The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has just released proposed regulations that would provide additional clarity and certainty for its Marine Minerals Program regarding negotiated, non-competitive leases for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) resources such as sand, gravel and shell.
The proposed rule describes the negotiated, non-competitive agreement process for qualifying projects, and codifies new and existing procedures for using OCS sand, gravel and shell resources for shore protection, beach restoration or coastal wetlands restoration projects undertaken by federal, state and local governments. It also addresses the use of OCS resources for construction projects authorized or funded by the federal government.
The rule details the requirements for requesting a negotiated agreement for qualifying projects, including technical information on the potential sand borrow site and environmental evaluations and consultations with Federal agencies, such as the National Marine Fisheries Service, on potential impacts from the project.
It also addresses BOEM’s review procedures for processing requests, the process and timelines for requesting lease modifications, and defines commonly used terms.
BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program is critical for the long-term success and cost-effectiveness of many shore protection, beach nourishment, and coastal habitat restoration projects along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts.
Coastal erosion is a serious challenge affecting energy, defense, and public infrastructure, as well as tourism, which is important to state and local economies. Adding crucial sand, gravel or shell resources helps maintain a healthy coastal ecosystem.
To date, BOEM has executed 48 leases to provide OCS sand resources for coastal restoration projects in seven states (New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana), conveying more than 112 million cubic yards of material that has restored more than 269 miles of coastline.