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BOEM Completes Environmental Study for Western GOM Lease Sale

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) has completed a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 218 in the Western Planning Area in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), the agency said Tuesday.

The draft SEIS updates the findings in several previously published EISs covering the GOM, as well as new analyses using the latest available information following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, BOEM said.

A notice of availability published in the Federal Register includes information on how to submit comments and a schedule of public hearings on the draft SEIS. Comments will be used to prepare the final SEIS for Sale 218.

Public meetings for comment on the draft SEIS are scheduled to be held May 17 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. CDT at the Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental, 18700 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in Houston, and May 19 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the BOEM offices, 1201 Elmwood Park Blvd. in New Orleans.

Comments can also be e-mailed to WPA Supplemental EIS@boemre.gov, or mailed to "Comments on the WPA Draft SEIS," Gary D. Goeke, Chief, Environmental Assessment Section, Leasing and Environment (MS 5410), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70123-2394.

BOEM last month said it was seeking information and nominations regarding proposed oil and gas lease sales in the GOM Western and Central planning areas for the 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program (see Daily GPI, March 16). Ten lease sales were specifically covered by the solicitation, which closed last week: five in the Central GOM Planning Area, offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama; and five in the Western GOM Planning Area, offshore Texas. BOEM also is preparing a multi-sale environmental impact statement covering the same sales.

The House of Representatives is considering legislation (HR 1230) that calls for the federal government to move forward with lease sales in the GOM and offshore Virginia (see Daily GPI, April 14). The Virginia lease sale -- the first one off the East Coast in 30 years -- would be held no later than one year after the bill is signed into law. And it directs Interior to hold three GOM lease sales.

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