Editor’s Note: Subsequent to the publication of the following post CRE received a letter from a representative of the Secretary of Commerce in which the author described the ongoing review of issues raised by CRE. CRE looks forward to the aforementioned analysis with a particular emphasis on CRE’s claim that the peer reviews conducted by NOAA do not meet the requirements of a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment as set forth in NOAA and OMB DQA guidelines.
The Need for Programmatic Reform
NOAA is working on four regulatory programs which if finalized in their current form will seriously curtail if not lead to the eventual termination of offshore drilling in US waters.
The four programs are:
- Acoustic Criteria
- Take Rules
- Ocean Strategy Noise Roadmap
- Long Term Monitoring Program
Acoustic Criteria and Take Rules
CRE has notified the Secretary of Commerce of the shortcomings in these two programs.
Ocean Strategy Noise Roadmap
API IAGC have stated the following with respect to the Ocean Strategy Noise Roadmap
“The policy foundation of the ONS Roadmap starts from the perspective that the natural state, or baseline conditions, of the oceans and their soundscapes are defined by conditions before human influence. This perspective, by definition, makes the assumption that all anthropogenic sounds (and the activities that emit them) are unnatural and harmful. This policy perspective and the regulatory regime it dictates are one-sided, reflecting a judgment that human activity is “bad” and that the absence of human activity is “natural.”
Long Term Monitoring Program
CRE has advised federal regulators of its overreaching actions to study a non-existence problem.
NOAA and its colleagues in the federal regulatory community continue to hide behind the facade of science which shields its precedent-setting studies from a serious review by policy makers. It appears that regulators have developed a divide and conquer approach to the regulation of seismic exploration by a continual sub-division of the program into component parts which allows it to avoid a statement of the cumulative effects of their proposals.
Notwithstanding a number of reports by the press some the most significant stakeholders, such as the thousands of employees in the offshore oil industry, their employers, communities and the states in which they reside have not addressed this matter.
Even though the regulators have received numerous comments on the above programs the regulators continue to ignore the said comments. A detailed reading of the comments makes it is easy to conclude that the regulators are studying a non-problem. Why? Probably because they must regulate to continue to be employed–a welfare program for the middle class.
Implementing a Forceful Outreach Program
It is incumbent upon other stakeholders to alert the employees and related groups mentioned above to the significance of the aforementioned programs; a particular emphasis should be placed on seeking a response from Secretary Pritizker to the letter noted above as well as seeking the support of state governments. Regarding the Pritizker letter inquires from the press should be encouraged.
Use of form letters will be self defeating; letters from established institutions should be submitted to the principal address; letters from individuals should be submitted to the operating address.
We have devised a process where all comments will be read in lieu of overwhelming a particular individual who will then be forced to ignore all comments. CRE does not abuse the regulatory process by submitting comments on particular topics to the ultimate decision maker in lieu of making a submission to the docket; to do so would lessen our credibility. However even in this instance where there is such a substantial disconnect between the governing facts and the actions of the regulators we have adhered to established procedures but have modified them by sending comments directly to surrogates.
We would like to acknowledge the in-depth investigation of this matter underway within NOAA at the request of CRE.
The Decision Makers
The following individuals determine the ultimate outcome of this program pending applicable reviews by OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
Secretary of Commerce:
Honorable Penny Pritzker
Principal address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Operating address: email@example.com
Administrator of NOAA:
Honorable Kathyrn Sullivan
Principal address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Operating address: email@example.com
Administrator of BOEM:
Honorable Abigail Hooper
Principal address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Operating address: email@example.com