Click for next page ( 87

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 86
APPENDIX A COMMENTARY ON FEDERAL MANAGEMENT OF OCS OPERATIONS Active federal management of the development of oil and gas resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS) began in 1969. This management extends to imposing and enforcing measures to minimize the risks of development and to ensure the safety of offshore workers, the marine environment, and offshore installations. The current program of federal safety regulation and inspection derives from the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), passed in 1953 and amended in 1978. Beyond the OCSLA, a panoply of federal environmental and safety laws affect OCS operations: the various Clean Air Acts; the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended; the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899, as amended; the Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972; the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1972; and the Natural Gas Pipeline Act of 1968 are among the more significant. The foregoing legislation is administered by a number of federal agencies, raising problems of coordination of activity; however, the MMS and the U.S. Coast Guard have primary jurisdiction over OCS activity under the OCSLA While both Minerals Management Service (MMS) and Coast Guard jurisdiction attaches to all vessels and structures used in drilling for or producing oil and gas on the OCS, the division of authority is fairly clear-cut: the Coast Guard regulates vessels and vessel-like platforms (principally mobile offshore drilling units [MODUs]) comprehensively and regulates fixed platforms primarily with respect to lifesaving and firefighting equipment; MMS regulates fixed platforms comprehensively and regulates all drilling and production activity on both fixed and mobile platforms. In both cases the regulatory process is conventional: the basic regulatory authority in the enabling statutes is amplified by regulations and interpretive materials; compliance is exacted by the threat of civil penalties or the threat of immediate shutdown of operations (criminal sanctions are not a day-to-day factor in the regulatory process); and enforcement is accomplished through inspections conducted by government employees. The underlying purpose of the OCSLA is to provide for the orderly and expeditious development of OCS resources. The original (1953) act recognized the need to conduct oil and gas operations safely. It emphasized that procedures and technology should be used which would minimize the likelihood of blowouts, fires, spills, and interference with other uses of the offshore waters. The 1978 amendments to the OCSLA, though prompted in large part by the national policy initiative for energy self-sufficiency, came at a time of intense public interest in environmental protection. As a consequence, environmental and safety considerations were addressed in very specific terms which gave them added policy emphasis. Thus, energy resource development is to be balanced by protection of the human, marine, and coastal environments; also, the development of new and improved technology to eliminate or minimize risk of damage to the human, marine, and coastal environments is encouraged. It was these amendments that also promulgated the statutory requirements for a minimum of one scheduled comprehensive inspection annually of each OCS facility subject to environmental or safety regulation, and additional periodic onsite inspections without notice. 86