Today, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released proposed revisions to the regulations designed to control air pollution from offshore oil and gas operations. The rule is necessary to meet new obligations imposed when the 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act transferred the authority to control air emissions off Alaska’s northern coast from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to BOEM. The proposed rule released today applies to offshore oil and gas operations nationwide, addresses the change in jurisdiction, and updates pollution standards, modeling, and technology. It also reflects the need to protect coastal communities and wildlife from harmful air pollution. In 2013, the EPA fined Shell more than $1 million for violating the terms of its Clean Air Act permits during the 2012 drilling season in Alaska’s Arctic waters.
In response to the announcement, Susan Murray, Oceana Deputy Vice President, Pacific issued the following statement:
“Healthy air and water are basic necessities of life. The rule proposed today will help protect coastal communities and the world’s ocean resources. In the Arctic, air pollution threatens the healthy ecosystems and wildlife that are the lifeblood of coastal communities. Black carbon emissions can accelerate sea ice loss in the Arctic Ocean, a region already grappling with climate change.
The companies who have sought to drill in the Arctic Ocean are some of the biggest and most profitable in the world. They can and should be required to meet precautionary limits on pollution to protect the public’s right to clean air and water.”