Request for Comments on the Proposed 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007-2012, 50457-50463 [06-7128]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 165 / Friday, August 25, 2006 / Notices Classification Comments: Interested parties may submit comments regarding the suitability of the land for inclusion into the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area. Comments on the classification are restricted to whether the land is physically suited for the proposal, whether the use will maximize the future use or uses of the land, whether the use is consistent with local planning and zoning, or if the use is consistent with State and Federal programs. Application Comments: Interested parties may submit comments regarding the specific use proposed in the application and plan of development, whether the BLM followed proper administrative procedures in reaching the decision, or any factor not directly related to the suitability of the lands for inclusion in the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area. Comments, including names, street addresses and other contact information of respondents, will be available for public review. Individual respondents may request confidentiality. If you wish to request that the BLM consider withholding your name, street address and other contact information (such as: FAX or phone number) from public review or from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. The BLM will honor requests for confidentiality on a case-bycase basis to the extent allowed by law. The BLM will make available for public inspection all submissions in their entirety from organizations or businesses and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses. Any adverse comments will be reviewed by the State Director who may sustain, vacate, or modify this realty action. In the absence of any adverse comments, classification will become effective on October 24, 2006. The lands will not be offered for conveyance until after the classification becomes effective. cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Authority: 43 CFR 2741.5 Dated: July 6, 2006. Larry Frazier, Associate District Manager, Vale District. [FR Doc. E6–14093 Filed 8–24–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–33–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:57 Aug 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Minerals Management Service Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement Minerals Management Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2007–2012. AGENCY: Comments will be accepted until November 22, 2006. ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any one of several methods. You may comment electronically using MMS’s Public Connect online commenting system at http://ocsconnect.mms.gov. This is the preferred method for commenting. From the Public Connect ‘‘Welcome’’ screen, search for ‘‘5-Year Programmatic EIS 2007–2012’’ or select it from the ‘‘Projects Open for Comment’’ menu. You may also mail comments to: 5-Yr DEIS, Attention: Mr. James F. Bennett, Chief, Branch of Environmental Assessment, 381 Elden Street, Mail Stop 4042, Herndon, Virginia 20170–4817. Finally, you may hand-deliver comments to the Department of the Interior, Main Interior Building, 1849 C Street, NW., Room 4227, Washington, DC 20240. Envelopes or packages must be marked ‘‘2007– 2012 Oil and Gas Program Draft Environmental Impact Statement’’. Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their names and/or home addresses, but if you wish us to consider withholding this information you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. In addition, you must present a rationale for withholding this information. This rationale must demonstrate that disclosure ‘‘would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.’’ Unsupported assertions will not meet this burden. In the absence of exceptional, documentable circumstances, this information will be released. We will not consider anonymous comments. We will always make submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James F. Bennett, Minerals Management DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 50457 Service, Chief, Branch of Environmental Assessment, at (703) 787–1660. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Draft Environmental Impact Statement may be found on the Internet at http:// www.mms.gov/5-year/. A limited number of individual copies of the Draft EIS may be obtained from the above contact. Please specify if you wish CD or paper copy. If neither is specified, a CD containing the Draft EIS will be forwarded. In accordance with 30 CFR 256.2(b), public hearings related to the draft EIS will be held in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Alaska Regions. The exact dates, times, and locations of the hearings will be announced by Federal Register notice in the near future. Library Availability: To learn which libraries in Alaska have copies of the draft EIS, contact the Alaska OCS Region, Minerals Management Service, 949 East 36th Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska 99508–4363, telephone 1–800– 764–2627 or (907) 271–6438. On the Pacific coast contact the Pacific OCS Region, Minerals Management Service, 770 Paseo Camarillo, Camarillo, California 93010–6064, telephone (805) 389–7520. For availability of the draft EIS along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts contact the Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, Minerals Management Service, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123–2394, telephone (504) 736–2595. Information on the availability of the Draft EIS can also be obtained from the Minerals Management Service. Contact Mr. James F. Bennett. The list of libraries and their locations is also available on the MMS Home page on the Internet at http://www.mms.gov/ library/. After the public hearing testimony and written comments on the Draft EIS have been reviewed and analyzed, a Final EIS will be prepared. Dated: August 15, 2006. Willie R. Taylor, Director, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance. [FR Doc. E6–14073 Filed 8–24–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–MR–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Minerals Management Service Request for Comments on the Proposed 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007–2012 AGENCY: Minerals Management Service, Interior. E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 50458 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 165 / Friday, August 25, 2006 / Notices Request for Comments on the Proposed 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007–2012 ACTION: SUMMARY: The Minerals Management Service requests comments on the Proposed 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007–2012. This is the second draft of a new program to succeed the current program that expires on June 30, 2007. The first proposal—the draft proposed program— was issued in February for a 60-day comment period that closed on April 11, 2006. Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1344) specifies a multi-step process of consultation and analysis that must be completed before the Secretary of the Interior may approve a new 5-year program. The required steps following this notice include the development of a proposed final program and Secretarial approval. Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the MMS also will publish a Final EIS for the new 5-year program. DATES: Please submit comments and information to the MMS no later than November 24, 2006. Public Comment Procedure The MMS will accept comments in one of two formats: by mail or our Internet commenting system. Please submit your comments using only one of these formats, and include full names and addresses. Comments submitted by other means may not be considered. We will not consider anonymous comments, and we will make available for inspection in their entirety all comments submitted by organizations and businesses or by individuals identifying themselves as representatives of organizations and businesses. Our practice is to make comments, including the names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review. An individual commenter may ask that we withhold his or her name, home address, or both from the public record, and we will honor such a request to the extent allowable by law. If you submit comments and wish us to withhold such information, you must so state prominently at the beginning of your submission. Mail comments and information to: Renee Orr, 5-Year Program Manager, Minerals Management Service (MS–4010), Room 3120, 381 Elden Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170. Please label your comments and the packaging in which they are submitted according to the cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES ADDRESSES: VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:57 Aug 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 subject matter. Mark those pertaining to program preparation, ‘‘Comments on Draft Proposed 5-Year Program for 2007–2012,’’ and mark those pertaining to EIS preparation, ‘‘Comments on the Draft EIS for the 5-Year Program for 2007–2012.’’ If you submit any privileged or proprietary information to be treated as confidential, please mark the envelope, ‘‘Contains Confidential Information.’’ Internet: The MMS will accept comments submitted to our electronic commenting system. This system can be accessed at http://www.mms.gov/5-year/ 2007–2012main.htm. We also will provide access to information concerning the 5-year program and EIS, including copies of comments we receive in response to this notice, at the MMS Internet Web site (http:// www.mms.gov). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Renee Orr, 5-Year Program Manager, at (703) 787–1215. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1344) specifies a multi-step process of consultation and analysis that must be completed before the Secretary of the Interior may approve a new 5-year program. The required steps following this notice include the development of a proposed final program to be submitted to the Congress and the President, with Secretarial approval of a new program no sooner than 60 days afterward. Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, the MMS also is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the new 5year program. The draft EIS is being issued with this proposed program and a final EIS will be issued with the proposed final program. The MMS requests comments from states, local governments, native groups, tribes, the oil and gas industry, Federal agencies, environmental and other interest organizations, and all other interested parties, including the public to assist in the preparation of a 5-Year OCS oil and gas leasing program for 2007–2012 and applicable EIS. The proposed program document may be downloaded off the MMS Web site at http://www.mms.gov. The document also is available as part of our electronic commenting system noted above. Hard copies will be made available by contacting the 5-Year Program Office at 703–787–1215. Background Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to prepare and maintain a schedule of proposed OCS oil and gas lease sales PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 determined to ‘‘best meet national energy needs for the 5-year period following its approval or reapproval.’’ Summary of the Proposed Program In developing the proposed program for 2007–2012, the MMS carries forward the same proposed schedule of lease sales as contained in the draft proposed program published in February 2006, with modifications in four areas as detailed below. Some of these areas are currently withdrawn from disposition by leasing through June 30, 2012, under section 12 of the OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1341) and have been subject to annual congressional moratoria. There will be no leasing of such areas unless the Presidential withdrawal is modified and Congress discontinues the annual statutory moratoria. The comments received and the analyses conducted for this proposed program may provide the information necessary for a potential modification of the withdrawal areas. The areas identified as proposed program areas in this notice are ones that warrant further study and analysis based on oil and gas resource estimates and comments received in response to the draft proposed program published in February of this year. Continued inclusion of areas in the proposed lease sale schedule provides a basis for gathering information and conducting analyses to inform policy makers whether to include these areas for leasing consideration in the new 5year program. The program proposes sales in offshore areas that have the highest oil and gas resource values and highest industry interest, or areas that are currently under leasing restrictions and are off the coasts of states that have expressed interest in learning more about the energy potential offshore their coasts. The proposed schedule is responsive to the recommendations of affected state and local governments. The proposed program schedules a total of 21 OCS lease sales in 7 areas (4 areas off Alaska, 2 areas in the Gulf of Mexico, and 1 area in the Atlantic). Maps A and B show the areas proposed for leasing. Table A lists the location and timing of the proposed lease sales in areas that are available for leasing consideration, i.e., not withdrawn or subject to congressional moratoria. Table B lists the location and timing of the proposed lease sales in areas that are withdrawn and/or subject to moratoria. Alaska Region In the Alaska Region, the program proposes multiple lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and North Aleutian Basin Planning Areas, which are three areas of interest to Alaska, the E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 50459 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 165 / Friday, August 25, 2006 / Notices cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES MMS, and the oil and gas industry. Multiple sales are consistent with the Governor of Alaska’s recommendations. The North Aleutian Basin Planning Area is currently withdrawn by presidential order under section 12 of the OCS Lands Act. Two of these areas are modified from the draft proposed program. In the Chukchi Sea, the proposed program removes from leasing consideration, a 25-mile buffer area along the coast, as there is no existing oil and gas activity in the area and the State has made no request to include leasing closer to shore. For the North Aleutian Basin, in response to comments from the Governor and the vast majority of the local governments and tribal organizations, this program proposes sales only in the area offered in Sale 92 held in 1985. With that limitation of the area to be offered, the Governor of Alaska requested ‘‘that the President lift the withdrawal of the North Aleutian Basin planning area from the leasing program, and allow the scheduling of lease sales in the Sale 92 area in the 2007–2012 program.’’ Therefore, the North Aleutian Basin is included. The Cook Inlet Planning Area is included on the schedule as a special interest sale. The sales are proposed for 2009 and 2011, but before the MMS proceeds, it will issue a request for nominations and comments and will move forward only if environmentally acceptable blocks are nominated by industry. If this does not occur, the sale will likely be postponed and a request for nominations and comments may be issued again the following year and so on through the 5-year schedule until the sale is held or the schedule expires. Gulf of Mexico Region In the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas, which remain the two areas of highest resource potential and interest, the proposed program is the same as that of the draft proposed program with the exception of the exclusion of a small area in the Central Gulf that is east of the military line (86° W 41′ N). The program continues to schedule annual areawide lease sales, as has been the customary practice, and proposes a sale in 2007 of a portion of the area that was identified for Sale 181 in the 5-year program for 1997–2002. As a result of the reconfiguration of some planning areas to follow new administrative lines, some of the areas formerly included in the Eastern and Western Gulf Planning Area are now part of the Central Gulf Planning Area. There are no lease sales scheduled in the Eastern Gulf Planning Area. The original Sale 181 area is not VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:57 Aug 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 under presidential withdrawal and has not been subject to congressional moratoria. In addition, the area being considered for leasing will not include the area within 100 miles of the Florida coast that used to be part of the Eastern Gulf Planning Area. This will respect the commitment made earlier by the Secretary. In the August 2005 Request for Information, then Secretary Norton stated that she ‘‘had no intention of offering for leasing areas in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area within 100 miles of the coast of the State of Florida.’’ Subsequent annual Central Gulf sales may include the area to the south of the Sale 181 area that is currently under presidential withdrawal and has been subject to annual congressional moratoria. In addition, pursuant to Section 19 of the OCS Lands Act, no sale will be proposed until all affected states have the opportunity to comment. Atlantic OCS Frm 00077 Sale No. Area 204 .............. Western Gulf of Mexico. Central Gulf of Mexico. Chukchi Sea ........ Central Gulf of Mexico. Western Gulf of Mexico. Central Gulf of Mexico. Beaufort Sea ....... Western Gulf of Mexico. Cook Inlet ............ Chukchi Sea ........ Central Gulf of Mexico. Western Gulf of Mexico. Central Gulf of Mexico. Beaufort Sea ....... Western Gulf of Mexico. Cook Inlet ............ Chukchi Sea ........ Central Gulf of Mexico. 205 .............. 193 .............. 206 .............. 207 .............. 208 .............. 209 .............. 210 .............. 211 .............. 212 .............. 213 .............. 215 .............. 216 .............. 217 .............. 218 .............. There are four planning areas in the Atlantic OCS—North Atlantic, MidAtlantic, South Atlantic, and Straits of Florida. As in the draft proposed program, the proposed program proposes a special interest sale in the Mid-Atlantic in late 2011, which may proceed based on comments received in response to the call for information and depends on whether the presidential withdrawal is lifted and the congressional moratorium is discontinued. The area proposed for consideration is in the Mid-Atlantic Planning Area off the coastline of Virginia. Inclusion of this area in the proposed program will allow the gathering of additional information needed to decide whether to include this area in the proposed final program. As in the Chukchi Sea, the proposed program area includes a 25-mile buffer from leasing consideration as there is no existing oil and gas activity in the area and the State has made no request to include leasing closer to shore. In addition, there is no leasing proposed in a wedge-shaped NoObstruction Zone, to protect navigation activities in and out of the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, pursuant to section 19 of the OCS Lands Act, no sale will be proposed until all affected states have the opportunity to comment. This area is also under presidential withdrawal under section 12 and has been subject to congressional moratoria. PO 00000 TABLE A: DRAFT PROPOSED PROGRAM FOR 2007–2012—LEASE SALE SCHEDULE FOR AVAILABLE AREAS Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 219 .............. 221 .............. 222 .............. Year 2007 2007 2007 2008 2008 2009 2009 2009 2009 2010 2010 2010 2011 2011 2011 2011 2012 2012 TABLE B: DRAFT PROPOSED PROGRAM FOR 2007–2012—POTENTIAL LEASE SALE SCHEDULE FOR AREAS SUBJECT TO RESTRICTIONS* Sale No. Area 214 .............. North Aleutian Basin. Mid-Atlantic ......... North Aleutian Basin. 220 .............. 223 .............. Year 2010 2011 2012 * Lease sales would only be held if the President chooses to modify the withdrawal in both areas and Congress discontinues the annual appropriations moratorium in the MidAtlantic. Assurance of Fair Market Value Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act requires receipt of fair market value for OCS oil and gas leases and the rights they convey. The proposed program carries forward the provisions published in the draft proposed program: setting minimum bid levels by individual lease sale based on market conditions and continuing use of a two-phase bid evaluation process. Information Requested We request all interested and affected parties to comment on the size, timing, and location of leasing and the procedures for assuring fair market value that are included in the Proposed E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 50460 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 165 / Friday, August 25, 2006 / Notices cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007–2012. Respondents who submitted information in response to previous requests for comments on the preparation of this 5-year program may wish to reference that information, as appropriate, rather than repeating it in their comments on the proposed program. We also invite comments and suggestions on how to proceed with the section 18 analysis for the proposed final program. Section 18(g) authorizes confidential treatment of privileged or proprietary VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:57 Aug 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 information that is submitted. In order to protect the confidentiality of such information, respondents should include it as an attachment to other comments submitted and mark it appropriately. On request, the MMS will treat such information as confidential from the time of its receipt until 5 years after approval of the new leasing program, subject to the standards of the Freedom of Information Act. MMS will not treat as confidential any aggregate summaries of such information, the PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 names of respondents, and comments not containing such information. Next Steps in the Process MMS plans to issue the proposed final program and final EIS in the spring of 2007. Sixty days later, the Secretary may approve the new 5-year program to go into effect as of July 1, 2007. Dated: August 21, 2006. R. M. ‘‘Johnnie’’ Burton, Director, Minerals Management Service. BILLING CODE 4310–MR–P E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:57 Aug 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 50461 ER25AU06.108</GPH> cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 165 / Friday, August 25, 2006 / Notices VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 165 / Friday, August 25, 2006 / Notices 14:57 Aug 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 ER25AU06.109</GPH> cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES 50462 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 165 / Friday, August 25, 2006 / Notices [FR Doc. 06–7128 Filed 8–24–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–MR–C DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service Plan of Operations and Environmental Assessment for the Wilson Well No. 1 by Kindee Oil and Gas Texas, LLC, Padre Island National Seashore, TX National Park Service, Department of the Interior. ACTION: Notice of Availability of a Plan of Operations and Environmental Assessment for the Wilson Well No. 1 by Kindee Oil and Gas Texas, LLC, Padre Island National Seashore. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given in accordance with § 9.52(b) of Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 9, subpart B, of a Plan of Operations submitted by Kindee Oil and Gas Texas, LLC, for the Wilson Well No. 1 in Padre Island National Seashore, Kenedy County, Texas. Additionally, the NPS has prepared an Environmental Assessment for this proposal. DATES: The above documents are available for pubic review and comment for September 25, 2006. ADDRESSES: The Plan of Operations and Environmental Assessment are available for public review and comment in the Office of the Superintendent, Colin Campbell, Padre Island National Seashore, 20301 Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, Texas 78480. The documents are also available at the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) Web site at http:// parkplanning.nps.gov. SUMMARY: Mr. Darrell Echols, Chief, Division of Science and Resources Management, Padre Island National Seashore, P.O. Box 181300, Corpus Christi, Texas 78480–1300, Telephone: 361–949–8173, ext. 223, e-mail at Darrell_Echols@nps.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you wish to comment on the environmental assessment, you may mail comments to the name and address above, handdeliver them to the street address provided above, or post comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/. This environmental assessment will be on public review for 30 days. Our practice is to make comments, including names, home addresses, home phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of respondents, available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their names cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:57 Aug 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 and/or home addresses, etc., but if you wish us to consider withholding this information you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. In addition, you must present a rationale for withholding this information. This rationale must demonstrate that disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy. Unsupported assertions will not meet this burden. In the absence of exceptional, documentable circumstances, this information will be released. We will always make submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives of or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. Dated: July 7, 2006. Anthony J. Schetzsle, Acting Director, Intermountain Region. [FR Doc. E6–14148 Filed 8–24–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–CD–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related Actions 50463 Architecture MPS), Kauffman Rd., Stuttgart, 06000834. Bradley County Wilson—Martin House, 511 Bond St., Warren, 06000827 Chicot County Fregory Dipping Vat, (Dip That Tick:Texas Tick Fever Eradication in Arkansas MPS) 122 Rogers Rd., Lake Village, 06000830 Clark County Young, W.H., House, 316 Meador Ln., Arkadelphia, 06000842 Conway County Seven Hollows—Petit Jean Mountain Site #1, (Rock Art Sites in Arkansas TR) Address Restricted, Winrock, 06000833 Lonoke County Memphis to Little Rock Road—Bayou Two Prairie Segment, (Cherokee Trail of Tears MPS) Address Resticted, Brownsville, 06000836 Nevada County Moscow Methodist Church and Cemetery, Jct. of AR 23 and AR 260, Prescott, 06000826 Pope County Archeological site 3PP141, (Rock Art Sites in Arkansas TR) Address Restricted, Atkins, 06000837 Archeological site 3PP142, (Rock Art Sites in Arkansas TR) Address Restricted, Atkins, 06000839 Nominations for the following properties being considered for listing or related actions in the National Register were received by the National Park Service before August 12, 2006. Pursuant to § 60.13 of 36 CFR part 60 written comments concerning the significance of these properties under the National Register criteria for evaluation may be forwarded by United States Postal Service, to the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C St. NW., 2280, Washington, DC 20240; by all other carriers, National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1201 Eye St. NW., 8th floor, Washington, DC 20005; or by fax, 202–371–6447. Written or faxed comments should be submitted by September 11, 2006. Pulaski County Arkansas Ordnance Plant Guard House, 100 Veteran’s Circle, Jacksonville, 06000831 First Hotze House, 1620 S. Main St., Little Rock, 06000828 McCraw Cemetery, E of 2101 Old Military Rd., Jacksonville, 06000829 John W. Roberts, Acting Chief, National Register/National Historic Landmarks Program. Pasco County Pasco County Courthouse, 37918 Meridian Ave., Dade City, 06000843 ARIZONA Sebastian County Maumelle Ordnance Works Locomotive #1, 100 S 4th St., Fort Smith, 06000835 United States Air Force Locomotive #1246, 100 S. 4th St., Fort Smith, 06000840 St. Francis County Campbell House, 305 N. Forrest St., Forrest City, 06000841 Yell County Archeological site 3YE958, Address Restricted, Dardanelle, 06000838 FLORIDA GEORGIA Pima County, Ramada House, 2801 E Camino Norberto, Tucson, 06000832. ARKANSAS Catoosa County Catoosa County Courthouse, (Georgia County Courthouses TR) 7694 Nashville St., Ringgold, 06000844 Arkansas County Arkansas 11, Old, Kauffman Road Segment, (Arkansas Highway History and Effingham County Effingham County Jail, 1002 N. Pine St., Springfield, 06000845 PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 165 (Friday, August 25, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50457-50463]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-7128]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Minerals Management Service


Request for Comments on the Proposed 5-Year Outer Continental 
Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007-2012

AGENCY: Minerals Management Service, Interior.

[[Page 50458]]


ACTION: Request for Comments on the Proposed 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas 
Leasing Program for 2007-2012

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Minerals Management Service requests comments on the 
Proposed 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007-2012. This is 
the second draft of a new program to succeed the current program that 
expires on June 30, 2007. The first proposal--the draft proposed 
program--was issued in February for a 60-day comment period that closed 
on April 11, 2006.
    Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1344) specifies a multi-
step process of consultation and analysis that must be completed before 
the Secretary of the Interior may approve a new 5-year program. The 
required steps following this notice include the development of a 
proposed final program and Secretarial approval. Pursuant to the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the MMS also will publish a 
Final EIS for the new 5-year program.

DATES: Please submit comments and information to the MMS no later than 
November 24, 2006.

Public Comment Procedure

    The MMS will accept comments in one of two formats: by mail or our 
Internet commenting system. Please submit your comments using only one 
of these formats, and include full names and addresses. Comments 
submitted by other means may not be considered. We will not consider 
anonymous comments, and we will make available for inspection in their 
entirety all comments submitted by organizations and businesses or by 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives of organizations 
and businesses.
    Our practice is to make comments, including the names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review. An individual 
commenter may ask that we withhold his or her name, home address, or 
both from the public record, and we will honor such a request to the 
extent allowable by law. If you submit comments and wish us to withhold 
such information, you must so state prominently at the beginning of 
your submission.

ADDRESSES: Mail comments and information to: Renee Orr, 5-Year Program 
Manager, Minerals Management Service (MS-4010), Room 3120, 381 Elden 
Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170. Please label your comments and the 
packaging in which they are submitted according to the subject matter. 
Mark those pertaining to program preparation, ``Comments on Draft 
Proposed 5-Year Program for 2007-2012,'' and mark those pertaining to 
EIS preparation, ``Comments on the Draft EIS for the 5-Year Program for 
2007-2012.'' If you submit any privileged or proprietary information to 
be treated as confidential, please mark the envelope, ``Contains 
Confidential Information.''
    Internet: The MMS will accept comments submitted to our electronic 
commenting system. This system can be accessed at http://www.mms.gov/5-
year/2007-2012main.htm. We also will provide access to information 
concerning the 5-year program and EIS, including copies of comments we 
receive in response to this notice, at the MMS Internet Web site 
(http://www.mms.gov).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Renee Orr, 5-Year Program Manager, at 
(703) 787-1215.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 
1344) specifies a multi-step process of consultation and analysis that 
must be completed before the Secretary of the Interior may approve a 
new 5-year program. The required steps following this notice include 
the development of a proposed final program to be submitted to the 
Congress and the President, with Secretarial approval of a new program 
no sooner than 60 days afterward. Pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act, the MMS also is preparing an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) for the new 5-year program. The draft EIS is 
being issued with this proposed program and a final EIS will be issued 
with the proposed final program.
    The MMS requests comments from states, local governments, native 
groups, tribes, the oil and gas industry, Federal agencies, 
environmental and other interest organizations, and all other 
interested parties, including the public to assist in the preparation 
of a 5-Year OCS oil and gas leasing program for 2007-2012 and 
applicable EIS.
    The proposed program document may be downloaded off the MMS Web 
site at http://www.mms.gov. The document also is available as part of 
our electronic commenting system noted above. Hard copies will be made 
available by contacting the 5-Year Program Office at 703-787-1215.

Background

    Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act requires the Secretary of the 
Interior to prepare and maintain a schedule of proposed OCS oil and gas 
lease sales determined to ``best meet national energy needs for the 5-
year period following its approval or reapproval.''

Summary of the Proposed Program

    In developing the proposed program for 2007-2012, the MMS carries 
forward the same proposed schedule of lease sales as contained in the 
draft proposed program published in February 2006, with modifications 
in four areas as detailed below. Some of these areas are currently 
withdrawn from disposition by leasing through June 30, 2012, under 
section 12 of the OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1341) and have been subject 
to annual congressional moratoria.
    There will be no leasing of such areas unless the Presidential 
withdrawal is modified and Congress discontinues the annual statutory 
moratoria. The comments received and the analyses conducted for this 
proposed program may provide the information necessary for a potential 
modification of the withdrawal areas. The areas identified as proposed 
program areas in this notice are ones that warrant further study and 
analysis based on oil and gas resource estimates and comments received 
in response to the draft proposed program published in February of this 
year. Continued inclusion of areas in the proposed lease sale schedule 
provides a basis for gathering information and conducting analyses to 
inform policy makers whether to include these areas for leasing 
consideration in the new 5-year program. The program proposes sales in 
offshore areas that have the highest oil and gas resource values and 
highest industry interest, or areas that are currently under leasing 
restrictions and are off the coasts of states that have expressed 
interest in learning more about the energy potential offshore their 
coasts. The proposed schedule is responsive to the recommendations of 
affected state and local governments.
    The proposed program schedules a total of 21 OCS lease sales in 7 
areas (4 areas off Alaska, 2 areas in the Gulf of Mexico, and 1 area in 
the Atlantic). Maps A and B show the areas proposed for leasing. Table 
A lists the location and timing of the proposed lease sales in areas 
that are available for leasing consideration, i.e., not withdrawn or 
subject to congressional moratoria. Table B lists the location and 
timing of the proposed lease sales in areas that are withdrawn and/or 
subject to moratoria.

Alaska Region

    In the Alaska Region, the program proposes multiple lease sales in 
the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and North Aleutian Basin Planning Areas, 
which are three areas of interest to Alaska, the

[[Page 50459]]

MMS, and the oil and gas industry. Multiple sales are consistent with 
the Governor of Alaska's recommendations. The North Aleutian Basin 
Planning Area is currently withdrawn by presidential order under 
section 12 of the OCS Lands Act.
    Two of these areas are modified from the draft proposed program. In 
the Chukchi Sea, the proposed program removes from leasing 
consideration, a 25-mile buffer area along the coast, as there is no 
existing oil and gas activity in the area and the State has made no 
request to include leasing closer to shore. For the North Aleutian 
Basin, in response to comments from the Governor and the vast majority 
of the local governments and tribal organizations, this program 
proposes sales only in the area offered in Sale 92 held in 1985. With 
that limitation of the area to be offered, the Governor of Alaska 
requested ``that the President lift the withdrawal of the North 
Aleutian Basin planning area from the leasing program, and allow the 
scheduling of lease sales in the Sale 92 area in the 2007-2012 
program.'' Therefore, the North Aleutian Basin is included.
    The Cook Inlet Planning Area is included on the schedule as a 
special interest sale. The sales are proposed for 2009 and 2011, but 
before the MMS proceeds, it will issue a request for nominations and 
comments and will move forward only if environmentally acceptable 
blocks are nominated by industry. If this does not occur, the sale will 
likely be postponed and a request for nominations and comments may be 
issued again the following year and so on through the 5-year schedule 
until the sale is held or the schedule expires.

Gulf of Mexico Region

    In the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas, which 
remain the two areas of highest resource potential and interest, the 
proposed program is the same as that of the draft proposed program with 
the exception of the exclusion of a small area in the Central Gulf that 
is east of the military line (86[deg] W 41[min] N). The program 
continues to schedule annual areawide lease sales, as has been the 
customary practice, and proposes a sale in 2007 of a portion of the 
area that was identified for Sale 181 in the 5-year program for 1997-
2002. As a result of the reconfiguration of some planning areas to 
follow new administrative lines, some of the areas formerly included in 
the Eastern and Western Gulf Planning Area are now part of the Central 
Gulf Planning Area. There are no lease sales scheduled in the Eastern 
Gulf Planning Area. The original Sale 181 area is not under 
presidential withdrawal and has not been subject to congressional 
moratoria. In addition, the area being considered for leasing will not 
include the area within 100 miles of the Florida coast that used to be 
part of the Eastern Gulf Planning Area. This will respect the 
commitment made earlier by the Secretary. In the August 2005 Request 
for Information, then Secretary Norton stated that she ``had no 
intention of offering for leasing areas in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico 
Planning Area within 100 miles of the coast of the State of Florida.'' 
Subsequent annual Central Gulf sales may include the area to the south 
of the Sale 181 area that is currently under presidential withdrawal 
and has been subject to annual congressional moratoria. In addition, 
pursuant to Section 19 of the OCS Lands Act, no sale will be proposed 
until all affected states have the opportunity to comment.

Atlantic OCS

    There are four planning areas in the Atlantic OCS--North Atlantic, 
Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Straits of Florida. As in the draft 
proposed program, the proposed program proposes a special interest sale 
in the Mid-Atlantic in late 2011, which may proceed based on comments 
received in response to the call for information and depends on whether 
the presidential withdrawal is lifted and the congressional moratorium 
is discontinued.
    The area proposed for consideration is in the Mid-Atlantic Planning 
Area off the coastline of Virginia. Inclusion of this area in the 
proposed program will allow the gathering of additional information 
needed to decide whether to include this area in the proposed final 
program. As in the Chukchi Sea, the proposed program area includes a 
25-mile buffer from leasing consideration as there is no existing oil 
and gas activity in the area and the State has made no request to 
include leasing closer to shore. In addition, there is no leasing 
proposed in a wedge-shaped No-Obstruction Zone, to protect navigation 
activities in and out of the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, pursuant to 
section 19 of the OCS Lands Act, no sale will be proposed until all 
affected states have the opportunity to comment. This area is also 
under presidential withdrawal under section 12 and has been subject to 
congressional moratoria.

 Table A: Draft Proposed Program for 2007-2012--Lease Sale Schedule for
                             Available Areas
------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Sale No.                          Area                 Year
------------------------------------------------------------------------
204...........................  Western Gulf of Mexico.......       2007
205...........................  Central Gulf of Mexico.......       2007
193...........................  Chukchi Sea..................       2007
206...........................  Central Gulf of Mexico.......       2008
207...........................  Western Gulf of Mexico.......       2008
208...........................  Central Gulf of Mexico.......       2009
209...........................  Beaufort Sea.................       2009
210...........................  Western Gulf of Mexico.......       2009
211...........................  Cook Inlet...................       2009
212...........................  Chukchi Sea..................       2010
213...........................  Central Gulf of Mexico.......       2010
215...........................  Western Gulf of Mexico.......       2010
216...........................  Central Gulf of Mexico.......       2011
217...........................  Beaufort Sea.................       2011
218...........................  Western Gulf of Mexico.......       2011
219...........................  Cook Inlet...................       2011
221...........................  Chukchi Sea..................       2012
222...........................  Central Gulf of Mexico.......       2012
------------------------------------------------------------------------


   Table B: Draft Proposed Program for 2007-2012--Potential Lease Sale
               Schedule for Areas Subject to Restrictions*
------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Sale No.                          Area                 Year
------------------------------------------------------------------------
214...........................  North Aleutian Basin.........       2010
220...........................  Mid-Atlantic.................       2011
223...........................  North Aleutian Basin.........      2012
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Lease sales would only be held if the President chooses to modify the
  withdrawal in both areas and Congress discontinues the annual
  appropriations moratorium in the Mid-Atlantic.

Assurance of Fair Market Value

    Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act requires receipt of fair market 
value for OCS oil and gas leases and the rights they convey. The 
proposed program carries forward the provisions published in the draft 
proposed program: setting minimum bid levels by individual lease sale 
based on market conditions and continuing use of a two-phase bid 
evaluation process.

Information Requested

    We request all interested and affected parties to comment on the 
size, timing, and location of leasing and the procedures for assuring 
fair market value that are included in the Proposed

[[Page 50460]]

5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007-2012. Respondents who 
submitted information in response to previous requests for comments on 
the preparation of this 5-year program may wish to reference that 
information, as appropriate, rather than repeating it in their comments 
on the proposed program. We also invite comments and suggestions on how 
to proceed with the section 18 analysis for the proposed final program.
    Section 18(g) authorizes confidential treatment of privileged or 
proprietary information that is submitted. In order to protect the 
confidentiality of such information, respondents should include it as 
an attachment to other comments submitted and mark it appropriately. On 
request, the MMS will treat such information as confidential from the 
time of its receipt until 5 years after approval of the new leasing 
program, subject to the standards of the Freedom of Information Act. 
MMS will not treat as confidential any aggregate summaries of such 
information, the names of respondents, and comments not containing such 
information.

Next Steps in the Process

    MMS plans to issue the proposed final program and final EIS in the 
spring of 2007. Sixty days later, the Secretary may approve the new 5-
year program to go into effect as of July 1, 2007.

    Dated: August 21, 2006.
R. M. ``Johnnie'' Burton,
Director, Minerals Management Service.
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[FR Doc. 06-7128 Filed 8-24-06; 8:45 am]
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