In response to a federal court order, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today released the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193. BOEM prepared the draft SEIS using the best available science, and working in close consultation with Alaska Native tribes, federal partner agencies, state and local governments, stakeholders and the public.
“After a robust and thorough process, BOEM has prepared a Draft Supplemental EIS that addresses the issues identified by the court regarding the Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193,”said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “In the analysis released today, BOEM used a new exploration and development scenario to evaluate the potential environmental effects of oil and gas activities associated with Lease Sale 193. We look forward to receiving additional public input as we continue to take a balanced approach to the safe and responsible energy development in the region.”
BOEM prepared the revised analysis in accordance with the April 24, 2014, remand order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. The original EIS for Lease Sale 193 was published in 2007 and the sale was conducted in 2008. Subsequent legal challenges and federal court decisions remanded the sale back to BOEM for further analysis, specifically related to the agency’s estimates of production levels from likely offshore oil fields that might be developed in the Chukchi Sea. BOEM published a Notice of Intent to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on June 20, 2014.
The analysis in the Draft SEIS issued today uses the best available data – including actual bidding data – to estimate the highest amount of production that could reasonably result from Lease Sale 193. BOEM predicts a higher exploration and production scenario than previous analyses, based on a better understanding about existing geologic structures in the region as well as improved information about where industry operators are likely to focus their development activities.
Earlier this year, Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued a suspension of operations for all Chukchi leases issued in Lease Sale 193, which stops the lease term from running while BOEM completes this supplemental environmental review. The suspension remains in effect until BOEM completes its environmental review, as directed by the court.
The Notice of Availability for the Draft Supplemental EIS will publish in the Federal Register on Friday, Nov. 7, initiating a 45-day public comment period, which will end Monday, Dec. 22. During this time, BOEM will hold seven public hearings in Alaska, will conduct government-to-government consultation meetings with Alaska Native tribes, and will also accept public comments through regulations.gov. The Draft Supplemental EIS is available at: www.boem.gov/ak193/
SCHEDULE FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS (all hearings scheduled for 7 p.m. Alaska time)
- Nov. 17: KOTZEBUE -- NWAB Assembly Chambers
- Nov. 18: POINT HOPE -- Qalgi Center
- Nov. 19: POINT LAY -- Community Center [UPDATE: Canceled due to scheduling conflict]
- Nov. 20: WAINWRIGHT -- R. James Community Center
- Dec. 1: ANCHORAGE [UPDATED 11/5/2014] -- Crowne Plaza Hotel, 109 W International Airport Rd. (This represents a change of venue -- this hearing was originally scheduled to be held at the Loussac Library)
- Dec. 3: BARROW -- Ilisagvik College
- Dec. 4: FAIRBANKS -- Westmark Hotel
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy resources.