BOEM OCS Areas Withdrawn from Leasing
I. 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:
- Chukchi Sea and a Portion of Beaufort Sea Planning Areas; see Presidential Memorandum, dated December 20, 2016.
- North Aleutian Basin Planning Area; see Presidential Memorandum, dated December 16, 2014.
- Northern Bering Sea Climate Resiliency Area; see Presidential Memorandum, dated December 9, 2016, and Executive Order 13990, dated January 20, 2021.
- Remaining Portion of Beaufort Sea Planning Area; see Presidential Memorandum, dated March 13, 2023.
- Atlantic Presidential Withdrawals:
- Gulf of Mexico Presidential Withdrawals:
- Portions of the Central and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas (area formerly designated by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act); see Presidential Memorandum, dated September 8, 2020.
II. Acts of Congress
- Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA; see Pub. L 117-169, August 16, 2022)
- Offshore Wind for U.S. Territories. Section 50251(b) of the Inflation Reduction Act amends definitions of the OCS in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to include specified submerged lands adjacent to U.S. territories. The IRA directs the Secretary of the Interior to issue calls for interest in offshore wind leasing off territorial coasts and authorizes wind lease sales in areas deemed feasible and of sufficient interest, after the Secretary has consulted with the territorial governor.
- Wind Leasing in the Mid- to South Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. On September 8 and September 25, 2020, President Trump used his authority under Section 12(a) of OCSLA to withdraw from leasing disposition—from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2032—areas off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida in the Atlantic and off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Section 50251(a) of the IRA authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to issue renewable energy leases, easements, and rights of-way in these areas despite the presidential withdrawal. Oil and gas leasing remains prohibited in these areas.
- Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006
The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA, P.L. 109-432) established 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 and remained in effect through June 30, 2022. The September 8, 2020, Presidential Memorandum withdrew this area from leasing through June 30, 2032.
- National Marine Sanctuaries
National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS) may be designated by the Department of Commerce pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA, see 16 U.S.C. §§ 1431 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 OCSLA. 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
- Pacific NMS
III. Other Restrictions
- Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), signed into law December 2, 1980, created the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge by combining the Clarence Rhode National Wildlife Range, Hazen Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Nunivak Island National Wildlife Refuge, and lands withdrawn under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act on February 11, 1980. A portion of the refuge extends into Federal waters.
- Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
President William H. Taft established the Aleutian Islands Reservation in 1913 (Executive Order 1733) as a breeding ground for native birds, propagation of reindeer and furbearers, and encouragement and development of fisheries. The Aleutian Islands Reservation was later renamed the Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and then, in 1980 with passage of the ANILCA, the refuge became the Aleutian Islands Unit of the newly created Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The act outlined five major purposes for this new refuge, with a primary purpose of conserving fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity. A portion of the refuge extends into Federal waters.
- Navassa Island National Wildlife Refuge
The Island of Navassa became a U.S. insular area in October 1857, pursuant to the Guano Act of August 18, 1856 (Title 48, U.S. Code, sections 1411-19). On September 2, 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Navassa Island Wildlife Refuge. As of December 3, 1999, the Office of Insular Affairs ceased to have any administrative responsibility for Navassa. A Secretary's order of that date transferred full administration of Navassa from the Office of Insular Affairs to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- 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 into Federal waters on the OCS. Pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, the park is withdrawn from leasing (30 U.S.C. § 181).
- 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. These five designated MNMs specifically prohibit oil and gas leasing and development activities:
- Marianas Trench Marine National Monument; see Presidential Proclamation 8335 dated January 12, 2009.
- Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument; see Presidential Proclamation dated September 15, 2016.
- Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument; see Presidential Proclamation 8336 dated January 12, 2009, and Presidential Proclamation 9173 dated September 25, 2014.
- Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument; see Presidential Proclamation 8031 dated June 15, 2006, and the amended Presidential Proclamation 8031 dated February 28, 2007.
- Rose Atoll Marine National Monument; see Presidential Proclamation 8337 dated January 6, 2009.
- Phillip Burton Wilderness Buffer Zone
Leases for exploration, development, or production activities are not permitted within 15 miles of the boundaries of the Phillip Burton Wilderness Area pursuant to 2021 43 U.S.C. §1341(h).
- Santa Barbara Channel Ecological Preserve and Buffer Zone
The Santa Barbara Channel Ecological Preserve and a buffer of submerged lands adjacent to the 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.