Strengthening Partnerships: NOAA, BOEM, BSEE in the Arctic

Anchorage, Alaska, USA
February 23–24, 2012

The arctic region is one of the last frontiers on earth. The Arctic is considerably less developed than other U.S. maritime areas, yet access to the region is increasing rapidly because of sea ice loss, demand for nonrenewable and renewable resources, capital investment options, and advances in technology. Development and transportation in the Arctic will bring many challenges and increased risk to the region; new infrastructure and sustained investment will be needed to ensure the arctic ecosystem is protected and managed sustainably. Understanding and minimizing risks in the Arctic will require improved coordination within the federal government and with the State of Alaska and tribal, regional, and local governments.

An important step toward improved coordination was the workshop Strengthening Partnerships: NOAA, BOEM, BSEE in the Arctic, held February 23–24, 2012, in Anchorage, Alaska. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a mutual understanding of the missions of three federal agencies with major arctic marine responsibilities. The workshop was designed to improve communication and explore processes and pathways for building strong partnerships among the three agencies—avoiding duplication and ensuring that relevant issues are adequately covered.

The workshop was a follow-up to a memorandum of understanding among the agencies—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Department of Commerce), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (both in the Department of the Interior). The workshop goals were to identify ways to build a shared, sound base of scientific information and to minimize risk to the arctic environment, while allowing appropriate development of energy and mineral resources within the U.S. arctic outer continental shelf to move forward.

The workshop was arranged by Alaska Sea Grant and facilitated by Alaska Sea Grant director David Christie.

The workshop presentations and final report are available online.

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