ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- As part of the Trump Administration’s goal of promoting responsible energy development, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today announced its decision regarding an area to be considered for leasing during a proposed 2021 oil and gas lease sale in Cook Inlet, off Alaska’s southcentral coast. Concurrently, BOEM also announced the availability of a draft environmental analysis regarding possible impacts of the proposed sale.
The area identified by BOEM consists of 224 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 Federal submerged lands of Alaska’s Cook Inlet have been shown to hold considerable promise for oil and gas exploration and are in close proximity to existing industry infrastructure,” said Dr. James Kendall, director of BOEM’s Alaska Regional Office. “By publishing this draft EIS, we are looking for input from a wide range of stakeholders that will ultimately help us finalize a thorough environmental analysis.”
The draft environmental analysis, referred to as a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), analyzes a range of alternatives to be considered for leasing. It also analyzes the program area’s important environmental resources and their uses, and identifies robust mitigation measures to be considered in leasing the area.
Once the EIS is finalized, the Department of the Interior will use the findings to inform its decision to hold the lease sale.
BOEM will publish separate Notices of Availability for both documents in the Federal Register’s Reading Room on Thursday, Jan. 14, and in the Federal Register on Friday, Jan. 15.
How to Comment
The Jan. 15 publications will initiate a 45-day public comment period on the draft EIS, which will close Monday, March 1. During this time, BOEM will provide more information, supporting documents, and instructions for commenting via a Virtual Meeting Room at www.boem.gov/CookInlet2021. Three virtual meetings, accessible via the same URL, will be held, respectively, on Feb. 9 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; on Feb. 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and on Feb. 11 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (all times Alaska Time).
Comments received will be analyzed and used to inform the preparation of the final EIS.
In September 2020, BOEM issued a Call for Information and Nominations seeking input from industry to determine interest in oil and gas exploration in the Federal submerged lands of Cook Inlet. Concurrently, BOEM published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS and opened a scoping period lasting through mid-October 2020. The input received during that scoping period was used to inform the draft EIS published today. Comments to the Call and NOI can be obtained by going to regulations.gov and searching for docket BOEM-2020-0018.
BOEM has been and will remain in close coordination with the State of Alaska, as well as with local communities, Alaska Native tribal governments, and other stakeholders throughout this process.
For more information, including a downloadable copy of the draft EIS and the Area Identification Decision, see: www.boem.gov/CookInlet2021
-- BOEM –
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for America’s offshore energy and mineral resources. The bureau promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of energy and mineral resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.