The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced that it will hold a series of public scoping meetings in February 2011 on the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the proposed 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
On December 1, 2010, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced an updated oil and gas leasing strategy for the OCS and identified the areas that would be considered for environmental scoping for the 2012 – 2017 program. The final PEIS will cover areas in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico along with a small portion of the Eastern Gulf that was set aside by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act for Lease Sale 224. Additional areas to be considered are Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and Cook Inlet.
"As we look to the future and identify areas to offer for oil and gas development under the next five year program, we will make decisions based upon the best scientific information available," BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich said. "We strongly encourage public participation in this process to ensure we are reviewing all of the relevant and important information about these areas. This PEIS will inform our decisions on when and where to offer leases and will help identify specific requirements that may be needed to ensure potential risks to the environment are appropriately managed and mitigated."
During the meetings in the Gulf of Mexico region, BOEMRE will also accept public comments on a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement being completed for the remaining Central and Western Gulf of Mexico lease sales under the current Five Year Program, which expires in 2012.
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