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He added that information pertaining to OCS exploration and development should be disclosed to the public.
Some witnesses suggested that the requirements for exploration and development plans were duplicative of existing regulations; H.R. 1614 would instead codify these procedures.
The Sierra Club urged that, scientific studies, including predictive studies, with adequate time-tables and funding, should be completed prior to leasing, or at least before production and development plans are approved.
In 1975, the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere recommended that a less detailed environmental impact statement should be accepted for exploration plans, but that a more thorough environmental impact statement should be prepared for approval production plans.
3. Lease suspension and cancellation
FEA strongly favored the vesting of authority in the Department of the Interior to cancel leases when the continued activity would cause serious harm or damage to the human or marine environment.
Environmental Protection Agency favored the bill's cancellation provisions with the addition of the amendments offered by Interior so that the advantages of continued activity will be considered against the detriment that may be caused to the environment.
The testimony of Mills E. Godwin, Jr., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia endorsed the cancellation provisions of H.R. 1614.
The representative from the State of Massachusetts strongly supported the bill's cancellation provisions, and recommended the acceptance of Interior's amendments in this regard.
The statement of Governor Byrne of New Jersey also backed the cancellation provisions in H.R. 1614 with the caveat that lessees should only be compensated for actual expenses.
The Sierra Club was of the opinion that the Secretary of the Interior should have the option to cancel a lease without compensation, and that suspension time before cancellation should be limited to a total of 5 years.
4. Development of a 5-year leasing program
Roger Hedgecock, representing the County of San Diego, Calif., and the National Association of Counties, favored the 5-year leasing program. He indicated that the 5-year leasing program should be expanded to consider regional as well as national considerations. State and local governments should be involved in prioritizing leasing areas for each OCS region and in analyzing alternatives to leasing such as utilization of other energy sources which could effectively displace the intended use of the OCS resource.
The GAO recommended that the Department of the Interior should develop a long range plan for the rational, systematic appraisal of the oil and gas resources on the OCS.
The testimony of Governor Godwin of Virginia urged that every effort be made to help states plan in advance for OCS related activities, and commended the proposed 5-year leasing plan provided for in H.R. 1614, provided that it be carefully meshed into ongoing operations so as not to create delay.
The representative from the State of Massachusetts stated that H.R. 1614, will facilitate the orderly exploration and development of our OCS resources, setting out goals and objectives for a long-term leasing program. Such a leasing schedule should place priority on
developing those areas with the highest resource potential and the least environmental risk.
5. On-structure drilling
Monte Canfield, Jr., of the GAO recommended that the Secretary of the Interior should conduct a geological exploration program to collect data that would protect the public interest. Also, through the issuance of permits, private industry should be encouraged to conduct drilling, sharing the prelease information with other participants on a cost-shared basis, and with DOI. He added that the Interior Department should conduct additional stratigraphic drilling at public expense, if any data gap exists after industry participation is known.
6. Coordination and consultation with affected States
Secretary Cecil Andrus went on the record in support of the concept that State and local participation in OCS decisions should be assured and that environmental protection should be balanced with the benefits of OCS production.
EPA testified in favor of the sections of H.R. 1614, providing for Federal coordination and cooperation with State and local governments. Full support was expressed for the proposed administration amendment to section 19 which would require the Secretary of the Interior to balance the national interest and the well-being of the citizens of the affected States in considering the recommendations and input of the States.
The main concern voiced by the State of Massachusetts was that the States be properly consulted and involved in the OCS decisionmaking process in order to alleviate coastal and environmental impacts.
Representatives of the National Association of Counties and the County of San Diego, Calif., testified that an increased State and local voice in OCS decisionmaking was needed, which in turn requires a need to provide State and local governments access to complete information on resource potential, estimated onshore facilities, environmental risks, and so on.
John Klein of Suffolk County, N.Y., declared that the localities should be involved in OCS decisionmaking early in the process, at the same time the governors are brought in, and not when the decision to develop has already been made. This must include advanced planning and impact funds.
The testimony of both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of New Jersey commended the provisions of H.R. 1614 which call for enhanced consultation with the States.
The representative of the State of New York termed it essential that the States be included in the leasing program at both the technical and policy level.
Environmental groups also supported the enhanced involvement of the States.
Governor du Pont supported new sections 18 and 26 which provide for information sharing and direct input from the States.
7. Baseline and monitoring studies
Andrew W. Breidenbach expressed particular approval of section 20 concerning baseline and monitoring studies which requires development of information aimed at predicting the impacts on marine biota.
The National Oceans and Atmosphere Administration supported the proposed administration amendment to section 20 of H.R. 1614 authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to conduct environmental baseline and monitoring studies, and directing him to use the capabilities of the Department of Commerce to the maximum extent practicable.
FEA questioned the advisability of removing responsibility for the baseline program from the Department of the Interior, as was originally provided for in H.R. 1614.
Evelyn F. Murphy, representing Massachusetts, recommended, on the subject of baseline and monitoring studies, that the Department of the Interior remain the lead agency, but that to the "greatest extent practicable," it contract with NOAA to carry out the studies because of that agencies good track record.
New Jersey suggested that the Department of Commerce be the lead agency for environmental baseline studies, but will accept a compromise including a Memorandum of Understanding between Interior and Commerce.
8. Safety regulations and enforcement
Eula Bingham of the Department of Labor, testified that the safety and health provisions of H.R. 1614, as originally introduced (new sections 21 and 22), present difficulties for DOL.
Patrick J. Campbell of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America urged that both OSHA and the Coast Guard should enforce health and safety on the OCS on a joint, cooperative basis.
The Association of Diving Contractors felt that OCS health and safety jurisdiction should be vested in the Coast Guard.
A professional diver, Michael C. Bateman-Cooke, testified that although OSHA may now have the knowledge to at least promulgate regulations, the Coast Guard is suited to enforce diving regulations, and should be used.
The representative of the National Association of Counties and San Diego County, Calif., supported the requirements for the use of the best available technology.
9. Oil spill pollution fund
The administration expressed preference for the Comprehensive Oil Spill and Compensation bill reported by the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in lieu of the liability title of H.R. 1614.
Environmental groups, state and local officials, and Administration witnesses supported the concept of the oil spill pollution fund.
10. OCS information program
John O'Leary of FEA stated that controversy over the reliability of our information about the nation's oil and gas resources, and the Government's ability to develop independent information regarding those resources may require access to or the obtaining of data beyond those which have been utilized in the past.
The GAO heavily emphasized the need for the Interior Department (with industry cooperation and on its own) to develop greater and more accurate information concerning our offshore oil and gas resources prior to lease sales.
James F. Flug of Energy Action indicated that full information on costs and returns on every lease should be required both retroactively and hence forward by H.R. 1614.
Governor Byre of New Jersey and others endorsed exploration and the probability of expanding it to increase our information on OCS resources.
11. Direct grants to the States
In 1975, the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere recommended that impacted States be compensated for their coastal losses.
Governor Godwin's testimony called for "front-end” and impact funds for the States from the Federal Government in addition to those provided now under the Coastal Zone Management program.
Peter A. A. Berle, Commissioner of the State of New York, Department of Environmental Conservation indicated that some Federal funding assistance will be required to make Federal/State cooperation and consultation effective. He recommended an amendment to the bill authorizing additional monies to be distributed to the coastal states for the policy, managerial, and operational aspects of the Federal leasing program. In addition, he supported the concept of increased sharing of Federal funds to ameliorate the impacts of development.
William J. Guste, Jr., Attorney General, Louisiana, testified that significant incentive for exploration and production would be provided by allowing the coastal and Great Lakes States to participate in revenues from offshore production in the same way that the interior states have benefited under the Mineral Leasing Act.
VI. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS
This Act may be cited as the "Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Amendments of 1977”.
TITLE I-FINDINGS AND PURPOSES
Title I details the findings of Congress that led to enactment of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Acts Amendments of 1977 ("1977 Amendments”) and the purposes of Congress in enacting the 1977 legislation. Section 101.-Findings
As a result of its extensive hearings, both in the 94th Congress and the 95th Congress, the committee set out in section 101, a number of findings about the current and future supply of energy, the potential of resources of the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”), and the existence and solution of administrative, legal and environmental problems. Specifically, the findings are that the demand for energy in the United States is increasing and will continue to increase, while the domestic production of oil and gas has declined. This decline in production has made the United States increasingly dependent on imports to meet domestic demand, but this dependence on imported oil
can be significantly reduced by increasing the development of domestic sources of energy. Similarly, natural gas consumption of the United States has greatly exceeded any increase in domestic reserves.
There is technology available to significantly increase domestic production of oil and gas in an environmentally safe manner. One source for increased domestic discovery and production of oil and gas is the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
The OCS lands and the resources of those lands are public property, which the Federal Government holds in behalf of the people of the United States. Therefore, the Government has a duty to properly and carefully manage this vital natural resource reserve, so as to obtain fair value for the resources, protect competition, preserve the environment, and generally reflect the public interest.
Development of the resources of the Outer Continental Shelf has, however, been delayed because of a number of technological, economic, environmental, administrative and legal problems. To resolve these problems, a review of environmental and safety regulations relating to activities on the Shelf must be undertaken in light of current technology and information. In addition, because of the development and delivery of OCS resources and the placement of related energy facilities may cause adverse impacts on certain States, and local areas within those States, these States and affected local areas must be able to develop policies, plans and programs to anticipate and ameliorate any adverse impacts. Thus, they must be provided with timely access to information as to OCS activities, and an opportunity to review and comment on policy decisions.
The Federal Government must also assume the responsibility for minimizing or eliminating conflicts between oil and gas development on the shelf and other uses of the marine environment, such as fish and shellfish harvesting and recreational activities.
Finally, the problem of the effects of oil spills must be dealt with. Funds must be made available to pay for the prompt removal of any oil spill or discharge and for any damages suffered by any private or public entity as a result of the spill or discharge. Section 102.-Purposes
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953 has given broad discretion to the Federal Government in exercising regulatory authority as to activities on the Outer Continental Shelf. The findings of Congress and the problems described in those findings, indicate a need to formalize some of these regulations in statutory provisions and to authorize and mandate the promulgation of different and additional regulations. The purpose of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
Amendments of 1977 is to establish such a legislative framework. Specifically, the 1977 Amendments are to establish policies and procedures for managing Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas resources so as to better achieve national economic and energy policy goals. Oil and natural gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf are to be preserved, protected and developed so as to: (1) Allow the resources to become available for domestic use as rapidly as possible; (2) provide for a balance of development with protection of the environment; (3) insure the public a fair and equitable return on the resources; and (4) preserve and maintain competition.