ORAP Role in the Gulf

(Click to enlarge image) Darker areas of oil are visible in the Gulf of Mexico waters near the mouth of the Mississippi River. May 10, 2010. (Photo by SkyIMD, Inc.)

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico presents critical opportunities for the Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORAP).

As the nation’s only ocean FACA body, it is poised to advise the ocean-related federal agencies on environmental data needs, particularly the suite of value-laden data that could be obtained from an integrated ocean observing system and that would benefit our understanding of and response to the leaking oil in the Gulf. From now until its July 27-28 meeting in Seward, AK, the group will refine the role it expects to play as a trusted, independent advisory body to the White House and the federal agencies. At the meeting, ORAP will hear from oil industry representatives, including from BP, and it will benefit from the informed perspective of ORAP member Kerry St. Pé, who has been a leading authority at response headquarters in Louisiana.

Additional topics for discussion at the July meeting include ocean acidification, coastal inundation, alternative energies, collaborations, and other issues of prime importance in the U.S. Arctic. In addition, eight new members will be formally welcomed onto ORAP, while five current members will be recognized for their excellent service to the nation. For more information about ORAP’s background and future, please visit http://www.nopp.org/committees/orap/.