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BSEE and NOAA Sign Interagency Agreement to Advance Offshore Safety and Environmental Stewardship

Thursday, October 26, 2023

WASHINGTON — As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to furthering improvements in the safety and environmental sustainability of offshore energy development, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreeing to collaborate on areas of mutual interest with respect to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy activities and environmental stewardship. BSEE Director Kevin Sligh and NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, Ph.D. signed the MOU today during a ceremony at the Interior Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

“This collaboration allows the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to leverage their expertise and resources to increase each agency’s effectiveness and help protect human health and the environment while meeting the nation’s energy, economic, and information needs,” said BSEE Director Sligh

“I’m excited to join Director Sligh in signing an MOU that acknowledges the individual strengths of our respective agencies, while also recognizing the additional benefits that partnership through shared goals and mutual challenges can achieve,” said NOAA Administrator Spinrad

The MOU sets forth the general terms and conditions to support the interagency partnership on federal actions and initiatives. Specifically, the agreement calls for BSEE and NOAA to share data, support interagency training and develop additional agreements that outline cooperation on individual programs, projects or activities.

Areas of mutual interest and possible collaboration include, but are not limited to: 

  • Environmental planning, preparedness, forecasting, monitoring and response; 

  • Maritime policy coordination (e.g., safe marine transportation); 

  • Ocean data and observations; 

  • Climate adaptation and mitigation; 

  • Science and research; 

  • Rulemaking; 

  • Environmental justice; 

  • Sustainability; 

  • Compliance and enforcement (e.g., regarding offshore wind energy activities on the OCS); and 

  • Outreach and engagement. 

The mission of BSEE is to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement of ocean energy, marine mineral and carbon sequestration activities on the OCS. 

The mission of NOAA is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, ocean and coasts; to share that knowledge and information with others; and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.


The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is the lead federal agency charged with improving safety and ensuring environmental protection related to the offshore energy industry, primarily oil and natural gas, on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.