Long-Term Environmental Effects of Offshore Oil and Gas Development

By Donald F. Boesch; Nancy N. Rabalais | Go to book overview

PREFACE

With the expansion of exploration for oil and gas in offshore regions during the 1970s, there was much concern regarding the environmental effects of future development. In the United States legal and legislative actions have been taken to stop or slow development, in large part based on concerns that deleterious effects on the marine environment would result. Ambitious Federal programs of studies of the potentially affected environment were implemented to address these concerns and ensure environmental protection. Despite these efforts, controversies regarding the seriousness of potential effects still exist, particularly with regard to subtle, but long-term effects.

Despite several evaluations of existing knowledge of the effects of offshore oil and gas development, the concern over long-term effects was unfocused. What exactly are the effects which might occur and what is the relative seriousness of each? In response to the need to answer these questions and to develop a considered and carefully planned strategy to address the remaining concerns, a detailed assessment was undertaken by a group of experts, culminating in this book. These efforts were supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation.

The ultimate purpose of our efforts is to develop recommendations for the design of an environmental research and monitoring program to quantify and evaluate the significance of subtle and long-term effects of offshore oil and gas development activities. To accomplish this the participants decided that extensive background must be developed to support the conclusions and recommendations. Hence, detailed technical papers are included in addition to the overall assessment and research plan in Chapter 1.

A large number of individuals contributed diligently and significantly to the completion of the volume. In addition to the authors of the individual chapters, a Steering Committee consisting of Donald F. Boesch, James N. Butler, David A. Cacchione, Joseph R. Geraci, Jerry M. Neff, James P. Ray and John M. Teal defined the scope, selected the technical authors, reviewed their contributions and developed the consensus assessment and recommended research needs. Throughout their deliberations, William G. Conner and Douglas A. Wolfe of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and James Cimato of the Minerals Management Service participated as liaisons with their agencies. Glynis A. Duplantis, Veronica A. Lyons, Lisa M. Brunette, and Diane Zelasko performed the word-processing through the many revisions.

D.F. Boesch

N.N. Rabalais

-v-

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