The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) is seeking information and nominations regarding proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Western and Central Planning Areas for the 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program.

BOEM will analyze information received to identify and evaluate areas with potential for oil and gas development, as well as determine possible environmental effects and potential conflicts in the area. The solicitation is in addition to the information collected through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process.

Comments will be used to develop lease terms and conditions to ensure safe offshore operations. Comments will also be used to assess potential conflicts between offshore oil and gas exploration and development operations and state coastal management programs, and to develop actions and alternatives in the NEPA review process.

"This early planning and consultation step, in addition to the NEPA-related reviews we are conducting, will ensure that all interests and concerns are communicated to us and are appropriately considered in decisions regarding the leasing process," said BOEM Director Michael R. Bromwich. "All area nominations as well as any information submitted will be fully analyzed and considered as we prepare for the next five-year program."

Ten lease sales are specifically covered by the solicitation: five in the Central Gulf of Mexico (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 Central GOM Planning Area consists of 66.45 million acres, of which 40.85 million are unleased. The Western GOM Planning Area consists of 28.58 million acres, of which 19.45 million acres are unleased.

Nominations and comments must be received by April 14 via:

A map outlining available blocks and those excluded is available, as is the call for nominations and comments.

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