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BP fined for reservation error

Oil giant BP did wrong to Indian country, the government says. The Department of the Interior announced June 30 that BP America Inc. has been assessed a civil penalty of $5.2 million for submitting “false, inaccurate, or misleading” reports for energy production that occurred on Southern Ute Indian tribal lands in southwestern Colorado.

While the civil penalty is not related to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s more bad publicity for the company.

“It is simply unacceptable for companies to repeatedly misreport production, particularly when it interferes with the auditing process,” said director Michael R. Bromwich. “We are committed to collecting every dollar due from energy production that occurs on federal and American Indian lands, and accurate reporting is crucial to that effort.”

Bromwich also praised the work of Southern Ute tribal auditors who initially discovered the errors during an audit the tribe first brought to BP’s attention in August 2007. The audit was conducted as part of a cooperative agreement with the Interior’s Minerals Revenue Management program.

“I appreciate the MRM’s recognition of its trust responsibility to the Tribe by assessing civil penalties when other means have failed to attain correct and accurate reporting,” said Southern Ute Tribal Chairman Matthew J. Box.