The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, announced Wednesday an agreement to have the National Academies establish a new standing committee on environmental science and assessment for offshore energy and mineral resources.
The committee is to provide independent information on issues relevant to BOEM’s environmental studies and assessment activities and support discussions on relevant issues. The committee’s services will be provided under a three-year contract with the National Research Council, or NRC, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.
The NRC issued a call for nominations on June 23, seeking a broad pool of applicants for the standing committee. Nominations will be accepted by the NRC until July 15. The NRC expects to announce the committee membership later in the summer, followed by an announcement of its plans for the first meeting in the fall.
The NRC is to appoint about 15 experts from the pool of qualified experts from academia, the private sector and other organizations with expertise in the scientific disciplines relevant to BOEM’s environmental assessment and studies programs. Committee member expertise is to encompass both natural and social sciences, and relevant disciplines within those broad areas as warranted, such as ecology and population biology, physical and chemical oceanography and marine archaeology.
The committee members will not be paid and are not required to be members of the National Academies. The committee is to meet several times a year and may conduct workshops, studies or peer review documents relevant to BOEM’s environmental programs. The work is to be purely advisory in nature. It will not include recommendations on what policy or management decisions should be made.
Topics and activities the committee or sub-committees may explore include: strategic approaches to environmental monitoring to assess ecosystem health and mitigation effectiveness; stakeholder discussions on controversial issues; reviews of proposed BOEM studies; high-level reviews and expert advice on gaps and priorities for research; technical input related to BOEM’s environmental programs; enhancing understanding of innovation in science and technology; and if warranted, NRC studies on specific topics.
BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program, which was authorized by the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act, develops, funds, and manages rigorous scientific research to inform policy decisions regarding the development of energy and mineral resources on the OCS. The studies contribute to environmental reviews and the development of measures to protect sensitive resources from the potential impacts of ocean energy or non-energy mineral development. More information about BOEM’s environmental activities is available at Environmental Studies Program and Environmental Assessment.
The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and NRC make up the National Academies. Effective July 1, the Institute of Medicine will become the National Academy of Medicine. They are private, independent nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.