Record of Decision (ROD)
After a transparent and robust public process, in July 2014 the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a Record of Decision (ROD) establishing the highest practicable level of mitigation measures and safeguards to reduce or eliminate impacts to marine life while setting a path forward for appropriate geological and geophysical (G&G) survey activities off the Mid- and South Atlantic coast to update data on the region’s offshore resources that is over 30 years old. (Press Release)
In 2010, Congress mandated that a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) be prepared because there had been no comprehensive review of potential environmental impacts of G&G activities off the Atlantic coast. In developing the PEIS under the National Environmental Policy Act, BOEM coordinated with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies and organizations to develop a mitigation strategy focused on avoiding injury to marine animals and reducing the potential for behavioral disruption.
Of all the alternatives considered for moving forward with survey activity, BOEM’s preferred alternative includes the most protection for environmental and cultural resources. These protective measures are outlined here.
This decision issued by BOEM does not authorize any G&G activities, but rather it establishes a framework for additional mandatory environmental reviews for site-specific actions, and identifies broadly-applicable measures governing any future G&G activities in the region. As new scientific information becomes available, these additional findings can be incorporated into the survey-specific environmental reviews through an adaptive management approach. BOEM will monitor implementation of these mitigations and, if warranted, will modify them as described in provisions of the PEIS addressing “adaptive management.”