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Marine Debris Program

Marine Debris Program

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement. BSEE protects the environment across nearly 3.2 billion acres of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). One aspect of that protection is our program to reduce the offshore energy industry’s contribution to marine debris.

BSEE enforces marine debris regulations found in Title 30, Code of Federal Regulations §250.300 Pollution Prevention. Supplemental guidance is provided by BSEE’s Notice to Lessees and Operators (NTL) 2015-G03, which clarifies its marine debris regulations for operations in the Gulf of Mexico. BSEE requires offshore energy industry operators to follow best practices to prevent marine debris, including annual training for all offshore workers and annual reporting of training records. Although NTL 2015-G03 applies specifically to oil and gas operations the Gulf of Mexico OCS, BSEE encourages these practices for all regulated activities on the OCS nationwide.

Marine Debris Program Fact Sheet

  • NOAA Marine Debris Calendar Art Contest
    Calendar art can be downloaded by clicking on the above link. The artwork is created by students in kindergarten through 8th grade for an annual contest sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. We encourage you to use these images (especially offshore) for computer “desktop backgrounds”, for screensavers, on phones, etc. It’s some really cool artwork, so we want to share it with everyone for their own use and enjoyment. The idea is to constantly place these concepts before offshore workers to remind them to prevent marine debris.
  • NOAA Marine Debris Program
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program is the United States Government’s lead for addressing the impacts of marine debris on our ocean, waterways, and Great Lakes. We work with organizations around the United States and globally to prevent marine debris from entering the environment, remove it from coastal areas, better understand the problem through research and shoreline monitoring, and respond to debris created by disasters.
  • Marine Debris (NOAA video)
  • Marine Litter Vital Graphics
  • Marine Debris Timeline EPA
  • Marine Debris from Land and Sea (poster)

Single-Use Plastics

In 2023, the Department of the Interior issued Secretary’s Order 3407, which aims to phase out single-use plastic products on public lands within the next decade. The order defines single-use plastic products as “plastic items intended to be disposed of immediately after use, including plastic and polystyrene food and beverage containers, bottles, straws, cups, cutlery, and disposable plastic bags.”

As BSEE takes action to reduce and phase out single-use plastic products within its internal operations, the bureau is looking to the offshore industry to find opportunities to do the same. Single-use plastics, such as plastic water bottles, that end up as marine debris negatively impact ecosystems. Therefore, it is essential for various contributors to offshore energy, mineral, and other activities to join BSEE as collaborative stewards of ocean sustainability through this endeavor.

Letter to Lessees, LTL 2024

Single Use Plastics Offshore Fact Sheet

Connect With Us

Marine Debris Program

For additional information about BSEE’s marine debris program activities please contact

Single-Use Plastics Offshore

Email to engage with us about how your organization is preventing or reducing the use of single-use plastics in your offshore work.