BOEM OCS Areas Withdrawn from Leasing
I. Areas Restricted by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006
The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA), P.L. 109-432, establishes restrictions on oil and gas leasing in a portion of the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area and most of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area that will remain in effect through June 30, 2022. See map.
II. Presidential Withdrawals
Under Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. §1341, the President of the United States may, from time to time, withdraw from disposition any of the unleased lands of the Outer Continental Shelf. The existing Presidential withdrawals are as follows:
- Alaska Presidential Withdrawals:
- North Aleutian Basin Planning Area and Bristol Bay; see Presidential Memorandum, dated December 16, 2014.
- Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea Planning Areas; see Presidential Memorandum, dated December 20, 2016.
- Northern Bering Sea Climate Resiliency Area; see Presidential Memorandum, dated January 20, 2021.
- Atlantic Presidential Withdrawals:
- Gulf of Mexico Presidential Withdrawals:
- The portions of the Central Planning Area and Eastern Planning Area that are subject to the restrictions under GOMESA were further withdrawn until June 30, 2032, by Presidential Memorandum, dated September 8, 2020.
III. National Marine Sanctuaries
National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS) may be designated by the Department of Commerce pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA), 16 U.S.C. §§ 1431-1434, 33 U.S.C. 1401 et seq. Pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum issued on July 14, 2008, any national marine sanctuary that was designated prior to that date is withdrawn from disposition from leasing under Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Additionally, rules and regulations governing the designation and management of a specific national marine sanctuary may restrict or prohibit certain activities within that sanctuary, such as leasing, exploration, and production of oil and gas resources. The following national marine sanctuaries have been established under the NMSA and are located in Federal waters:
- Pacific NMS
- American Samoa NMS; see 51 FR 15878; April 29, 1986
- Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale NMS; see 64 FR 66570; November 29, 1999
- Monterey Bay NMS; see 73 FR 70535; November 20, 2008
- Channel Islands NMS; see 74 FR 3260; January 16, 2009
- Olympic Coast NMS; see 60 FR 66877; November 1, 2011
- Cordell Bank NMS; see 80 FR 13115; March 12, 2015
- Greater Farallones NMS; see 80 FR 13108; March 12, 2015
- Atlantic NMS
- Gulf of Mexico NMS
IV. Other Restrictions
- Marine National Monuments
There are five designated Marine National Monuments (MNMs), four in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic. MNMs can be designated through Congressional legislation, or through Presidential Proclamation pursuant to the Antiquities Act, 54 U.S.C. § 320301. Management responsibilities are shared jointly between the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of the Interior. Two designated MNMs specifically prohibit oil and gas leasing and development activities:
- Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument; see Presidential Proclamation dated September 15, 2016.
- Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument; see Presidential Proclamation (June 15, 2006) and Presidential Proclamation (February 28, 2007).
- Santa Barbara Channel Ecological Preserve
The Santa Barbara Channel Ecological Preserve is withdrawn from leasing and is reserved for scientific, recreational, and other similar uses as an ecological preserve pursuant to Public Land Order 4587, dated March 21,1969; see 34 FR 5655.
- Biscayne Bay National Park
Biscayne Bay National Park was established as part of the National Park System under Public Law 96-287 (1980), and a portion of the park extends onto the Outer Continental Shelf. Pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, the park is withdrawn from leasing (30 U.S.C. § 181)