BOEM Extends Chukchi Sea Lease Sale Public Comment Period
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) yesterday announced that the public comment period on the recently released Call for Information and Nominations on Proposed Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Sale 237 will be extended to Dec. 3, 2013.
On Sept. 26, 2013, when the bureau published the Call, the public comment period was scheduled to last from Sept. 26 to Nov. 18. However, in light of the federal government shutdown from Oct. 1 through Oct. 16, BOEM is extending the comment period to ensure its partner agencies, industry and the public have adequate time to review the issues and comment.
“The Chukchi Sea has substantial oil and gas potential, but also is a unique and sensitive environment that provides for the subsistence of Alaska Natives living on the North Slopes,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau in September. “Any future leasing in the Chukchi Sea must be focused on areas that can be developed safely and responsible while also protecting sensitive habitats and places that are important to Alaska Native hunters and fishermen.”
Targeted leasing differs significantly from the area-wide leasing model that is appropriate for the Gulf of Mexico, and is designed to result in a more focused leasing configuration that offers areas with the most promising oil and gas resource potential while also protecting environmentally sensitive habitats and important social and cultural uses, including subsistence hunting and fishing activity.
An early step in the offshore oil and gas planning process, the Call does not indicate a final decision about any areas in the Chukchi Sea that may be offered for oil and gas leasing in the future.
The Call is designed to provide BOEM with information about interest in offshore oil and gas leasing by requesting that industry identify specific blocks in the Chukchi Sea Program Area, located in the Arctic off Alaska’s northwest coast, that appear promising for oil and gas exploration and development.
The Call also asks all interested parties for comments and information relevant to BOEM’s analysis of areas for potential leasing, including geological conditions such as bottom hazards; archaeological sites on the seabed or nearshore; multiple uses of the area, including navigation and subsistence; and other socioeconomic, biological or environmental information.
November 14, 2013