DC Bar's Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section Energy Committee
With 90,000 miles of coastline and 3.4 million square miles under its authority, the U.S. manages more of the ocean than any other nation. From shore to 200 miles out to sea, the U.S. has exclusive rights to all living and non-living resources in the water column and below the seabed. It is also the leading importer and one of the largest exporters in the world, and 90 percent of world trade happens via ocean shipping. As population and consumption increase and concerns about global climate change drive us to develop alternative technologies, the ocean will be increasingly the focus of industrial activity including alternative energy development and shipping. To explore the important intersection between sustainable development, climate change mitigation, and ocean conservation, the Environmental Law Institute’s Ocean Program and the DC Bar’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section’s Energy Committee are co-hosting a new ocean seminar series, Managing Industrialized Oceans, that will bring together ocean, energy, shipping and other experts from government, the academic community, the private sector, and the non-governmental organization community to begin a dialogue about how to best manage our increasingly industrialized oceans.
Responding to high gas prices at the pumps and concerns of national security, Congress allowed the 27-year-old U.S. moratorium on offshore leasing to expire on September 30, 2008. Before leasing exploration or development can occur in newly opened areas, however, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) will have to update its statutorily-required five-year leasing plan to allow for lease sales in these new areas. The current plan is set to expire in 2012, but MMS has already begun the multi-year process to prepare the new plan. Panelists for ELI’s Oil and Gas seminar discussed terms under which leasing should proceed and how environmental concerns will be considered going forward. The panelists also discussed the likelihood of Congress revisiting a moratorium in whole or in part or considering other legislative proposals that will affect OCS leasing, development, and royalty issues.
Peter Schaumberg, Attorney, Beveridge and Diamond
Christopher Mann, Senior Officer, Pew Environment Group
Tom Kitsos, Consultant, Joint Ocean Commission Initiative
Jack Coleman, Republican General Counsel, House Committee on Natural Resources
Patricia J. Beneke, Senior Counsel, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Kim Harb, Director, Policy & Government Affairs National Ocean Industries Association
The 2008 Ocean Seminar Series is made possible by generous support from the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation.