BOEMRE Adds Spill Analysis to Alaska Drilling SEIS

The agency received more than 150,000 comments last fall, many citing the Deepwater Horizon spill, that prompted the added analysis of a very large oil spill in the Chukchi Sea on Alaska's outer continental shelf.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), the Interior Department agency formed after last year's Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, has completed a Revised Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) about oil and gas leases it has sold for drilling in the Chukchi Sea on Alaska's outer continental shelf. BOEMRE says the SEIS now analyzes the impact of a very large oil spill because it received more than 150,000 comments last fall, many citing the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The lease sale took place in February 2008, with 487 leases issued on high bids totaling about $2.6 billion. BOEMRE's predecessor agency had been sued Jan. 31, 2008, in an Alaska federal court, challenging the sale and alleging violations of the NEPA and the Endangered Species Act (Native Village of Point Hope et al., v. Salazar, No. 1:08-cv-00004-RRB).

The Final Supplemental EIS, available at http://alaska.boemre.gov, will be the basis for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to decide whether to affirm, modify, or cancel the lease sale. BOEMRE also will accept public comments until July 11 and will conduct six public hearings in Alaska:

  • Tuesday June 21, Community Center, Kotzebue
  • Wednesday June 22, City Qalgi Center, Point Hope
  • Thursday June 23, Point Lay Community Center, Point Lay
  • Friday June 24, Robert James Community Center, Wainwright
  • Monday June 27, Inupiat Heritage Center, Barrow
  • Wednesday June 29, Wilda Marston Theater, Anchorage

All of the meetings will start at 7 p.m.

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