Discussion Paper

Managing Environmental, Health, and Safety Risks

Jan 12, 2011 | P. Lynn Scarlett, Arthur G. Fraas, Richard D. Morgenstern, Timothy Murphy

Abstract

This study compares and contrasts regulatory and related practices—in particular, regulatory decisionmaking, risk assessment and planning processes, inspection and compliance, and organization structure, budgets, and training—of the Minerals Management Service (MMS, now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, or BOEMRE) with those of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Comparing MMS practices withthose of other federal agencies that also manage low-probability but high-consequence environmental risks provides a basis for identifying opportunities for enhancing regulatory capacity and safety performance in managing deepwater energy exploration and production. Our research finds important differences in processes for setting standards; peer review contribution to the rulemaking process; establishment of tolerable risk thresholds; and training of key staff. The paper concludes with several recommendations for how various EPA and FAA practices might be modified and used at BOEMRE to strengthen its regulatory and risk management processes.