Air Quality Jurisdiction
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, effectively transferred jurisdiction to regulate air emissions associated with oil and gas activities on portions of the Alaska OCS from EPA to BOEM. Companies seeking to operate facilities on the Chukchi Sea OCS and/or Beaufort Sea OCS no longer require an air permit from the EPA. Rather, their proposed facilities' emissions will be reviewed and, if necessary, controlled by BOEM as a prerequisite to approval of the operator's proposed exploration plan or development and production plan. BOEM's existing regulations are designed to ensure that air quality in coastal areas complies with national ambient air quality standards as promulgated by EPA. These regulations have protected air quality in coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico for decades and were also used to regulate oil and gas exploration activities in the Arctic during the 1980s.