ANCHORAGE, Alaska – In response to a federal court order, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released a draft of the supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193.
BOEM has prepared a draft SEIS that addresses the issues identified by the court regarding the Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193, said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “In the analysis … BOEM used a new exploration and development scenario to evaluate the potential environmental effects of oil and gas activities associated with Lease Sale 193. We look forward to receiving additional public input as we continue to take a balanced approach to the safe and responsible energy development in the region.”
BOEM prepared the revised analysis in accordance with the April 24 remand order of the US District Court for the District of Alaska. The original EIS for Lease Sale 193 was published in 2007 and the sale was conducted in 2008. Subsequent legal challenges and federal court decisions remanded the sale back to BOEM for further analysis, specifically related to the agency’s estimates of production levels from likely offshore oil fields that might be developed in the Chukchi Sea. BOEM published a notice of intent to prepare an SEIS on June 20.
Earlier this year, the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued a suspension of operations for all Chukchi leases issued in Lease Sale 193, which stops the lease term from running while BOEM completes this supplemental environmental review. The suspension remains in effect until BOEM completes its environmental review, as directed by the court.
The notice of availability for the draft SEIS will publish in the Federal Register on Nov. 7, initiating a 45-day public comment period, which will end Monday, Dec. 22. During this time, BOEM will hold seven public hearings in Alaska, will conduct government-to-government consultation meetings with Alaska Native tribes, and will also accept public comments.