Emerging and Expanding Ocean Uses: Scientific and Regulatory Uncertainty
February 13, 2008
Cosponsored by the DC Bar's Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section Energy Committee
As we look to the oceans to sequester carbon, provide alternative energy, and as a place to expand existing activities, questions about ocean ecosystem impacts and the legal and regulatory framework under which one can operate abound. The chemical and biological ramifications of emerging and expanding technologies could be enormous, and the regulatory landscape under which such approaches would operate is not altogether clear. For example, three competing authorities may complicate alternative energy development and regulation: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gives Minerals Management Service the authority to lease offshore for alternative energy development. The Federal Power Act gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority over hydropower. This means that in federal waters, both MMS and FERC have some claim over regulation of wave, current, and tidal energy. States have authority under the Coastal Zone Management Act to ensure that federal agency actions are consistent with the enforceable policies of their coastal zones. What does this mean for new uses? What precedent is there for state authority over federal energy actions in federal waters? Who regulates emerging uses on the high seas? In the first seminar in this new series panelists tackled the challenges of decision-making, development, and conservation in the face of scientific and regulatory uncertainty.
Kathryn Mengerink, Environmental Law Institute
William Dennison, Ph.D., Vice President for Science Application, University of Maryland Center of Environmental Studies
Karen Hansen, Principal, Beveridge and Diamond, P.C.
Margaret Leinen, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Climos, Inc.
Carla Sullivan, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
The 2008 Ocean Seminar Series is made possible by generous support from the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation.