April 25- Oil and
Gas Exploration on Georges Bank
Click here to read the themes
raised by the panel discussion on April 25
George Dellagiarino, a geologist with the US Minerals Management
Vivian Newman, National Marine Wildlife and Habitat Committee, Sierra
Update: Mr. Dellagiarino has had to cancel.
Last year Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, reviving the
possibility of oil and gas exploration in New England waters. When the
issue was last raised in New England in the 1970s, a firestorm of protest
erupted, leading to a long-standing moratorium on leasing. Congress
is now considering a measure that would repeal the moratorium and allow
drilling for natural gas.
Congressional Research Service Issue Brief (Order Code IB10149)
Continental Shelf: Debate Over Oil and Gas Leasing and Revenue Sharing,
Updated October 27, 2005" offers a concise background on the
issue, though it is somewhat outdated. The Energy Policy Act of 2005
did pass with a provision requiring a new inventory of oil and gas resources.
This mandate wasn't fully funded by Congress, but the Minerals Management
Service has already released a new inventory (see next reading). http://www.cnie.org/NLE/CRSreports/05oct/IB10149.pdf
Sierra Club's website on offshore oil and gas issues. http://www.sierraclub.org/wildlands/coasts/threats.asp
Law Foundation's webpage on oil and gas leasing includes important
background on the conflict over oil and gas leasing on Georges Bank.
Minerals Management Service Offshore Leasing Site: http://www.mms.gov/offshore/Leasing.htm.
Use this site to get familiare with the leasing program and the various
terms and mechanisms.
Then visit the MMS page on the 5-year leasing plan, http://www.mms.gov/5-year/2007-2012main.htm,
including a link to the "Draft
Proposed Program Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program
2007-2012." Read at least the introduction, pages 1-9 of the
draft program, and take a look at the tables throughout the document.
The MMS regards this document as their new inventory required under
the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Finally, visit the MMS site on the Atlantic OCS area: http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/offshore/atlocs/atlocs.html
John Kerry sits on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Committee and is the ranking member of the echnology, Innovation, and
Competitiveness Subcommittee. Several press statements on this page
discuss Kerry's views on US energy policy.
Congressional Brochure, "Impacts of the Energy Policy Act of 2005."
Text of the Energy Policy Act of 2005: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ058.109
Related Herald-Tribune article on a proposed change to rules on disposal
of offshore oil rigs: http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060412/NEWS/604120566
Will to Drill?" New York Times Daily Lesson Plan, Monday, March
21, 2005 by Annissa Hambouz and Tanya Yasmin Chin: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/20050321monday.html
Stats: Investigating the Departments of the Executive Branch"
New York Times Daily Lesson Plan, Monday, July 26, 2004 by Annissa Hambouz
and Tanya Yasmin Chin: :http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/20040726monday.html
Oily Grail": Debating the Current Season for Oil Exploration in
Alaska's North Slope" New York Times Daily Lesson Plan, Tuesday,
January 13, 2004 by Georgia Scurletis and Tanya Yasmin Chin: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/20040113tuesday.html
Themes from the April 25th session on
Oil and gas exploration on Georges Bank
At each session, we note themes arising in the panel
discussion in four categories: problem definition, goals (individual,
organizational and for the process itself), sources of conflict, and
potential solutions. The list is meant to aid in further discussion
on the topic and is not meant to be exhaustive or definitive. Themes
were noted by Saving Seas instructor Tora Johnson drawing upon her notes
on the discussion.
Need to develop internal sources of energy
Need to protect ocean shelf resources
Law mandates expedited development
Lack of transparency in Minerals Mgt Service
Conservation of marine life, ecosystems, and ocean-dependent economies
Sources of Conflict
Rising energy prices
Continued dependence on foreign oil, especially Middle Eastern
Intransigent and closed federal agencies
Lack of national discourse on energy and agreement on priorities
Lack of agreement among NGOs on priorities
Differing priorities among states
Growing public complacency in areas under moratorium
No studies of potential impact in many areas, especially those under
Congressional mandates do not consider agency’s capabilities and
Congressional mandates do not adequately consider environmental concerns
National energy agenda that considers impacts of offshore energy extraction
and sets priorities for conservation, renewable energy, and oil and
Greater transparency in Minerals Management Agency
More opportunities for NGOs to participate rather than litigate
Better communication between agency and Congress
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