Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NOAA questions offshore drilling plan

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration questions a plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling, according to documents posted online by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

NOAA recommends safeguards for fisheries, marine mammals, and coastal populations that would significantly reduce the number and size of offshore tracts offered for exploration and development leasing.

NOAA filed its 26-page comment on Sept. 21, which was the US Minerals Management Service’s deadline for the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015.

The 5-year leasing plan, issued in January, reflects the ideas of the former President George Bush administration. The plan would offer 12 lease areas (4 in Alaska, 3 in the Atlantic, 2 in the Pacific and 3 in the Gulf of Mexico) covering much of the OCS. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is considering the plan.

In its comments, NOAA outlined its positions, including:
--Exclusionary zones that would block lease sales in the Northern Aleutians (including Bristol Bay), near shore in the Chukchi Sea, as well as all the proposed Atlantic and Eastern Gulf tracts.
--Buffer zones that would bar drilling “around national marine sanctuaries, habitat areas of particular concern, critical habitat for endangered and threatened species, major fishing grounds, and to provide visual buffers to coastal areas dependent upon tourism.”
--A moratorium on any Arctic Ocean drilling until better oil spill prevention and response capability is in place. NOAA also contends that MMS understates the expected frequency of and risk from spills, especially after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

PEER calls itself a service organization assisting federal and state public employees. “PEER allows public servants to work as ‘anonymous activists’ so that agencies must confront the message, rather than the messenger,” its website said.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Daniel said...

My comment is not exactly related to NOAA, but rather to the use of a unified BPM technology (one that combines both, business process management and rules engine) for management of environmental issuse, such as spills. Does anyone know whether oil companies use such technology?

October 14, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

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