Federal Register: November 14, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 219)
DOCID: FR Doc 06-9192
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Minerals Management Service
ACTION: Environmental statements; availability, etc.:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Revision of 5-Year Leasing Program and Request for Comment.
5-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Programs for 2002-2007 and 2007-2012; OCS Lease Sale 201 and Proposed Lease Sale 205, Central Gulf of Mexico; Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 5-Year Leasing Program for 2007-2012
DATES: MMS is accepting comments regarding this newly proposed change
for the Proposed 5Year OCS Program for 20072012 and accompanying
Draft EIS until December 29, 2006. Note that the comment periods for
the earlier proposed 5Year OCS Program for 20072012 and the Draft EIS
remain the same as previously announced. This new 45day comment period
is for comments associated with the change identified here as a result of the settlement with Louisiana.
On October 24, 2006, the Department of Interior/MMS and the State of Louisiana announced the settlement of the case of Blanco, et al., v. Burton, et al. The District Court approved the settlement and dismissed the case on October 24, 2006. As a result of the settlement agreement, the MMS proposes to expand Lease Sale 205, scheduled in the Proposed 5Year Program for 20072012 and accompanying Draft EIS, from the currently proposed program area (Map 1) to include all available acreage in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area as proposed in the new program for subsequent Central Gulf sales (Map 2). The MMS is providing a 45day comment period to specifically address this proposed change. The earlier comment periods on the Proposed 5Year Program and Draft EIS, remain as announced on August 25, 2006. The comment period on the Program closes on November 24, 2006, and on the Draft EIS on November 22, 2006.
Gulf of Mexico OCS—; Oil and gas leasing; 2007-2012 program,
On July 20, 2006, the State of Louisiana filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana under the Administrative Procedures Act alleging that MMS violated the terms of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the OCS Lands Act. The court denied the State of Louisiana's request to enjoin holding Lease Sale 200 as scheduled on August 16, 2006, and opening the bids or awarding any leases, and set the case for trial on November 13, 2006. Lease Sale 200 was held as scheduled.
The MMS and the State have entered into a Settlement Agreement.
Under this settlement, MMS has agreed to prepare an EIS before
conducting the next sale in the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, MMS is
canceling Lease Sale 201, scheduled for March 2007 in the current 5
year program for 20022007. We also propose to enlarge Lease Sale 205
from that in the proposed 5year program for 20072012, released for
comment on August 25, 2006, to include all of the available acreage
comprising the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, as proposed in the
new program for subsequent Central Gulf sales (Map 2). In effect, this
change simply postpones for several months the estimated effects of
Sale 201. The environmental impacts of this change are not significant beyond the change in timing of the offering.
Dated: November 6, 2006.
R.M. ``Johnnie'' Burton,
Director, Minerals Management Service.
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[FR Doc. 069192 Filed 111306; 8:45 am]
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Ms. Renee Orr, Minerals Management Service, Chief, Leasing Division, at (703) 7871215; or Mr. James Bennett, Chief, Environmental Assessment Branch, at (703) 7871660.