The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes energy independence, environmental protection, and economic development through responsible, science-based management of energy and mineral resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). BOEM ensures that environmental protection—informed by the best available science and law—is a foremost concern and an indispensable consideration in BOEM’s decision making.

The OCS Lands Act directs BOEM to study and consider coastal, marine, and human environmental impacts when making decisions on how to effectively promote energy independence, environmental protection, economic development, and national security. BOEM applies more than 30 federal regulations, statutes, executive orders and policies—including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)—into our decisions.

To ensure that environmental protection is a primary consideration in our decisions, BOEM focuses on two core components that constantly engage with and inform each other:

Environmental Assessment—Includes the activities BOEM performs to evaluate the impacts of BOEM’s proposed actions, and to involve the public, and federal, state, and tribal governments in the process. BOEM prepares NEPA documents and OCS Lands Act reports, conducts consultations with other agencies charged with protecting various resources, and participates in international conventions and treaty activities. The bureau encourages meaningful public participation in its decision-making process.

Environmental Studies—BOEM develops, conducts, and oversees world-class scientific research studies to inform policy decisions. The bureau’s environmental studies cover a broad range of disciplines, including physical oceanography, atmospheric sciences, biology, protected species, social sciences (including economics and cultural resources), and the environmental impacts of energy development. BOEM manages pioneering and ongoing research studies nationally and in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and offshore Alaska.

Ongoing interaction between studies and assessment activities helps BOEM prioritize and target specific information needs, fill knowledge gaps in time for future decisions, and maintain our high level of commitment to environmental stewardship.

The Office of Environmental Program at BOEM Headquarters includes marine biologists, archaeologists, physical oceanographers, air quality scientists, social scientists, and others who all work together to write assessments and design critical studies to better understand the ocean and coastal environments and assist BOEM in managing OCS energy and mineral resources.

BOEM Regional Environmental Offices