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Ocean Program

Ocean Industry and Energy

To work toward more environmentally sound management of our oceans, ELI develops law and policy recommendations to reduce user conflict and ensure coordination and cooperation in a multi-use ocean environment. Our work proactively addresses offshore energy development, assures appropriate environmental safeguards for ocean uses, and provides guidance and accountability mechanisms for marine environmental damages. See also our work on marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management.

We also periodically host Ocean Seminars on topics related to offshore energy development:

Mid-Atlantic Offshore Energy and Coastal Management Frameworks

ELI works with several of the Mid-Atlantic states to assess whether their coastal and offshore laws and policies create frameworks that will protect the marine environment and create accountability while accommodating growth. This has included collaborating with the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia to analyze their offshore energy laws, assess how they protect the coastal environment while facilitating offshore renewable energy development, and provide practical recommendations for strengthening the existing frameworks. ELI has also worked with state and federal staff on state coastal management programs to develop concise, clear, and up-to-date enforceable coastal policy documents for Maryland and Virginia, aiming to simplify federal consistency processes and improve compliance.

Offshore energy frameworks:

Oil Spill Restoration

Following the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in April 2010, ELI began working to educate Gulf of Mexico fishermen and communities about the law, policy, and management issues surrounding restoration. In particular, ELI is supporting community engagement in Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and restoration planning. ELI also maintains a BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Litigation Database and additional resources to raise awareness about the effects of the spill and efforts to help the region recover.

Reversing Degradation from Land-Based Activities

ELI is raising awareness of the connection between land-based activities and degradation of the marine environment by providing guidance on ways to address major coastal and marine threats. Through our work with United Nations Environment Programme's Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities, ELI is developing a handbook containing steps countries can take to adapt their laws, regulations, and policies to address existing and emerging land-based threats to ocean health.