Preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Lease Sale 215 in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area (2010), 46455-46456 [E9-21670]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 173 / Wednesday, September 9, 2009 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Minerals Management Service Preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Lease Sale 215 in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area (2010) AGENCY: Minerals Management Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an EA. SUMMARY: The purpose of the NOP is to gather information on oil and gas leasing, exploration, and development that might result from an OCS oil and gas lease sale tentatively scheduled for mid-2010. DATES: Comments must be received no later than October 9, 2009 at the address specified below. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the NOP, you may contact Mr. Gary Goeke, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123–2394, telephone (504) 736–3233. Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Assessment cprice-sewell on DSK2BSOYB1PROD with NOTICES 1. Authority This NOP is published pursuant to the regulations (40 CFR 1501.7) implementing the provisions of NEPA of 1969 as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq. (1988)). 2. Purpose of Notice of Preparation Pursuant to the regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA, the MMS is announcing its intent to prepare an EA on an oil and gas lease sale tentatively scheduled for mid-2010 in the Western Planning Area (WPA) offshore of Texas and western Louisiana. The MMS is issuing this notice to facilitate public involvement. The preparation of this EA is an important step in the decision process for Lease Sale 215. The proposal for Lease Sale 215 was analyzed in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sales: 2009–2012; Central Planning Area Sales 208, 213, 216, and 222; Western Planning Area Sales 210, 215, and 218— Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Supplemental EIS, OCS EIS/EA MMS 2008–041). This EA for proposed Lease Sale 215 will examine the potential environmental effects of the proposed lease sale and its VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:47 Sep 08, 2009 Jkt 217001 alternatives (i.e., excluding the unleased blocks near biologically sensitive topographic features; and no action) based on changes and any new relevant information and circumstances regarding potential environmental impacts and issues that were not available at the time the Supplemental EIS was prepared to determine if preparation of a new supplemental EIS is warranted. 3. Supplemental Information Final delineation of this area for possible leasing will be made at a later date and in compliance with applicable laws, including all requirements of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and other applicable statutes. Established Departmental procedures will be followed. The MMS routinely assesses the status of information acquisition efforts and the quality of the information base for potential decisions on a tentatively scheduled lease sale. An extensive environmental studies program has been under way in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) since 1973. The emphasis, including continuing studies, has been on ‘‘environmental analysis’’ of biologically sensitive habitats, physical oceanography, ocean-circulation modeling, ecological effects of oil and gas activities, and hurricane impacts on coastal communities and the environment. Federal regulations allow for several related or similar proposals to be analyzed in one EIS (40 CFR 1502.4). Each proposed lease sale and its projected activities are very similar each year for each planning area. The Multisale EIS (OCS EIS/EA MMS 2007– 018) addressed WPA Lease Sale 204 in 2007, Sale 207 in 2008, Sale 210 in 2009, Sale 215 in 2010, and Sale 218 in 2011; and Central Planning Area (CPA) Lease Sale 205 in 2007, Sale 206 in 2008, Sale 208 in 2009, Sale 213 in 2010, Sale 216 in 2011, and Sale 222 in 2012. However, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 repealed the Congressional moratorium on approximately 5.8 million acres located in the southeastern part of the CPA. Therefore, it was necessary to prepare additional NEPA documentation to address the MMS proposal to expand the CPA by the 5.8 million acre area. A single Supplemental Multi-sale EIS was PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46455 prepared for the remaining seven WPA and CPA lease sales scheduled in the OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2007–2012 (5-Year Program). In September 2008, MMS published a Supplemental Multi-sale EIS (OCS EIS/ EA MMS 2008–041) that addressed seven proposed Federal actions that would offer for lease areas on the GOM OCS that may contain economically recoverable oil and gas resources. After completion of this EA, MMS will determine whether to prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or a Supplemental EIS for Sale 215 and subsequent sales. The MMS prepares a Consistency Determination (CD) to determine whether the lease sale is consistent with each affected State’s federally-approved Coastal Zone Management program. Finally, MMS will solicit comments via the Proposed Notice of Sale (NOS) from the governors of the affected States on the size, timing, and location of the lease sale. The tentative schedule for the prelease decision process for Lease Sale 215 is as follows: EA/FONSI or Supplemental EIS decision, March–April 2010; CDs will be sent to the affected States 5 months before the lease sale; Proposed NOS sent to the governors of the affected States 5 months before the lease sale; Final NOS, if applicable, will be published in the Federal Register in July 2010. 4. Comments Federal, State, and local government agencies, and other interested parties are requested to send their written comments on the EA, significant issues that should be addressed, and alternatives that should be considered in one of the following two ways: 1. In written form enclosed in an envelope labeled ‘‘Comments on the Lease Sale 215 EA’’ and mailed (or hand carried) to the Regional Supervisor, Leasing and Environment (MS 5410), Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123–2394. 2. Electronically to the MMS e-mail address: WPALeaseSale215@mms.gov. Comments should be submitted no later than 30 days from the publication of this NOP. Dated: August 24, 2009. S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, Director, Minerals Management Service. E:\FR\FM\09SEN1.SGM 09SEN1 46456 [FR Doc. E9–21670 Filed 9–8–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–MR–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R5–R–2008–N198; 50133–1265– XENP–S3] Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Kent County, MD cprice-sewell on DSK2BSOYB1PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability: draft comprehensive conservation plan and draft environmental assessment; request for comments. SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability of the draft comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and draft environmental assessment (EA) for Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located in Kent County, Maryland, with its office in Rock Hall, Maryland. The draft CCP/EA describes three alternatives, including our Service-preferred alternative B, for managing this refuge for the next 15 years. Also available for public review and comment are the draft compatibility determinations, which are included as appendix B in the draft CCP/EA. DATES: To ensure our consideration of your written comments, please send them by October 9, 2009. We will also hold a public meeting in Rock Hall, VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:47 Sep 08, 2009 Jkt 217001 Maryland. We will announce and post details of the public meeting in local news media, via our project mailing list, and on our Regional planning Web site, http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/ eastern%20neck/ccphome.html. ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for copies of the draft CCP/EA by one of the following methods. U.S. Mail: Nancy McGarigal, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035. Fax: Attention: Nancy McGarigal, 413–253–8468. E-mail: northeastplanning@fws.gov. Please put the words ‘‘Eastern Neck NWR CCP’’ in the subject line of your e-mail. Agency Web site: View or download the draft document on the Web at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/ eastern%20neck/ccphome.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Suzanne Baird, Project Leader, Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, MD 21613; phone 410–228–2692, extension 101; fax 410–228–3261; or e-mail at fw5rw_bwnwr@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction This notice continues the CCP process for Eastern Neck NWR, which is one of the four refuges that comprise the Chesapeake Marshlands NWR Complex. The other three are Blackwater, Martin, PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and Susquehanna NWRs. We prepared the draft CCP in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act), which requires us to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. We published our original notice of intent to prepare a CCP in the Federal Register on June 11, 2002 (67 FR 40002). Due to changes in budget and staffing priorities, the project was put on hold in 2003. We subsequently announced we were restarting the process by publishing another notice in the Federal Register on January 22, 2007 (72 FR 2709). Eastern Neck NWR is a 2,285-acre island that lies at the confluence of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay in Kent County, Maryland. Established in 1962 to protect migratory birds, the refuge is recognized regionally as a major feeding and resting place for a wide variety of migrating and wintering waterfowl. Its habitats are highly diverse, and include tidal marsh, open water, and woodland. Its managed croplands also contribute to the quality of its habitats by providing a ready source of high-energy food for wintering waterfowl when their reserves are low. The moist soil units and green tree reservoirs on the refuge also are managed to enhance habitats for E:\FR\FM\09SEN1.SGM 09SEN1 EN09SE09.000</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 173 / Wednesday, September 9, 2009 / Notices

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 173 (Wednesday, September 9, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46455-46456]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-21670]



[[Page 46455]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Minerals Management Service


Preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Proposed 
Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Lease Sale 215 in the Western 
Gulf of Mexico Planning Area (2010)

AGENCY: Minerals Management Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an EA.

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

SUMMARY: The purpose of the NOP is to gather information on oil and gas 
leasing, exploration, and development that might result from an OCS oil 
and gas lease sale tentatively scheduled for mid-2010.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than October 9, 2009 at the 
address specified below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the NOP, you may 
contact Mr. Gary Goeke, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park 
Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394, telephone (504) 736-3233.

Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Assessment

1. Authority

    This NOP is published pursuant to the regulations (40 CFR 1501.7) 
implementing the provisions of NEPA of 1969 as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 
et seq. (1988)).

2. Purpose of Notice of Preparation

    Pursuant to the regulations implementing the procedural provisions 
of NEPA, the MMS is announcing its intent to prepare an EA on an oil 
and gas lease sale tentatively scheduled for mid-2010 in the Western 
Planning Area (WPA) offshore of Texas and western Louisiana. The MMS is 
issuing this notice to facilitate public involvement. The preparation 
of this EA is an important step in the decision process for Lease Sale 
215. The proposal for Lease Sale 215 was analyzed in the Gulf of Mexico 
OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sales: 2009-2012; Central Planning Area Sales 
208, 213, 216, and 222; Western Planning Area Sales 210, 215, and 218--
Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Supplemental EIS, 
OCS EIS/EA MMS 2008-041). This EA for proposed Lease Sale 215 will 
examine the potential environmental effects of the proposed lease sale 
and its alternatives (i.e., excluding the unleased blocks near 
biologically sensitive topographic features; and no action) based on 
changes and any new relevant information and circumstances regarding 
potential environmental impacts and issues that were not available at 
the time the Supplemental EIS was prepared to determine if preparation 
of a new supplemental EIS is warranted.

3. Supplemental Information

    Final delineation of this area for possible leasing will be made at 
a later date and in compliance with applicable laws, including all 
requirements of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Coastal Zone 
Management Act (CZMA) and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and 
other applicable statutes. Established Departmental procedures will be 
followed.
    The MMS routinely assesses the status of information acquisition 
efforts and the quality of the information base for potential decisions 
on a tentatively scheduled lease sale. An extensive environmental 
studies program has been under way in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) since 
1973. The emphasis, including continuing studies, has been on 
``environmental analysis'' of biologically sensitive habitats, physical 
oceanography, ocean-circulation modeling, ecological effects of oil and 
gas activities, and hurricane impacts on coastal communities and the 
environment.
    Federal regulations allow for several related or similar proposals 
to be analyzed in one EIS (40 CFR 1502.4). Each proposed lease sale and 
its projected activities are very similar each year for each planning 
area. The Multisale EIS (OCS EIS/EA MMS 2007-018) addressed WPA Lease 
Sale 204 in 2007, Sale 207 in 2008, Sale 210 in 2009, Sale 215 in 2010, 
and Sale 218 in 2011; and Central Planning Area (CPA) Lease Sale 205 in 
2007, Sale 206 in 2008, Sale 208 in 2009, Sale 213 in 2010, Sale 216 in 
2011, and Sale 222 in 2012. However, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security 
Act of 2006 repealed the Congressional moratorium on approximately 5.8 
million acres located in the southeastern part of the CPA. Therefore, 
it was necessary to prepare additional NEPA documentation to address 
the MMS proposal to expand the CPA by the 5.8 million acre area. A 
single Supplemental Multi-sale EIS was prepared for the remaining seven 
WPA and CPA lease sales scheduled in the OCS Oil and Gas Leasing 
Program: 2007-2012 (5-Year Program). In September 2008, MMS published a 
Supplemental Multi-sale EIS (OCS EIS/EA MMS 2008-041) that addressed 
seven proposed Federal actions that would offer for lease areas on the 
GOM OCS that may contain economically recoverable oil and gas 
resources.
    After completion of this EA, MMS will determine whether to prepare 
a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or a Supplemental EIS for 
Sale 215 and subsequent sales. The MMS prepares a Consistency 
Determination (CD) to determine whether the lease sale is consistent 
with each affected State's federally-approved Coastal Zone Management 
program. Finally, MMS will solicit comments via the Proposed Notice of 
Sale (NOS) from the governors of the affected States on the size, 
timing, and location of the lease sale. The tentative schedule for the 
prelease decision process for Lease Sale 215 is as follows: EA/FONSI or 
Supplemental EIS decision, March-April 2010; CDs will be sent to the 
affected States 5 months before the lease sale; Proposed NOS sent to 
the governors of the affected States 5 months before the lease sale; 
Final NOS, if applicable, will be published in the Federal Register in 
July 2010.

4. Comments

    Federal, State, and local government agencies, and other interested 
parties are requested to send their written comments on the EA, 
significant issues that should be addressed, and alternatives that 
should be considered in one of the following two ways:
    1. In written form enclosed in an envelope labeled ``Comments on 
the Lease Sale 215 EA'' and mailed (or hand carried) to the Regional 
Supervisor, Leasing and Environment (MS 5410), Minerals Management 
Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New 
Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394.
    2. Electronically to the MMS e-mail address: 
WPALeaseSale215@mms.gov.
    Comments should be submitted no later than 30 days from the 
publication of this NOP.

    Dated: August 24, 2009.
S. Elizabeth Birnbaum,
Director, Minerals Management Service.

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