Oceana Commends New Era of Science and Policy
Press Release Date: September 29, 2010
Location: Juneau, AK
Juneau, AK Sept. 28, 2010 – Oceana commends Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for his Secretarial Order establishing a policy to ensure the integrity of the science and scientific products used in the Department’s decision-making and policy development. This Order is another step in the right direction toward basing decisions on sound science instead of politics. In the Arctic, the Department of the Interior should obtain important scientific information before making decisions about industrial activities.
“We are encouraged by the Obama administration’s commitment to bringing sound science, including local and traditional knowledge, back to decision-making,” said Michael LeVine, Pacific Senior Counsel for Oceana. “Integrity and objectivity are vital to making good decisions about our oceans and to fairly revisiting commitments that were made without them.”
The Secretarial order today puts a spotlight on BOEM, formerly MMS, the troubled agency within Interior. In 2008, MMS approved Lease Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea, despite acknowledging there was significant missing scientific information about the region. This summer, the federal district court in Alaska ruled that the approval violated NEPA by failing to account for natural gas development and failing to identify what missing information was essential to the lease sale decision and obtain that information if possible. The court remanded the decision to the Department of the Interior to conduct this necessary analysis.
BOEM, therefore, has an immediate opportunity to act on the principles defined in today’s Secretarial order. BOEM has committed to a full supplemental EIS process, and
Oceana urges Secretary Salazar to make sure this analysis is done right. We also urge the Secretary to use what is learned from other scientific analyses, including the Presidential BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling Commission and US Geologic Survey Arctic gap analysis, as it undertakes this supplemental EIS process.
Today’s Secretarial Order is another good step toward a sustainable future and away from past misconduct. Science and preparedness must be the basis for decisions about the Arctic Ocean.
Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world’s oceans. Our teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. Global in scope and dedicated to conservation, Oceana has campaigners based in North America, Europe and South and Central America. More than 400,000 members and e-activists in over 150 countries have already joined Oceana. For more information, please visit www.Oceana.org.