Area includes approximately 658,000 acres
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for two proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico's Eastern Planning Area. "This analysis evaluates baseline conditions and potential environmental impacts of oil and natural gas leasing, exploration, development and production in the Eastern Planning Area, and updates information already published," said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. "This document is an important part of the decision-making process regarding future operations, as well as leasing."
Lease Sales 225 and 226, scheduled for 2014 and 2016, are part of the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). The Five Year Program makes all areas with the highest-known resource potential available for oil and gas leasing.
The Five Year Program schedules 12 potential lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, with annual area wide sales of all available, unleased acreage in the Western and Central Planning Areas, as has been the typical practice. Additionally, since a portion of the Eastern Planning Area (EPA) was made available for leasing under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, Lease Sales 225 and 226 are scheduled there. The remainder of the Eastern Planning Area is under Congressional moratorium.
This FEIS analyzes potential impacts on sensitive coastal environments, offshore marine resources, and socioeconomic resources both onshore and offshore. BOEM also held public hearings along the Gulf Coast and solicited comments from interested citizens and organizations that were used to prepare the FEIS.
The Eastern Planning Area 225/226 FEIS is available for review today online at http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html and will be published in tomorrow's Federal Register.