Public Comment Sought on New Oil and Gas Leases in Gulf

 

Over the next five years, the U.S. government will grant new leases for oil and gas exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico. The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) held a public hearing on May 19 in Mobile, Alabama. Four representatives of 350 Pensacola attended the informational session.

Click here to read and download the Executive Summary of the proposed Oil and Gas leases based on the Environmental Impact Statements: www.boem.gov_2017-2022-GOM-Multisale_EIS-V2

The Gulf Multisale Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and NEPA process for proposed leases from 2017 – 2022 were exhibited and presented in a video, and informational displays with BOEM representatives to answer questions were available.

POSSIBLE ACTION

The public can suggest to the BOEM through public comments that a 100-mile moratorium on new oil or gas leases be established along Gulf coastal waters  from Texas to the southern tip of Florida on the western Gulf. The rationale for that plan would be that most of the shallower oil and gas deposits have already been explored and drilled. In this way, citizens can act to protect coastal waters from exposure to spills and other production consequences along the entire Gulf coast.

FLORIDA WATERS

There is currently a 125-mile moratorium on oil and gas drilling in Gulf waters off the coat of Florida until 2022 introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (FL). However,  a bill introduced by Senator Bill Cassidy ( LA) in 2015 would end the ban by 2018 and provides financial incentives to FL from oil and gas production. Senator Bill Nelson has opposed this calling on Congress and the state of Florida to maintain the current 125 mile moratorium for its full time period.

FACTS TO CONSIDER

  • There are currently about 4300 active oil and gas leases in the Gulf, and 27,000 inactive and abandoned sites.
  • Pensacola and the Panhandle coastal states could be subject to oil and gas production if another law enforced on current holders of active leases in the Eastern Area of the Gulf were removed. That is a 3-month limit on oil and gas activities by any current lease holder. This slows down the path to production but it also extends the lease for many decades because an 8-year lease contains 96 months. A lot can change during 32 years in terms of changes in laws and regulations;
  • The largest natural gas deposit in the Gulf of Mexico is located off the Pensacola coastline making the region highly vulnerable if the area were to be opened up for unrestricted oil and gas drilling.

Members of the public can comment in a number of ways:

1) Email multisaleeis2017-2022@boem.gov;

2) submit comments online at http://www.regulations.gov; search for “2017-2022 GOM Multisale EIS”; click on “Comment Now”; enter comments and then click “Submit”; or

3) mail comments as below.

Address Envelope to:

Comments on the 2017 – 2022 Multisale EIS;
Environmental Assessment Section
Office of Environment (GM 623E)
12-1 Elmwood Park Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394

 

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