Tagged: Offshore drilling

DOI Secretary Zinke may explore offshore drilling in the Arctic. (Credit: BBC)

Does “Balanced” Proposed Interior Budget Tip Scale Towards Oil And Gas?

Ocean territories surrounding the United States cover 3.4 million square nautical miles – more than the entire land area of all 50 states. The Department of the Interior (DOI) has the literally enormous responsibility of “support[ing] stewardship and collaborative conservation and management” of these ocean, Great Lakes, and coastal resources. DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke defended the president’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 at a series of hearings this week before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and the House Natural Resources Committee.

Deficiencies in offshore drilling management highlighted in House committee hearing. (Credit: Adam Dean/New York Times)

Is This What A Balanced Budget Looks Like?

Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Ryan Zinke had his hands full fielding concerns from Democrats and Republicans as he defended the president’s budget request for the DOI in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. While he called the proposal one that “reflects the Administration’s commitment to strengthen America’s economic and energy security, focus on the nation’s infrastructure, be responsible stewards of magnificent lands, encourage public access for outdoor recreation, and strengthen tribal sovereignty and support self-determination,” Ranking Member Betty McCollum (MN-4) called the president’s proposal (which cuts DOI by 13 percent ($1.6 billion) and funding for climate change research and mitigation by 80 percent) “unacceptable.”

Fish swim around a decommissioned oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico acting as an artificial reef. (Credit: BOEM)

One Man’s Trash Is Some Fish’s Treasure

Iron isn’t just good for your bones and growth – it’s good for the ocean, too. That’s what advocates of the “Rigs-to-Reefs” program, which converts decommissioned oil rigs into artificial marine habitat, claim. But what if that iron is also steeped in a toxic substance like oil waste products? In a Wednesday hearing, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources heard a variety of views on the program’s benefits to the natural ecosystem, taxpayers, and oil companies.

An oil drilling platform off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA - 6 December, 2011 (Credit: TheConduqtor / Wikimedia)

Trump To Consider New Testing For Offshore Atlantic Oil And Gas

The Trump administration is considering letting six companies test for oil and natural gas off the Atlantic coast. The Wednesday decision by the Interior Department is an early step toward potential drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, reversing an Obama administration policy to reject such applications.

A number of new bills introduced in this Congress were of relevance to the ocean science community. One relates to ocean acification research.(Credit: NOAA)

New Congress Means New Legislation

In a scene more appropriate for a college laboratory than the Capitol building (lab safety protocols aside), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) measured pH on the Senate floor during an ocean acidification demonstration. The act...

BOEM denied six pending permits for seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean. (Credit: International Association of Geophysical Contractors)

BOEM Denies Airgun Seismic Surveys In Atlantic From Virginia To Florida

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has denied six pending permits for airgun seismic surveys in Atlantic Ocean planning areas from Virginia to Florida, pleasing conservationists and irritating industry groups. In announcing the decision Friday, BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said there was no immediate need for such tests now that the Atlantic Program Area was removed last year from President Barack Obama’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. She said the move was also based on an “abundance of caution.” “We believe that the value of obtaining the geophysical and geological information from new airgun seismic surveys in the Atlantic does not outweigh the potential risks of those surveys’ acoustic pulse impacts on marine life,” Hopper said in a statement.

Summer in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Tyrol5 / wikimedia)

July Progress On Capitol Hill

The first two weeks of July were especially busy on Capitol Hill as lawmakers made a final legislative push before they left for recess. Appropriations bills were high on their agenda since Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 expires at the end September, and the Senate and House are now on a seven-week hiatus until September 6.

The U.S. Coast Guard Polar Sea around McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, on Mar. 15, 2007 has now been decommissioned. (Credit: Kevin J. Neff/U.S. Coast Guard )

Coast Guard Actions In The Arctic

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, held a hearing on the Coast Guard’s implementation capabilities in the Arctic to outline the state of play in the region.

The U.S. Capitol Building. (Credit: Architect of the Capitol.)

Ocean Policy Wrap Up for June 2016

Oceans month 2016 saw the reauthorization of the Freedom of Information Act become law, defense appropriations and COMPETES reauthorization advance, and a number of ocean-related bills be introduced in the House and Senate.