The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking information from interested parties regarding proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico Eastern Planning Areas. These sales are included in the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, announced earlier this month.
BOEM has published a Call for Information and Nominations/Notice of Intent (Call/NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for two Eastern Gulf sales currently scheduled for 2014 and 2016. BOEM will collect and analyze information to identify and evaluate areas with potential for oil and gas development, as well as to determine possible environmental effects and potential conflicts in the Call area.
BOEM will use comments to support development of lease terms and conditions to ensure safe offshore operations. Comments will also help BOEM assess potential conflicts between offshore oil and gas operations and Gulf State coastal management programs as required by the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), and develop proposed actions and alternatives as part of environmental review process required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“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 BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “All information submitted will be fully analyzed and considered as we prepare for the upcoming sales.”
The general area of this Call covers approximately 657,905 acres, including a triangular-shaped area south of this area bordered by the Central Planning Area boundary on the West and the Military Mission Line (86º 41’W) on the East. The area is south of eastern Alabama and western Florida; the nearest point of land is 125 miles northwest in Louisiana. For a map of the area, go to: http://www.boem.gov/uploadedFiles/OCS_Lower_48_Strategy_20111104_v1.pdf.
Concurrent with this Call, BOEM will begin preparing an EIS covering the same sales. The NOI initiates the scoping process for this EIS. Throughout the scoping process, federal, state and local government agencies and other interested parties have the opportunity to provide comment for BOEM to use in determining the significant issues and alternatives for analysis in the EIS. The EIS analysis will focus on the potential environmental and socioeconomic effects of oil and natural gas leasing, exploration, development and production in the Eastern Planning Area.
BOEM will hold public scoping meetings in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida on the EIS to solicit comments on its scope. The public scoping meetings will be scheduled at a later date and a Federal Register notice will be published announcing the date, time and location of the meetings.
The Call/NOI is available today through the Federal Register’s website at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html.
Nominations and comments must be received no later than December 20, 2011. Comments on the NOI must be received no later than January 4, 2012, and may be submitted via mail or email to:
· Mail: "Nominations for Proposed 2012-2017 Lease Sales in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico" or "Comments on the Call for Information and Nominations for Proposed 2012-2017 Lease Sales in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico,” Mr. Carrol Williams, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394.
· E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.Please include “Comments on the Call for Proposed 2012-2017 Lease Sales in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico” in the subject line.