The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (Public Law 92-463, October 6, 1972), provides for the Federal government to seek the advice of citizens on a range of issues affecting its policies and programs. Approximately 1,000 advisory committees are in existence at any time, each must adhere strictly with FACA, the Freedom of Information Act, and related regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard uses Federal Advisory Committees as advisors on a range of topics. Each Committee has its own charter, and as a result, committees may be different from one another. Under the authority of FACA, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, through the Commandant of the Coast Guard, has delegated the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety and Environmental Protection the responsibility to oversee and utilize NOSAC. The Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, via the Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, on matters relating to the safety of the offshore mineral and energy industries.
The Committee consists of no more than 15 members who have expertise and experience in the offshore mineral and energy industries. The Minerals Management Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Maritime Administration, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may also designate a representative to serve as an observer on the Committee. Most Committee members serve a three-year term, except that members appointed to fill a vacancy, which is not caused by the end of a term, may only serve the remainder of that individual's term. In conformance with the Department of Homeland Security's diversity goals, the membership of NOSAC includes women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups. In addition to the members of NOSAC, numerous other persons with equal experience and expertise serve on NOSAC's various subcommittees. All of the committee and subcommittee members are volunteers serving at their own expense, including travel and per diem. Committee members may serve more than one term. Two Committee members are elected as Chairman and Vice-Chairman to serve as the presiding officers on the Committee. The Committee also has a Designated Federal Officer, who is a full-time Coast Guard official. This individual furnishes administrative and staff support to the Committee. The Designated Federal Officer or Assistant Designated Federal Officer must be present at each Committee meeting.
NOSAC meets twice a year in addition to subcommittee and working group meetings. Meetings are usually held in the Gulf of Mexico region. A notice of each meeting is published in the Federal Register. At these meetings NOSAC receives updates on activities of the various subcommittees, assigns new tasks, and forms new subcommittees as necessary to carry out these tasks. The subcommittee meet on an as needed basis, depending on the task assigned by the Committee and the scope of work involved. Some subcommittees are able to carry out a portion of their assigned tasks by telephone, fax, or correspondence.
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U.S. Coast Guard
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