Last week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published a revised draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public comment, in compliance with an order from a U.S. District Court, that analyzes the potential environmental effects of a proposed 2022 oil and gas lease sale on the federal submerged lands of Cook Inlet.
A Notice of Availability (NOA) will be posted to the Federal Register’s public inspection website on Oct. 28 and will be published in the Federal Register Oct. 29.
The area identified for the potential sale consists of 224 Outer Continental Shelf blocks toward the northern part of the inlet and covers approximately 1.09 million acres of seafloor, stretching roughly from Kalgin Island in the north to Augustine Island in the south.
The draft EIS analyzes a range of alternatives to be considered for leasing. It also analyzes the leasing area’s important environmental resources and their uses and identifies robust mitigation measures to be considered in leasing the area. In addition, the draft EIS provides estimates of the greenhouse gas emissions and the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions for the range of alternatives – including those associated with shifts in foreign consumption. BOEM seeks feedback on the approach and methodology for estimating these impacts.
The publication of the draft EIS does not indicate that the Department of the Interior has decided to hold the lease sale. Interior will use the findings to inform its decision whether to hold the lease sale.
Publication of the NOA in the Federal Register will initiate a 45-day public comment period, which will close at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Dec. 13. Comments may be submitted via regulations.gov, the federal government’s official commenting website.
BOEM will also host three virtual meetings (all times are Alaska Time):
Tue, Nov. 16. 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Wed, Nov. 17. 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Thu, Nov. 18. 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Comments received will be analyzed and used to inform the preparation of the final EIS. BOEM has been and will remain in close contact with the state of Alaska, as well as local communities, Alaska Native Tribal governments and other stakeholders throughout this process.
For more information on commenting, including a downloadable copy of the draft EIS and a link for accessing the live meetings, go to: www.boem.gov/ak258