BOEM Hears from Scientific Advisory Committee on Future Environmental Studies to Support Offshore Energy Decision Processes
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management leaders today concluded their briefings for members of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Scientific Committee, the federal advisory committee for BOEM, in Santa Barbara, Calif. The May 22-24 discussions focused on specific research plans for Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 as part of the committee’s mandate to advise the Secretary of the Interior, through the BOEM Director, on the feasibility, appropriateness, and scientific value of the OCS Environmental Studies Program. At the conclusion, committee members identified emerging issues and topics of interest.
“BOEM’s environmental studies program is focused on advancing applied research to ensure that our programmatic decisions regarding energy and mineral development on the OCS are informed by the best scientific information available. The OCS Scientific Committee plays a critical role in helping us meet that objective,” said BOEM Chief Environmental Officer Alan D. Thornhill, Ph.D. “The 15 non-federal experts who comprise the Committee have rigorously reviewed our study proposals over the course of this week’s discussions, and their feedback will help ensure that future energy decisions are guided by the best and most relevant scientific information available.”
The committee meetings play a key role in the development of BOEM’s research agenda and provide a setting for non-federal scientific leaders to critique and evaluate study proposals for coming years, all for the purpose of helping BOEM make informed energy and mineral development decisions.Committee Chair, Lorrie Rea, Ph.D. of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, who was elected to that position in February 2012, presided over the meetings. Dr. Thornhill provided an overview of BOEM’s goals and objectives, and Rodney Cluck, Ph.D., executive secretary for the OCS Scientific Committee and Chief of BOEM’s Division of Environmental Sciences, outlined challenges and opportunities for the program. BOEM’s Environmental Studies Chiefs from the bureau’s regions and its Office of Renewable Energy Programs provided overviews of scientific studies within their programs. BOEM scientists led breakout sessions on multiple study discipline areas including biology and ecology, physical sciences and social sciences.
Additional information about the OCS Scientific Committee is available at http://www.boem.gov/About-BOEM/Public-Engagement/Federal-Advisory-Committees/OCS-Scientific-Committee/Index.aspx
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management manages the exploration and development of the nation's offshore resources. The bureau seeks to balance economic development, energy independence and environmental protection through oil and gas leases, renewable energy development and environmental reviews and studies.