BOEM Solicits Comments on Proposed Oil and Gas Lease Sales in the Gulf of Mexico’s Eastern Planning Area

Public Scoping Meetings Scheduled

03-19-2012 New Orleans

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today announced that it will open a comment period and hold a series of public scoping meetings to gather information to be used in preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for two proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico’s Eastern Planning Area. As the President discussed in his State of the Union address, BOEM has issued a Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012 – 2017 that would make more than 75 percent of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas estimated on the OCS available for development. The Proposed Program schedules two sales (Lease Sales 225 and 226) in the Eastern Planning Area.

“BOEM will use this information to help determine the scope of the issues to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement, and to identify and evaluate potential environmental effects related to the proposed sales,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau.

The area for the proposed sales includes 657,905 acres that are more than 125 miles offshore Alabama and Florida, where there are currently active leases and where there is known or anticipated hydrocarbon potential. Other areas in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico — including the Straits of Florida — are not included in the proposed five-year leasing program because they are under a congressionally-mandated leasing moratorium until June 30, 2022. For a map of the area, go to: http://www.boem.gov/uploadedFiles/OCS_Lower_48_Strategy_20111104_v1.pdf.   

Planning for an Environmental Impact Statement relating to these potential lease sales does not constitute a final decision about their inclusion in the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012 – 2017. 

As part of the scoping process, the public is invited to comment during meetings to be held at the following places and times:

  • April 3, 2012, at 1:00 pm (EDT) at Tallahassee Community College,444 Appleyard Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32304
  • April 4, 2012, at 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm (CDT) at Wyndham Bay PointResort, 4114 Jan Cooley Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32408
  • April 5, 2012, at 1:00 pm (CDT) at Five River’s Delta Resource Center,30945 Five Rivers Boulevard, Spanish Fort, AL 36527  
  • April 9, 2012, at 1:00 pm (CDT) at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 1201 Elmwood Park Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70123

The announcement is available today through the Federal Register’s website at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html.

In lieu of participation in the meetings, the public may submit comments via email at boemegomeis@BOEM.gov or in writing addressed to:

“Scoping for Proposed EPA Lease Sales 225 and 226” 
Mr. Gary D. Goeke, Chief Regional Assessment Section 
Office of Environment (MS 5410) 
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 
Gulf of Mexico OCS Region 
1201 Elmwood Park Blvd. 
New Orleans LA 70123-2394 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management manages the exploration and development of the nation's offshore energy and mineral resources. The bureau seeks to balance economic development, energy production, and environmental protection through oil and gas leasing, renewable energy development, and environmental reviews and studies.