NOAA proposes CZMA changes to improve offshore leasing process

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it is proposing possible changes in the Coastal Zone Management Act aimed at making the federal consistency process more efficient across all stages of US Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas projects from leasing through development.

NOAA, a part of the US Department of Commerce, also is considering changes to how it might reduce processing time for appeals and make outcomes more predictable, it said in a Mar. 11 Federal Register notice. Comments will be accepted through Apr. 25, NOAA noted.

An American Petroleum Institute official welcomed the news. “Offshore federal areas are critical to the continued energy and national security of the nation,” said Erik Milito, API vice-president for upstream and industry operations.

“We appreciate and support efforts to modernize and improve the governance and efficiency of the permitting and approvals process so that unnecessary barriers to oil and natural gas development are minimized and eliminated,” Milito said.

Christopher Guith, senior vice-president at the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, said the proposal reflects broader Trump administration efforts to make the federal offshore oil and gas leasing less opaque and more predictable.

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