30 CFR § 556.1300 - Environmental studies.

§ 556.1300 Environmental studies.

(a) The Director will conduct a study or studies of any area or region included in any oil and gas lease sale or other lease in order to establish information needed for assessment and management of impacts on the human, marine and coastal environments which may be affected by OCS oil and gas or other mineral activities in such area or region. The purposes of such studies will include, to the extent practicable, analyses of the impacts of pollutants introduced into the environments and impacts of offshore activities on the seabed and affected coastal areas.

(b) Studies will be planned and carried out in cooperation with the affected States and interested parties and, to the extent possible, will not duplicate studies done under other laws. Where appropriate, the Director will, to the maximum extent practicable, coordinate with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in executing its environmental studies responsibilities. The Director may also make agreements for the coordination with, or the use of the services or resources of, any other Federal, State or local government agency in the conduct of such studies.

(c) Any study of an area or region required by paragraph (a) of this section for a lease sale will be commenced not later than six months prior to holding a lease sale for that area. The Director may use information collected in any prior study. The Director may initiate studies for an area or region not identified in the leasing program.

(d) After the leasing and developing of any area or region, the Director will conduct such studies as are deemed necessary to establish additional information and will monitor the human, marine and coastal environments of such area or region in a manner designed to provide information, which can be compared with the results of studies conducted prior to OCS oil and gas development. This will be done to identify any significant changes in the quality and productivity of such environments, to establish trends in the area studies, and to design experiments identifying the causes of such changes. Findings from such studies will be used to recommend modifications in practices that are employed to mitigate the effects of OCS activities and to enhance the data/information base for predicting impacts which might result from a single lease sale or cumulative OCS activities.

(e) Information available or collected by the studies program will, to the extent practicable, be provided in a form and in a timeframe that can be used in the decision-making process associated with a specific leasing action or with longer term OCS minerals management responsibilities.