Information to be Used to Prioritize Areas, Avoid Potential Conflicts
NEW ORLEANS – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today announced it is seeking information and nominations from all interested parties regarding proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico Western and Central Planning Areas for the 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program.
BOEMRE will analyze information received in response to this Call for Information and Nominations (Call), which will primarily identify and evaluate areas with potential for oil and gas development, as well as determine possible environmental effects and potential conflicts in the Call area. This is in addition to the information collected through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. Comments will be used to develop lease terms and conditions to ensure safe offshore operations. Comments will also be used to assess potential conflicts between offshore oil and gas exploration and development operations and state coastal management programs, and to develop proposed actions and alternatives in the NEPA review process.
“This early planning and consultation step, in addition to the NEPA-related reviews we are conducting, will ensure that all interests and concerns are communicated to us and are appropriately considered in decisions regarding the leasing process,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “All area nominations as well as any information submitted will be fully analyzed and considered as we prepare for the next 5-year program.”
Ten lease sales are specifically covered by this Call: five in the Central Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Planning Area, offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and five in the Western GOM Planning Area, offshore Texas. Concurrent with this Call, BOEMRE is preparing a multi-sale Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering the same sales.
The Central GOM Planning Area consists of approximately 66.45 million acres, of which approximately 40.85 million acres are currently unleased. The Western GOM Planning Area consists of approximately 28.58 million acres, of which approximately 19.45 million acres are currently unleased. A map outlining available blocks and those excluded is posted at: http://www.gomr.boemre.gov/homepg/lsesale/callmap-2012-2017.pdf. The Call is available for public inspection today through the Federal Register’s website at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html.