The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's recent proposal to open the vast majority of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas leasing raises new questions regarding potentially conflicting uses of the ocean, including military use for training and readiness activities in some of the areas proposed for oil and gas development. Yet with the Trump Administration's revocation of many components of the former National Ocean Policy, including coastal and marine spatial planning and the requirement for federal participation in regional ocean planning processes, there is currently no comprehensive federal policy for deconflicting competing federal, state, and local ocean uses across jurisdictional lines. Ocean governance in the United States remains splintered across multiple agencies at both the federal and local level and divides responsibility across sometimes arbitrary geographic lines. To proactively manage ocean user conflicts resulting from potentially expanded oil and gas development across multiple sectors and regulatory schemes, Congress should amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to utilize federal-state collaborative marine spatial planning in Outer Continental Shelf leasing determinations.
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