U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

Interior Department Announces Next Steps for Atlantic Offshore Energy

April 11, 2012

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on March 28 that DOI is taking steps to assess the conventional and renewable energy resource potential in the Mid- and South Atlantic. The draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) released for public comment will help inform future decisions about whether, and if so where, leasing would be appropriate.

This milestone advances BOEM's regionally tailored approach to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) exploration and development, which stresses the importance of better understanding resource potential in the Mid- and South Atlantic. The draft PEIS assesses proposed geological and geophysical activities, including seismic and other offshore surveys, in the Mid- and South-Atlantic planning areas.

The PEIS also evaluates the potential environmental effects of multiple geological and geophysical activities in these OCS planning areas and, where needed, outlines mitigation and monitoring measures that will reduce or eliminate potential impacts. A variety of techniques is also used to understand the potential to site renewable energy structures and locate marine mineral resources such as sand and gravel. BOEM also uses geological and geophysical information to fulfill its statutory responsibilities to oversee the safety of offshore operations; support environmental impact analyses and protect the environment; ensure receipt of fair market value for leased federal lands; and conserve oil and gas resources. See the DOI press release and the draft PEIS.