The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is initiating an environmental analysis evaluating the impacts of geological and geophysical (G&G) activities on the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and adjacent State waters to the shoreline (excluding estuaries).
As co-lead Agencies, BOEM and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Marine Fisheries Service or “NOAA Fisheries” are proposing the preparation of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The combined Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS and Notice of Scoping appears in today’s Federal Register.
The EIS will evaluate the environmental impacts of G&G activities in Federal and State waters of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) subject to BOEM and NOAA Fisheries’ regulatory authorities. These activities may be proposed over a period of five to 10 years. The proposed project area will encompass BOEM’s Western, Central, and Eastern GOM Planning Areas, as well as adjacent State waters. A draft PEIS is expected to be published in mid 2014.
The EIS will assess the potential environmental impacts associated with G&G activities that include, but are not limited to, deep-penetration and high-resolution seismic surveys, electromagnetic surveys, magnetic surveys, gravity surveys, remote-sensing surveys and geological and geochemical sampling. These activities provide information about the location and extent of oil and gas resources, bottom conditions for oil and gas or renewable energy installations, and suitable locations of sand and gravel used for coastal protection and restoration. State-of-the-practice G&G data and information are required for business decisions in furtherance of exploring for and developing offshore OCS oil and gas resources, assessing sites for offshore renewable energy, and locating marine mineral resources.
BOEM and NMFS will conduct public scoping meetings to solicit input on the scope of the proposed Programmatic EIS. The following meetings are planned:
- Tampa, Florida: Monday, June 10, 2013, Embassy Suites Westshore Tampa Airport Hotel, 555 North Westshore Boulevard, Tampa, Florida 33609; at 6:30 p.m. EDT;
- Fort Walton Beach, Florida: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, 1500 Miracle Strip Parkway, SE, Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548; at 6:30 p.m. CDT;
- Mobile, Alabama: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, Government Plaza, 205 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama 36644; at 6:30 p.m. CDT;
- Gulfport, Mississippi: Thursday, June 13, 2013, Courtyard by Marriott Gulfport Beachfront MS Hotel, 1600 East Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, Mississippi 39501; at 6:30 p.m. CDT;
- Galveston, Texas: Monday, June 17, 2013, Galveston Hilton, 5400 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77551; at 6:30 p.m. CDT;
- New Orleans, Louisiana: Wednesday, June 19, 2013, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123; at 1 p.m. CDT; and
- Silver Spring, Maryland: Thursday, June 20, 2013, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910; at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
The scoping meetings are a part of the planning process that encourages Federal, State, and local government agencies, as well as other interested parties to assist BOEM and NOAA Fisheries in determining significant issues and alternatives for analysis. Comments received will help BOEM and NOAA Fisheries shape the scope of the Programmatic EIS.
If you are unable to attend the meetings, you may submit written comments in one of the following ways:
- Mail or hand deliver in an envelope labeled “Scoping Comments for the Gulf of Mexico G&G Programmatic EIS,” Mr. Gary D. Goeke, Chief, Regional Assessment Section, Office of Environment (GM 623E), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394;
- Through the regulations.gov web portal at http://www.regulations.gov, search for “Geological and Geophysical Exploration Activities on Federal and State Waters of the Gulf of Mexico” (include the quotation marks in your search terms). Click on the “Comment Now!” button and enter your comment, then click “Submit”; or
- Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments should be received within 60 days and specifically address factors related to the scope of the proposed Programmatic EIS. For further information, go to http://www.boem.gov/GOM-G-G-PEIS/.
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