Public Meetings on Deepwater Drilling & Spill Response
Michael R. Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEM), announced that he will be leading a series of public meetings to collect information and views about deepwater drilling safety reforms, blowout containment, and oil spill response. Bromwich will be soliciting input from the general public, state and local leaders, and experts from academia, the environmental community, and the oil and gas industry.
“We will engage the public and experts on these issues to determine what additional measures are needed so that deepwater drilling can proceed in a manner that is safe for crews, the environment, and coastal communities,” Bromwich said. “It’s important that we hear from those who have been directly affected by the BP (BP) Oil Spill, as well as from other stakeholders, including the conservation community and the oil and gas industry itself.”
“We need to know that industry got the message,” Bromwich continued, “and that they are quickly taking steps to ensure deepwater drilling operations are safe. They also have to demonstrate to us that they can contain a catastrophic blowout similar to BP Oil Spill as well as respond appropriately in the event of another oil spill.”
The suspensions announced last week established a temporary pause of deepwater drilling in order to address issues related to drilling, blowout containment, and oil spill response, including to allow time to collect additional information regarding these issues through public outreach and ongoing investigations into the Deepwater Horizon incident.
The suspensions are set to last until November 30, 2010, or until such earlier time that the Secretary determines that deepwater drilling operations can proceed safely.
“Because we’re interested in getting input from a variety of sources, we plan to hold the meetings in seven states – Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas,” Bromwich said. “We’re working on finalizing the planning for these meetings, including the specific locations and dates, and will have another announcement with those details very soon.”
Meetings are currently being scheduled to occur in August in the following cities: New Orleans, LA, Lafayette, LA, Mobile, AL, Pensacola, FL, Santa Barbara, CA, and Anchorage, AK. Meetings will be held in early September in the following cities: Biloxi, MS and Houston, TX.
The meeting format planned is one that will allow representatives from academia, industry, and environmental organizations to serve as panel members to provide testimony, combined with the opportunity for audience members to provide public comment during the meeting.
Additionally, the public will be able to submit comments in person at the meetings, online, and by mail.