BOEM releases draft EIS for possible Cook Inlet lease sale

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a draft environmental impact statement for a potential oil and gas lease sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. The sale currently is scheduled for June 2017, the US Department of the Interior agency said.

A notice of the draft EIS’s availability was scheduled to appear in the Federal Register on July 22, opening a 45-day comment period ending on Sept. 6, BOEM said in its July 15 announcement. Public meetings also will be held in Anchorage on Aug. 15, Homer on Aug. 17, and Kenai-Soldotna on Aug. 18, it indicated.

BOEM said that the draft EIS analyzes important environmental uses and resources within the inlet off Alaska’s southcentral coast. These include sea otter and beluga whale populations, human subsistence activities, and commercial salmon and Pacific halibut fishing. The draft EIS also analyzes a range of alternatives which will be considered.

Specifically, the area identified for the potential OCS Sale No. 244 is close to existing leases in state waters, avoids nearly all of the areas designated as critical habitat for the beluga whale and northern sea otter, avoids the critical area for the Stellar sea line, and excludes much of the subsistence-use area for the Alaska Native villages, BOEM said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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