CAMARILLO, Calif. – To further protect the environment and the people who live near and enjoy the waters off the Southern California coast, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today announced the publication of a Record of Decision (ROD) for the decommissioning of offshore energy infrastructure on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The decision provides a systemic pathway for the removal of obsolete offshore oil and gas infrastructure following site-specific environmental assessments and approved decommissioning plans. It also ensures no oil and gas infrastructure will remain on the Pacific OCS seafloor that could interfere with navigation, commercial fisheries, and other current or future ocean users.
“BSEE considered many factors in this decision, including comments from Tribes, federal, state, and nongovernmental organizations, and its own governing statutes and regulations,” said BSEE Director Kevin Sligh. “This critical decision will guide BSEE on all future decommissioning applications to remove oil and gas platforms, associated pipelines, and other facilities offshore Southern California.”
The ROD is the culmination of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) process for Oil and Gas Decommissioning Activities on the Pacific OCS. The final PEIS was published Oct. 27, 2023, and recommended the selection of the alternative of complete removal of all oil and gas equipment and facilities on the Pacific OCS. Twenty-three California oil and gas platforms, all installed between the late 1960s and 1990, are subject to eventual decommissioning.
The decision also documents that prior to decommissioning, a facility must undergo a site-specific National Environmental Policy Act review that will assess a variety of potential environmental impacts from infrastructure removal, including noise, water quality, air quality, cultural resources, marine life, and more.
Prior to publication of the final PEIS, BSEE conducted a scoping session, two comment periods, and two virtual public meetings to solicit additional feedback on the draft PEIS from local community members, commercial fishing interests, and other ocean users. BSEE received 34 complete comment submissions from federal, state, and local government agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the public during the scoping and comment periods.
BSEE invited four federally recognized Tribes with cultural and traditional affiliation to the area to participate in government-to-government consultations and cultural resource consultations on the decommissioning PEIS. BSEE also solicited cultural resource input from Tribes on the California Native American Heritage Commission list and a variety of stakeholders. The feedback gathered during these consultation meetings, along with all comments received, helped inform the development of the final PEIS.
The ROD and associated information are available at BSEE.gov Pacific OCS Region Decommissioning.
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 on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
Contact: Guy Hayes