It seems as if the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been taking some heat on their “Record of Decision” on paving the way to Geophysical and Geological (G&G) surveys in the Mid and South Atlantic. It was just over a month ago, after ignoring thousands of public comments and qualified critiques submitted by conservation organizations, lawmakers, fishing interests, and state tourism concerns that BOEM issued their decision.
Their taking heat is evidenced by a letter and article put out in their bi-monthly Science Notes newsletter under the heading “The Science Behind the Decision.” Unfortunately there was very little science in the article, the letter, or the accompanying “Fact Sheet.” Mostly the pieces were softly lit assurances that “it was all going to be ok,” pointing out with true bureaucratic aplomb that before anything happened other agencies and other public comment periods would be there to intervene.
As I stated in our letter to BOEM about this hastily assembled pabulum is that it is the bureaucrat’s prerogative to pave the way toward disastrous outcomes by “just doing their job.” It was clear that the writer, BOEM’s Chief Environmental Officer William Y. Brown was not familiar with the literature on seismic impacts on marine life, nor was he conversant in the physics of sound; but he was given that task of assuring us that BOEM was doing its job of “protect[ing] marine species and ecosystems from harm by the energy exploration and development which we regulate…”
What is clear from this – and particularly annoying, is that had someone at BOEM really done their job and read our comments (and the comments of many others) on the Atlantic G&G Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement they might have put out a more informed puff piece on their decision. Or they would have made a better, more informed decision altogether, saving them the embarrassment of laying eggs in public.