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68 Proceedings Fall 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings The Federal Government's Responsibility The persistent potential of Arctic explora- tion and production activity has obliged the U.S. government to prepare a regulatory and response framework suited to Arctic conditions, as local, regional, and national interests are only served if U.S. Arctic OCS exploration and production are conducted in a safe, effective, and environmentally responsible manner. Of a number of federal entities with regu- latory and oversight responsibilities, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Safety and Environ- mental Enforcement (BSEE), and the USCG each have signifcant, but diferent, roles in the government's regulatory and response efforts, but frequently work together to improve effectiveness and share costs. 1 The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management manages leasing and exploration and development of the nation's outer conti- nental shelf energy and mineral resources, and provides scientifc support in leasing process environmental reviews and regu- latory review for exploration and develop- ment plan processes. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement promotes safety and environmental protection in the ofshore exploration and production industry through vigorous regulatory over- sight and enforcement. The USCG is respon- sible for vessel safety inspections, maritime search and rescue, and oil and hazardous substance spill preparedness and response in the U.S. coastal zone. Each agency coordinates with other perti- nent members of federal, state, local, and tribal governments; intergovernmental organizations like the International Mari- time Organization and the Arctic Council; and other private entities throughout the ofshore exploration and production process. BOEM, BSEE, and the USCG are each taking specifc steps to prepare for, regulate, and respond to incidents asso- ciated with Arctic OCS exploration and production, and to address the special challenges associated with operating in this extreme environment. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management BOEM manages the development of the nation's outer continental shelf energy and mineral resources in an environmen- tally and economically responsible way. BOEM uses the best available science and develops, conducts, and oversees world- class scientific research specifically to inform policy decisions regarding OCS energy and mineral resource develop- ment. Through its statutory responsibili- ties, resource stewardship, environmental expertise, and long history in the U.S. Arctic OCS area, BOEM plays an integral role in government preparation for U.S. Arctic OCS energy and mineral development activity. BO E M 's Alask a Re gion (AKO C SR) in Anchorage, Alaska, is front and center in managing the U.S. Arctic OCS. It imple- ments the fve-year OCS oil and gas leasing program, reviews and approves (if appro- priate) outer continental shelf explora- tion and development and production plans, conducts environmental reviews and associated consultations, sponsors environmental studies, conducts resource evaluations, and obtains geophysical and geological data. The AKOCSR is composed of three main program ofces: ■ The Of fice of Resource Evaluation investigates the conventional oil and gas potential of the OCS, ensures the federal government receives fair market value for outer continental shelf leases, and estimates reservoir properties to calculate worst-case scenarios for oil discharges from a blow-out. ■ The Ofce of Environment follows the mandates of the National Environ- mental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and a host of other stat- utes to ensure that the best available scientifc information and traditional knowledge are employed to inform bureau and departmental decisions. 2 Its Environmental Studies Program has invested more than $450 million in Alaska OCS research, the majority of which is Arctic-centric, resulting in more than 1,000 technical reports and publications since 1973. ■ The Ofce of Leasing and Plans ensures that OCS Lands Act requirements and procedures are followed while preparing and conducting competi- tive lease sales. Once leases are issued, it manages exploration, development, and production plans, certifying that industry follows lease mitigations and terms of sale when exploring for and developing the oil and gas resources in federal waters. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement BSEE's two key functions are: ■ the Ofshore Regulator Program, which develops standards and regulations for exploration and production activity in the U.S. OCS; ■ the Oil Spill Planning Division, which develops standards for ofshore opera- tors' oil spill response plans. The BSEE Alaska Region Ofce in Anchorage, Alaska, manages the Arctic OCS. BSEE regional offices review applications for permits to drill to ensure all applicable safety requirements are met. Second, they conduct drilling rig and production plat- form inspections using multi-disciplinary inspection teams. Third, BSEE enforces safety and environmental management systems implementation and development for each operator on the U.S. outer conti- nental shelf. On the international level, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is the lead agency in a partnership devel- oping a database for Arctic oil spill response assets, which will contain detailed informa- tion on Arctic-specifc equipment, vessels, dispersant stockpiles, and application platforms; in situ burn boom, well contain- ment, and cap and fow devices; and other resources owned by or regionally available to all Arctic Council member states. This inventory will support contingency plan- ning and identify gaps in response capa- bilities. It is also contributing to the draft IMO/Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response working group "Guide on Oil Spill Response in Ice and Snow Conditions" and the Arctic Environmental Response Management Application GIS mapping platform, which is designed to assist in oil spill response by providing a common operating picture of all response assets and threatened environmental resources in the region. BSEE also provides research suppor t t h r o u g h i t s te c h n o l o g y ass e ss m e nt programs and oil spill response research program, and is the principal federal agency