The State of Oregon maintains an interest and is an active participant in the activities that occur on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) beyond the State's Territorial Sea boundaries. This section describes aspects of the State's interest and applicable authorities related to OCS management. It also provides information regarding ongoing continental shelf activities at the State and Federal level.
Multiple ocean planning efforts exist around Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. These efforts include partnerships that bring together local, state, federal, and tribal governments, as well as data sharing opportunities. Visit this page to learn more about some of these regional efforts, including the West Coast Regional Planning Body and the West Coast Ocean Partnership under the West Coast Governors Alliance.
In September 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approved a Geographic Location Description (GLD) within the Oregon Ocean Stewardship Area for federal activities related to marine renewable energy development.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) manages the responsible exploration and development of offshore energy and marine mineral resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). BOEM’s mission is to promote energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible management of these resources based on the best available science. As an emerging part of the nation’s all-of-the-above energy portfolio, BOEM’s OCS renewable energy program provides a new source of domestic energy supply with less carbon emissions. BOEM anticipates development of marine renewable energy from three sources: wind, ocean wave, and current energy.
Interest in marine renewable energy development off the Oregon coast prompted Governor Kulongoski to request the establishment of a BOEM Oregon task force to ensure that state and local agencies and tribes are involved in the decision-making process for any lease requests that may be submitted. The Department of Interior approved that request on December 30, 2010, establishing the BOEM Oregon OCS Renewable Energy Task Force.
In June 2012, the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (POCS) Region of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued an interagency agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct the Pacific Regional Ocean Uses Atlas project (PROUA). The Energy Policy Act of 2005, an amendment to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), granted BOEM lead management authority for marine renewable energy projects on federal offshore lands, and other projects that make alternative use of existing oil and natural gas platforms. The specific objectives of the PROUA are to enhance ocean planning for offshore renewable energy development in U.S. waters. This is to be achieved by documenting at specific geographies, scales and resolutions, patterns of existing and emerging uses of the ocean off Oregon; and, identifying potential use interaction, and/or potential for conflict between anticipated renewable energy activities and other potentially concurring ocean uses.
Oregon's interests in ocean resource policy and management are not limited to state waters. Because the ocean is part of a much larger regional marine ecosystem, ocean uses and activities that occur in federal waters may affect Oregon's coastal environment and communities. For this reason, in 1991, the State of Oregon defined an Ocean Stewardship Area in the Ocean Resources Management Plan as the area extending through the state’s territorial sea out to the toe of the continental shelf.