The U.S. Department of the Interior has issued a Record of Decision affirming Chukchi Sea OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193 and the remaining oil and gas leases issued in 2008 as a result of the sale. Interior’s press release states in part:
“Upon issuance of the Record of Decision, BOEM may begin formal review of a company’s exploration plan for the Chukchi Sea, which includes public engagement and additional environmental analyses. BOEM, BSEE and other Federal agencies will need to review and approve activities before any exploration activity can occur.
The original Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Lease Sale 193 was published in 2007 but subsequent legal challenges and Federal court decisions remanded the lease sale back to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for further analysis. The most recent court decision, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, specifically addressed BOEM’s estimates of production levels from OCS oil fields that might be discovered in the Chukchi Sea.
In response to the court remand, BOEM conducted additional analysis using the best available data to estimate the highest amount of production that could reasonably result from Lease Sale 193 and incorporated that information into a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) that was published in February 2015. The Department issued today’s decision after studying the information compiled in the SEIS and analyzing all comments received.”
“Upon the Ninth Circuit court remand in January 2014, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement suspended all leases issued via Lease Sale 193. With today’s decision these suspensions are lifted.”
Click here to read entire press release.