NEW ORLEANS — The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) with environmental analysis that will support decision-making concerning oil and gas lease sales scheduled in the Gulf of Mexico over the next five years. The sales are detailed in the Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2012-2017.
The FEIS provides baseline analysis in support of the 10 lease sales scheduled in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico planning areas over the next five years and evaluates baseline conditions and potential environmental effects of oil and natural gas leasing, exploration, development and production in these two areas. BOEM will continue to evaluate new scientific and environmental information over the course of the coming years and to integrate that information in planning for individual lease sales.
“This EIS is a crucial step in supporting our ability to make well-informed, science-based decisions regarding offshore oil and gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico,” said BOEM director Tommy Beaudreau. “The Gulf of Mexico is extremely important to the energy future of the United States, and offshore oil and gas activity there must be done safely and with safeguards for the environment.”
With the Proposed Final OCS Oil & Gas Leasing Program: 2012-2017, BOEM established a Comment, Alternative and Mitigation Tracking Table, specifically to enhance transparency and allow users to track the lineage and treatment of suggestions for areas to be included for leasing, spatial exclusions, temporal deferrals, and/or mitigation addressing all phases of the pre and post lease process. The table will allow commenters to see how and where their concerns are considered, while ensuring that a reasonable concern that is unsuitable for consideration during one phase will be considered at an appropriate subsequent phase.
Additionally, BOEM has created interactive maps containing key information for the five-year, pre- and post-lease decision making processes. The maps will allow the public to view multiple data layers of existing data and afford the opportunity to provide new data to better inform decision-makers.
The proposed final OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2012-2017, released June 28, promotes the diligent development of the nation’s offshore oil and gas resources, which are vital to the nation’s energy security.
The environmental impact statement is available online at: http://www.boem.gov/Environmental-Stewardship/Environmental-Assessment/NEPA/nepaprocess.aspx.
BOEM manages the exploration and development of the nation’s offshore energy resources. The bureau seeks to balance economic development, energy independence, and environmental protection through responsible management of offshore conventional and renewable energy development based on the best available science.