09/27/2011 - A U.S. Geological Survey report last summer on the nation's capacity to assess impacts from oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean was credible and unbiased but failed to identify which scientific gaps are most important to fill, according to a new report commissioned by a pair of conservation groups.
The report (pdf) by the Pew Environment Group and Ocean Conservancy also recommended that the Interior Department better monitor cumulative changes in Arctic waters, disseminate more research to the public, synthesize existing knowledge and identify biologically important areas that should be off-limits to development.
Yesterday's release of the 40-page white paper came as Interior nears the end of a yearlong supplemental review of oil and gas leasing in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast. The agency must issue a record of decision on the 2008 sale by a court-ordered deadline of Oct. 3.
Read the full article, Report Finds Gaps in USGS Study on Offshore Drilling in Arctic Ocean, on The New York Times' Web site.