The Wicked Problem of Oil & Gas Development in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas: Current Permitting and Evaluation of Marine Spatial Planning as a Potential Management Tool
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Changing climatic conditions and shifting global economics have thrust the Arctic into the spotlight for many scientists, academics, and policymakers as well as those in offshore industries, particularly in shipping and oil and gas. This research provides an overview of current U.S. Federal and State of Alaska environmental permitting requirements for offshore oil and gas development in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, highlighting the wicked problem of Arctic development: activities undertaken in the region are highly complex, involving significant political, social, environmental, and technical challenges. The economic opportunities that these Seas afford, and the high risks posed by pursuing these opportunities, call for the development of effective management strategies to avoid environmental catastrophes and maintain safe conditions for the stakeholders involved. The general questions guiding this research are: 1) How do Federal and State management of Beaufort and Chukchi Sea offshore oil and gas resources differ and how do the environmental permitting processes reflect this difference? 2) Is marine spatial planning (MSP) a viable tool for integrating these regulatory processes into a comprehensive planning process that balances stakeholder engagement, economic interests, and protection of the marine environment, all elements of the wicked problem? The analysis shows that MSP is worthy of consideration at the local or State level as a tool to help address these wicked problems elements, potentially allowing for a smoother permitting process.
Marine Spatial Planning
Oil and Gas
Wicked Risk Assessment
Johannes, Emilie Ann (2014). The Wicked Problem of Oil & Gas Development in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas: Current Permitting and Evaluation of Marine Spatial Planning as a Potential Management Tool. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from