CRE Submits Comments to MMS on its Five Year OCS ProgramThe CRE comments attached hereto were developed through the use of this Interactive Public Docket. The IPD is premised on the fact that in a wired society the time-limited public comment period in the Administrative Procedure Act is obsolete – public comment is a 24/7 operation. National Public Radio reviewed the IPD at http://www.thecre.com/creipd/.Why should the public not be involved in a rulemaking prior to the issuance of a proposed rule? Why should not the public be able to provide updated information to regulators after the close of a public comment period? Why should not the public be able to provide information to regulators during the implementation stage of a rule?In that it often takes months, if not years, for an agency to complete a rulemaking subsequent to the close of the public comment period, new information should be provided to federal agencies on a continuous basis. CRE is not suggesting that agencies not establish deadlines for the issuance of a rule but instead that they announce a policy which states that while they are working on a rule agencies will review the contents of IPDs and introduce the relevant portions of the IPD into the record when such information contributes to the issuance of a technically sound rule.
The most helpful IPDs are those that encourage the posting of opposing views. To this end the IPD used to formulate the CRE comments on the Five Year OCS Plan contain comments received from the public on proposed CRE comments on the IPD. The public comments received by CRE are posted on the Discussion Forum of this site.CRE responses to the considered comments of the public are contained in Section V of the CRE comments.Consequently, CRE is not only presenting its comments to MMS but it has also vetted them with the stakeholders holding diverse views.
The IPD also contains CRE’s reaction to the views of diverse persons including those who disagree with one or more aspects of CRE’s analyses. In addition the IPD provides a forum for all stakeholders to comment on the comments submitted by other stakeholders.MMS should encourage the use of IPDs because it is a mechanism which ensures that the agency not only receives the views of a particular stakeholder but the public reaction thereto.
The data in the IPD will be augmented on a continuous basis by CRE and the public; it is for this reason that the CRE submission consists in part of a link to the IPD.
The thrust of the CRE comments are twofold and are attached hereto:
(1) There is authoritative legal precedent, in the D.C. Circuit, interpreting the environmental protection provisions of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (“OCSLA”) to require that the Department of the Interior and its Minerals Management Service give primary emphasis to the goal of developing new oil and gas resources with potential environmental impacts a secondary concern.
(2) There are no data, which complies with the Data Quality Act, demonstrating that seismicexposure reduces foraging in sperm whales.
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