The Department of the Interior's (DOI) authority to address Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) air emissions comes from the 1978 Outer Continental Shelf Land Act which directs the Secretary of the Interior to administer regulations for compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards pursuant to the Clean Air Act to the extent that authorized activities do not significantly affect the air quality of any state. BSEE works in coordination with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to provide environmental oversight in areas where the Department of the Interior has authority to regulate air emissions from offshore oil and gas operations.
These areas are the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf, West of 87.5 longitude (Western and Central Gulf of Mexico) and the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The Environmental Protection Agency retains jurisdiction over air emission sources in all other federal waters
Air Quality Compliance and Enforcement
BSEE's Environmental Compliance Program (ECP) leads verify compliance and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations pertaining to air quality. ECP also ensures that facilities operating on the OCS are in compliance with BOEM approved plans and related conditions of approval for air emissions
ECP personnel conduct field inspections of emission sources installed on offshore platforms that have the potential to emit regulated air pollutants as defined in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Risk-based offshore inspections are conducted on facilities operating on the OCS and include the evaluation of permanent and temporary activities, drilling operations, production equipment, emission reduction controls, equipment stack tests, and other associated potential sources of air pollution. In addition to field inspections, ECP reviews BOEM-mandated monitoring and reporting of air emission sources for compliance with approved plan emission limits and other applicable conditions.
ECP may initiate measures to control and bring into compliance those operations determined to be in violation of applicable regulations or plan conditions by issuing Incidents of Noncompliance (INCs) and/or recommending further enforcement action against potential violators.