The Act is implemented by the Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Oil and Gas Resource Management, which is the regulatory authority in Illinois for permitting, drilling, operating, and plugging oil and gas production wells. The Office enforces standards for the construction and operation of related production equipment and facilities. The Act also imposes penalties for violations of the Act.
Previously, the Act only provided liability for misstating or falsifying information relative to a permit application. The new law expands the potential liability by designating as violations misstatements or falsifications on or relative to “any application, permit, required record, or other document required to be submitted to the Department by this Act or any rules or procedures adopted under this Act.”
The new law also increases the penalties under the Act. Previously, the Act assessed penalties not to exceed $1,000 per day for each violation. Now, the Act assesses penalties “not to exceed $5,000 for each and every falsification or misstatement of information and $1,000 a day for each and every act of violation not including a falsification or misstatement of information.”