Friday, April 18, 2014

1) U.S. Think tanks weigh in on Arctic Oil and Gas Development 2) Fourth Anniversary of Deepwater Horizon: Arctic Lessons

Three recent publications from Washington DC/New York think tanks in late March all address Arctic security and resource development from a U.S. perspective:

The Brookings Institution
Policy Brief | March 24, 2014
Offshore Oil and Gas Governance in the Arctic: A Leadership Role for the U.S.

The Center for a New American Security
Policy Brief | March 25, 2014
Emerging Arctic Security Challenges

The Council on Foreign Relations
CFR "InfoGuide" | March 25, 2014
The Emerging Arctic!/?cid=otr_marketing_use-arctic_Infoguide#!

Also, on April 20th the Fourth Anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon is upon us, and at least two U.S. institutions are marking it by drawing lessons learned for Arctic drilling:

April 17 Resources for the Future:

UPDATE 5/7/2014: For a report on the Resources for the Future event see the story in Oil and Gas Journal:, with reporting as well on an April 21 conference sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Council 

April 25  Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment/Duke Energy Initiative -

Notably, the federal regulator responsible for offshore oil and gas development on the U.S. outer continental shelf in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas is expected to issue ARCTIC SPECIFIC regulations soon.  The rule-making was announced last year: U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environment and Enforcement (BSEE) Review of Alaska Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Drilling Standards, REGULATIONS.GOV (June 6, 2013),!docketDetail;D=BOEM-2013-0035 .  I will write again when the regulations are promulgated.

In this connection see the Pew Environment site
1) for its excellent paper that has helped inform the expected Arctic-specific U.S. offshore regulations (an early version was submitted during the public comment period)
2) for a blog entry also marking the Fourth Anniversary of the DWH

This United States-specific blogpost concludes with a long overdue reference to a December 2013 White Paper by Professor Wendy Jacobs and her students at Harvard's Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic on "Suggested Indicators of Environmentally Responsible Performance of Offshore Oil and Gas Companies Proposing to Drill in the U.S. Arctic," available here:

Icebreaking into the Arctic

The USCGC HEALY embarked Barrow, Alaska, in August 2008 to map the US extended continental shelf, or ECS, in the Arctic Ocean (HLY 0805). Healy sailed again from 7 August to 16 September, 2009 (HLY 0905) to continue ECS mapping, joining with the Canadian icebreaker, the Louis S. St.-Laurent. The two vessels mapped together again in 2010 (see HLY1002) and 2011 (HLY1102).

As the only law professor on the science crew, I was along on HLY 0805 and 0905 to better understand
the science behind the legal process that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes for states making ECS submissions. As to why the US is mapping now, even though it has not yet acceded to the Convention, read on both here, and in the Law of the Sea notes below.

Thanks to
Vermont Law School and especially to Larry Mayer, Director of the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, for making my part in the trip possible.
Thanks, as well, to Adriane Colburn, for opening new windows on and for the deep.