Drilling Violations Are Barely Punished, House Dems Say

By Roxanne Palmer (February 8, 2012, 7:34 PM EST) -- Oil and gas companies that violate safety and environmental policies while drilling on federal lands are rarely punished — and when they are, the resulting fines are little more than pocket change to the companies, Democratic lawmakers said in a report released Wednesday.

Only 6 percent of 2,025 safety and drilling violations issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior to 335 companies between February 1998 and February 2011 resulted in monetary fines, and the total amount of fines issued over that 13-year period was just shy of $274,000, according to a report from the Democratic staff of the U.S. House...

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