43 USC 1346 - Environmental studies
Sec. 1346. Environmental studies(a)
Information for assessment and management of impacts on environment; time for study; impacts on marine biota from pollution or large spills
(1) The Secretary shall conduct a study 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 environmental impacts on the human, marine, and coastal environments of the outer Continental Shelf and the coastal areas which may be affected by oil and gas or other mineral development in such area or region.
(2) Each study required by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be commenced not later than six months after September 18, 1978, with respect to any area or region where a lease sale has been held or announced by publication of a notice of proposed lease sale before September 18, 1978, and not later than six months prior to the holding of a lease sale with respect to any area or region where no lease sale has been held or scheduled before September 18, 1978. In the case of an agreement under section 1337 (k)(2) of this title, each study required by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be commenced not later than 6 months prior to commencing negotiations for such agreement or the entering into the memorandum of agreement as the case may be. The Secretary may utilize information collected in any study prior to September 18, 1978.
(3) In addition to developing environmental information, any study of an area or region, to the extent practicable, shall be designed to predict impacts on the marine biota which may result from chronic low level pollution or large spills associated with outer Continental Shelf production, from the introduction of drill cuttings and drilling muds in the area, and from the laying of pipe to serve the offshore production area, and the impacts of development offshore on the affected and coastal areas.
Additional studies subsequent to leasing and development of area
Subsequent to the leasing and developing of any area or region, the Secretary shall conduct such additional studies to establish environmental information as he deems necessary and shall monitor the human, marine, and coastal environments of such area or region in a manner designed to provide time-series and data trend information which can be used for comparison with any previously collected data for the purpose of identifying any significant changes in the quality and productivity of such environments, for establishing trends in the areas studied and monitored, and for designing experiments to identify the causes of such changes.
Procedural regulations for conduct of studies; cooperation with affected States; utilization of information from Federal, State and local governments and agencies
The Secretary shall, by regulation, establish procedures for carrying out his duties under this section, and shall plan and carry out such duties in full cooperation with affected States. To the extent that other Federal agencies have prepared environmental impact statements, are conducting studies, or are monitoring the affected human, marine, or coastal environment, the Secretary may utilize the information derived therefrom in lieu of directly conducting such activities. The Secretary may also utilize information obtained from any State or local government, or from any person, for the purposes of this section. For the purpose of carrying out his responsibilities under this section, the Secretary may by agreement utilize, with or without reimbursement, the services, personnel, or facilities of any Federal, State, or local government agency.
Consideration of relevant environmental information in developing regulations, lease conditions and operating orders
The Secretary shall consider available relevant environmental information in making decisions (including those relating to exploration plans, drilling permits, and development and production plans), in developing appropriate regulations and lease conditions, and in issuing operating orders.
Assessment of cumulative effects of activities on environment; submission to Congress
As soon as practicable after the end of every 3 fiscal years, the Secretary shall submit to the Congress and make available to the general public an assessment of the cumulative effect of activities conducted under this subchapter on the human, marine, and coastal environments.
Utilization of capabilities of Department of Commerce
In executing his responsibilities under this section, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, enter into appropriate arrangements to utilize on a reimbursable basis the capabilities of the Department of Commerce. In carrying out such arrangements, the Secretary of Commerce is authorized to enter into contracts or grants with any person, organization, or entity with funds appropriated to the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to this subchapter.
Last modified: July 21, 2011