OCS Oil and Gas Off South Florida—Developing a Consensus on the Facts

by John Goll, U.S. Minerals Management Service, Herndon, United States,
Debby Tucker, U.S. Minerals Management Service, Herndon, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Drilling for oil and gas in the area north of the Florida Keys has been a contentious issue over the last several years. To help provide an understanding of the effects of exploration activities on the environmental resources of this area, the Department of the Interior and the State of Florida formed two task forces to review information and assess drilling effects. This paper describes the process of research and methods to reach a consensus on information. It presents a case study of the task force that reviewed the fate of oil spills. Approaches were taken to produce an objective report and to minimize potential conflict among the members. The group reached a consensus on scientific methods to evaluate spill transport and developed a set of questions to illustrate the type of information gathered. The task forces were successful in achieving their goals to provide information on and assess risk and impact to resources. The final reports, for the most part, represented a consensus of all members. Information was presented to the President's Outer Continental Shelf Task Force, the National Research Council, and State of Florida and Department of Interior decisionmakers.

Subject Headings: Hazardous materials spills | Non-renewable energy | Drilling | Case studies | Petroleum | Natural gas | Offshore drilling | Water pollution | Florida | United States

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