Gulf of Mexico, Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), Oil and Gas Lease Sale 253, 34935-34937 [2019-15334]

Download as PDF jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Notices plain and decorated incised pottery body sherds, 850 unidentified faunal bones, 15 decorated incised pottery body sherds, two lithic flakes of indeterminate material, 100 unidentified faunal bones, two carbon samples, 22 plain and decorated incised pottery body sherds, one soil sample, 38 plain and decorated incised pottery body sherds, one black seed bead, three seed beads (two white and one black), and one unidentified wooden artifact. The Olcott site is one of latest of the prehistoric Oneida village sites, with an occupation dating to approximately A.D. 1475–1525. A cemetery was found on a slight rise just west of the site. At an unknown date, human remains consisting, at minimum, of six individuals were recovered from the Sullivan site, located near the town of Stockbridge, in Madison County, NY. These human remains were transferred to SUNY Oswego at an unknown time. The human remains belong to one adult of indeterminate sex (Burial 2); one adult of indeterminate sex (Burial 3); one juvenile (3–6 years) of indeterminate sex (Burial 3); one adult (≤40) possibly male (Burial 4); one adult of indeterminate sex (Burial 4); and one adult of indeterminate sex (Burial 5E). No known individuals were identified. The 1,480 associated funerary objects are 80 unidentified shell, 33 unidentified faunal bones, two unworked chert pieces, five unidentified faunal bones, 42 unidentified shells, three plain pottery body sherds, 250 unidentified faunal bones, one soil sample, six metal nails, 500 unidentified faunal bones, 450 unidentified faunal bones, 18 unidentified faunal bones, 56 unidentified faunal bones, one unidentified faunal bone, one metal nail, one unidentified metal artifact, one resin button, one decorated pottery bowl rim sherd, one ground stone, one unidentified lithic artifact, six chert flakes, 20 charcoal samples, and one unidentified faunal bone. The Sullivan site is a habitation site that included burial grounds and middens. Its occupation dates to approximately A.D. 1665–1680, based on the materials recovered at the site. At an unknown date, human remains consisting, at minimum, of eight individuals, were recovered from the site of Thurston, located near the town of Stockbridge, in Madison County, NY. The human remains were gifted to SUNY Oswego by William Ennis at an unknown time. The human remains belong to one adult of indeterminate sex; one juvenile (3–5 years) of indeterminate sex; one adult of indeterminate sex (Burial 5); one VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 juvenile (5–10 years) of indeterminate sex (Burial 5); one juvenile (1–3 years) of indeterminate sex (Burial 5); one adult of indeterminate sex (Burial 12); one adult (≤40) of indeterminate sex (Burial 15); and one adult of indeterminate sex (Burial 15). No known individuals were identified. The 34 associated funerary objects are two chert flakes, one unworked antler horn, one unidentified shell, one soil sample, five unworked rocks, 12 unidentified metal objects, two unidentified faunal bones, and 10 unidentified faunal bones. The site of Thurston includes a village occupation dating approximately A.D. 1625–1637. Determinations Made by the State University of New York at Oswego Officials of the State University of New York at Oswego have determined that: • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of 18 individuals of Native American ancestry. • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(A), the 2,712 objects described in this notice are reasonably believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains at the time of death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony. • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects and the Oneida Indian Nation (previously listed as the Oneida Nation of New York). Additional Requestors and Disposition Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Alanna Ossa, NAGPRA Coordinator, State University of New York at Oswego, 313 Mahar Hall, Department of Anthropology, Oswego, NY 13126, telephone (315) 312–4172, email alanna.ossa@oswego.edu, by August 19, 2019. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary objects to the Oneida Indian Nation (previously listed as the Oneida Nation of New York) may proceed. The State University of New York at Oswego is responsible for notifying the Oneida Indian Nation (previously listed PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 34935 as the Oneida Nation of New York) that this notice has been published. Dated: June 25, 2019. Melanie O’Brien, Manager, National NAGPRA Program. [FR Doc. 2019–15440 Filed 7–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–52–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Ocean Energy Management [Docket No. BOEM–2019–0046] Gulf of Mexico, Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), Oil and Gas Lease Sale 253 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability of a Record of Decision. AGENCY: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is announcing the availability of a Record of Decision for proposed Gulf of Mexico (GOM) regionwide oil and gas Lease Sale 253. This Record of Decision identifies BOEM’s selected alternative for proposed Lease Sale 253, which is analyzed in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Lease Sale: Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement 2018 (2018 GOM Supplemental EIS). ADDRESSES: The Record of Decision is available on BOEM’s website at https:// www.boem.gov/nepaprocess/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For more information on the Record of Decision, you may contact Ms. Helen Rucker, Chief, Environmental Assessment Section, Office of Environment, by telephone at 504–736– 2421 or by email at helen.rucker@ boem.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS, BOEM evaluated five alternatives for proposed Lease Sale 253. We have summarized these alternatives below, with some additional blocks excluded due to their lease status at the time of this decision: Alternative A—Regionwide OCS Lease Sale: This is BOEM’s preferred alternative. This alternative would allow for a proposed GOM regionwide lease sale encompassing all three planning areas: The Western Planning Area (WPA); the Central Planning Area (CPA); and a small portion of the Eastern Planning Area (EPA) not under congressional moratorium. Under this alternative, BOEM would offer for lease all available unleased blocks within the proposed regionwide lease sale area for oil and gas operations with the following exceptions: Whole and portions of blocks deferred by the Gulf SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 34936 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Notices of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks that are adjacent to or beyond the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; whole and partial blocks within the current boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary; depth restricted, segregated portions of Block 299, Main Pass Area, South and East Addition (Louisiana Leasing Map LA10A); blocks where the lease status is currently under appeal; and whole or partial blocks that have received bids in previous sales, where the bidder has sought reconsideration of BOEM’s rejection of their bid, unless the reconsideration request is fully resolved at least 30 days prior to publication of the Final Notice of Sale. We have listed the unavailable blocks in Section I of the Final Notice of Sale for proposed Lease Sale 253 and at www.boem.gov/ Sale-253. The proposed regionwide lease sale area encompasses about 91.93 million acres (ac). As of July 2019, approximately 78.7 million ac of the proposed regionwide lease sale area are available for lease. As described in the Final 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS, the estimated amounts of resources projected to be leased, discovered, developed, and produced as a result of the proposed regionwide lease sale are between 0.211 and 1.118 billion barrels of oil (BBO) and 0.547 and 4.424 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas. Alternative B—Regionwide OCS Lease Sale Excluding Available Unleased Blocks in the WPA Portion of the Proposed Lease Sale Area: This alternative would offer for lease all available unleased blocks within the CPA and EPA portions of the proposed lease sale area for oil and gas operations, with the following exceptions: Whole and portions of blocks deferred by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks that are adjacent to or beyond the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; depth restricted, segregated portions of Block 299, Main Pass Area, South and East Addition (Louisiana Leasing Map LA10A); blocks where the lease status is currently under appeal; and whole or partial blocks that have received bids in previous sales, where the bidder has sought reconsideration of BOEM’s rejection of their bid, unless the reconsideration request is fully resolved at least 30 days prior to publication of the Final Notice of Sale. The proposed CPA/EPA lease sale area encompasses about 63.35 million ac. As of June 2019, approximately 55.8 million ac of the proposed CPA/EPA lease sale area are VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 available for lease. The estimated amounts of resources projected to be leased, discovered, developed, and produced as a result of the proposed lease sale under Alternative B are 0.185–0.970 BBO and 0.441–3.672 Tcf of gas. Alternative C—Regionwide OCS Lease Sale Excluding Available Unleased Blocks in the CPA and EPA Portions of the Proposed Lease Sale Area: This alternative would offer for lease all available unleased blocks within the WPA portion of the proposed lease sale area for oil and gas operations, with the following exception: Whole and partial blocks within the current boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary; blocks where the lease status is currently under appeal; and whole or partial blocks that have received bids in previous sales, where the bidder has sought reconsideration of BOEM’s rejection of their bid, unless the reconsideration request is fully resolved at least 30 days prior to publication of the Final Notice of Sale. The proposed WPA lease sale area encompasses about 28.58 million ac. As of July 2019, approximately 26.8 million ac of the proposed WPA lease sale area are available for lease. The estimated amounts of resources projected to be leased, discovered, developed, and produced as a result of the proposed lease sale under Alternative C are 0.026–0.148 BBO and 0.106–0.752 Tcf of gas. Alternative D—Alternative A, B, or C, with the Option to Exclude Available Unleased Blocks Subject to the Topographic Features, Live Bottom (Pinnacle Trend, and/or Blocks South of Baldwin County, Alabama, Stipulations: This alternative could be combined with any of the Action alternatives above (i.e., Alternative A, B, or C) and would allow the flexibility to offer leases under any alternative with additional exclusions. Under Alternative D, the decision maker could exclude from leasing any available unleased blocks subject in Alternative A to any one and/ or a combination of the following stipulations: Topographic Features Stipulation; Live Bottom Stipulation; and Blocks South of Baldwin County, Alabama, Stipulation (not applicable to Alternative C). This alternative considered blocks subject to these stipulations because these areas have been emphasized in scoping, can be geographically defined, and adequate information exists regarding their ecological importance and sensitivity to OCS oil- and gas-related activities. A total of 207 blocks within the CPA and 160 blocks in the WPA are affected by the Topographic Features PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Stipulation. There are currently no identified topographic features protected under this stipulation in the EPA. The Live Bottom Stipulation covers the pinnacle trend area of the CPA, affecting a total of 74 blocks. Under Alternative D, the number of blocks that would become unavailable for lease represents only a small percentage of the total number of blocks to be offered under Alternative A, B, or C (<4%, even if blocks subject to all three stipulations were excluded). Therefore, Alternative D could reduce offshore infrastructure and activities in the pinnacle trend area, but because Alternative D would simply shift the location of offshore infrastructure and activities farther from these sensitive zones, it would not lead to a reduction in overall impacts. Moreover, the incremental negative impacts of the other alternatives compared with Alternative D would be largely mitigated by the application of lease stipulations in Alternative A, discussed below. Alternative E—No Action: This alternative is not holding proposed regionwide Lease Sale 253 and is identified as the environmentally preferred alternative. Lease Stipulations—The 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS describes all lease stipulations, which are included in the Final Notice of Sale Package. In the Record of Decision for the 2017–2022 Five-Year Program, the Secretary of the Interior required the protection of biologically sensitive underwater features in all Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales as programmatic mitigation; therefore, we are adopting the Topographic Features Stipulation and Live Bottom Stipulation and applying them to designated lease blocks in proposed Lease Sale 253. The additional eight lease stipulations considered for proposed regionwide Lease Sale 253 are the Military Areas Stipulation; the Evacuation Stipulation; the Coordination Stipulation; the Blocks South of Baldwin County, Alabama, Stipulation; the Protected Species Stipulation; the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Royalty Payment Stipulation; the Restrictions due to Rights-of-Use and Easement for Floating Production Facilities Stipulation; and the Stipulation on the Agreement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States Concerning Transboundary Hydrocarbon Reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico. As noted, BOEM is adopting these eight stipulations as lease terms where applicable and they will be enforceable as part of the lease. Appendix B of the Gulf of Mexico OCS E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Notices Oil and Gas Lease Sales: 2017–2022; Gulf of Mexico Lease Sales 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 256, 257, 259, and 261; Final Multisale Environmental Impact Statement provides a list and description of standard post-lease conditions of approval that BOEM or the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement may require as a result of their plan and permit review processes for the Gulf of Mexico OCS Region. After careful consideration, BOEM has selected the preferred alternative (Alternative A) in the 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS, with certain additional blocks excluded due to their status, for proposed Lease Sale 253. BOEM is also adopting ten lease stipulations and all practicable means of mitigation at the lease sale stage. The preferred alternative meets the purpose of and need for the proposed action, as identified in the 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS, and provides for orderly resource development with protection of the human, marine, and coastal environments while also ensuring that the public receives a fair market value for these resources and that free-market competition is maintained. Authority This Notice of Availability of a Record of Decision is published pursuant to the regulations (40 CFR part 1505) implementing the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Walter D. Cruickshank, Acting Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. [FR Doc. 2019–15334 Filed 7–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–MR–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Ocean Energy Management [Docket No. BOEM–2019–0046] Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Region-Wide Oil and Gas Lease Sale 253 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Interior. ACTION: Final notice of sale. AGENCY: On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will open and publicly announce bids received for blocks offered in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region-wide Oil and Gas Lease Sale 253 (GOM Region-wide Sale 253), in accordance with the provisions of the jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 34937 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and the implementing regulations issued pursuant thereto. The GOM Region-wide Sale 253 Final Notice of Sale (NOS) package contains information essential to potential bidders. DATES: BOEM will hold GOM Regionwide Sale 253 at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. All times referred to in this document are Central time, unless otherwise specified. Bid submission deadline: BOEM must receive all sealed bids between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on normal working days prior to the sale, or from 8:00 a.m. to the Bid Submission Deadline of 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, the day before the lease sale. For more information on bid submission, see Section VII, ‘‘Bidding Instructions,’’ of this document. ADDRESSES: Bids will be accepted prior to the bid submission deadline at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana. Public bid reading for GOM Region-wide Sale 253 will be held at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana, but the venue will not be open to the general public, media, or industry during bid opening or reading. Bid opening will be available for public viewing on BOEM’s website at www.boem.gov/Sale-253 via livestreaming video beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the date of the sale. BOEM will also post the results on its website after bid opening and reading are completed. Interested parties may download the Final NOS package from BOEM’s website at https://www.boem.gov/Sale253/. Copies of the sale maps may be obtained by contacting the BOEM GOM Region: Gulf of Mexico Region Public Information Office, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123–2394, (504) 736–2519 or (800) 200–GULF. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Erin O’Reilly Vaughan, Chief, Leasing and Financial Responsibility, Office of Leasing and Plans, 504–736– 1759, Erin.O’Reilly@boem.gov or Wright Jay Frank, Chief, Leasing Policy and Management Division, 703–787–1325, Wright.Frank@boem.gov. IX. Forms X. The Lease Sale XI. Delay of Sale Table of Contents Florida Plain (OPD NG 16–08) This Final NOS includes the following sections: I. Lease Sale Area II. Statutes and Regulations III. Lease Terms and Economic Conditions IV. Lease Stipulations V. Information to Lessees VI. Maps VII. Bidding Instructions VIII. Bidding Rules and Restrictions Whole Blocks: 5 through 24, 46 through 67, 89 through 110, 133 through 154, 177 through 197, 221 through 240, 265 through 283, 309 through 327, and 363 through 370 • All whole and portions of blocks deferred by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, Public Law 109– 432: PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 I. Lease Sale Area Blocks Offered for Leasing: BOEM will offer for bid in this lease sale all of the available unleased acreage in the GOM, except those blocks listed in ‘‘Blocks Not Offered for Leasing’’ below. Blocks Not Offered for Leasing: The following whole and partial blocks are not offered for lease in this sale. The BOEM Official Protraction Diagrams (OPDs) and Supplemental Official Block Diagrams are available online at https:// www.boem.gov/Maps-and-GIS-Data/. • Whole and partial blocks that lie within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (in the East and West Flower Garden Banks and the Stetson Bank), identified in the following list: High Island, East Addition, South Extension (Leasing Map TX7C) Whole Block: A–398 Partial Blocks: A–366, A–367, A–374, A–375, A–383, A–384, A–385, A–388, A–389, A–397, A–399, A–401 High Island, South Addition (Leasing Map TX7B) Partial Blocks: A–502, A–513 Garden Banks (OPD NG15–02) Partial Blocks: 134, 135 • Blocks that are adjacent to or beyond the United States Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap: Lund South (OPD NG 16–07) Whole Blocks: 128, 129, 169 through 173, 208 through 217, 248 through 261, 293 through 305, and 349 Henderson (OPD NG 16–05) Whole Blocks: 466, 508 through 510, 551 through 554, 594 through 599, 637 through 643, 679 through 687, 722 through 731, 764 through 775, 807 through 819, 849 through 862, 891 through 905, 933 through 949, and 975 through 992 Partial Blocks: 467, 511, 555, 556, 600, 644, 688, 732, 776, 777, 820, 821, 863, 864, 906, 907, 950, 993, and 994 E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 139 (Friday, July 19, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 34935-34937]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-15334]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

[Docket No. BOEM-2019-0046]


Gulf of Mexico, Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), Oil and Gas Lease 
Sale 253

AGENCY: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of a Record of Decision.

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

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is announcing the 
availability of a Record of Decision for proposed Gulf of Mexico (GOM) 
regionwide oil and gas Lease Sale 253. This Record of Decision 
identifies BOEM's selected alternative for proposed Lease Sale 253, 
which is analyzed in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Lease Sale: Final 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement 2018 (2018 GOM Supplemental 
EIS).

ADDRESSES: The Record of Decision is available on BOEM's website at 
https://www.boem.gov/nepaprocess/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For more information on the Record of 
Decision, you may contact Ms. Helen Rucker, Chief, Environmental 
Assessment Section, Office of Environment, by telephone at 504-736-2421 
or by email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS, BOEM 
evaluated five alternatives for proposed Lease Sale 253. We have 
summarized these alternatives below, with some additional blocks 
excluded due to their lease status at the time of this decision:
    Alternative A--Regionwide OCS Lease Sale: This is BOEM's preferred 
alternative. This alternative would allow for a proposed GOM regionwide 
lease sale encompassing all three planning areas: The Western Planning 
Area (WPA); the Central Planning Area (CPA); and a small portion of the 
Eastern Planning Area (EPA) not under congressional moratorium. Under 
this alternative, BOEM would offer for lease all available unleased 
blocks within the proposed regionwide lease sale area for oil and gas 
operations with the following exceptions: Whole and portions of blocks 
deferred by the Gulf

[[Page 34936]]

of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks that are adjacent to or 
beyond the United States' Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as 
the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; whole and partial blocks 
within the current boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine 
Sanctuary; depth restricted, segregated portions of Block 299, Main 
Pass Area, South and East Addition (Louisiana Leasing Map LA10A); 
blocks where the lease status is currently under appeal; and whole or 
partial blocks that have received bids in previous sales, where the 
bidder has sought reconsideration of BOEM's rejection of their bid, 
unless the reconsideration request is fully resolved at least 30 days 
prior to publication of the Final Notice of Sale. We have listed the 
unavailable blocks in Section I of the Final Notice of Sale for 
proposed Lease Sale 253 and at www.boem.gov/Sale-253. The proposed 
regionwide lease sale area encompasses about 91.93 million acres (ac). 
As of July 2019, approximately 78.7 million ac of the proposed 
regionwide lease sale area are available for lease. As described in the 
Final 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS, the estimated amounts of resources 
projected to be leased, discovered, developed, and produced as a result 
of the proposed regionwide lease sale are between 0.211 and 1.118 
billion barrels of oil (BBO) and 0.547 and 4.424 trillion cubic feet 
(Tcf) of natural gas.
    Alternative B--Regionwide OCS Lease Sale Excluding Available 
Unleased Blocks in the WPA Portion of the Proposed Lease Sale Area: 
This alternative would offer for lease all available unleased blocks 
within the CPA and EPA portions of the proposed lease sale area for oil 
and gas operations, with the following exceptions: Whole and portions 
of blocks deferred by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; 
blocks that are adjacent to or beyond the United States' Exclusive 
Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern 
Gap; depth restricted, segregated portions of Block 299, Main Pass 
Area, South and East Addition (Louisiana Leasing Map LA10A); blocks 
where the lease status is currently under appeal; and whole or partial 
blocks that have received bids in previous sales, where the bidder has 
sought reconsideration of BOEM's rejection of their bid, unless the 
reconsideration request is fully resolved at least 30 days prior to 
publication of the Final Notice of Sale. The proposed CPA/EPA lease 
sale area encompasses about 63.35 million ac. As of June 2019, 
approximately 55.8 million ac of the proposed CPA/EPA lease sale area 
are available for lease. The estimated amounts of resources projected 
to be leased, discovered, developed, and produced as a result of the 
proposed lease sale under Alternative B are 0.185-0.970 BBO and 0.441-
3.672 Tcf of gas.
    Alternative C--Regionwide OCS Lease Sale Excluding Available 
Unleased Blocks in the CPA and EPA Portions of the Proposed Lease Sale 
Area: This alternative would offer for lease all available unleased 
blocks within the WPA portion of the proposed lease sale area for oil 
and gas operations, with the following exception: Whole and partial 
blocks within the current boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National 
Marine Sanctuary; blocks where the lease status is currently under 
appeal; and whole or partial blocks that have received bids in previous 
sales, where the bidder has sought reconsideration of BOEM's rejection 
of their bid, unless the reconsideration request is fully resolved at 
least 30 days prior to publication of the Final Notice of Sale. The 
proposed WPA lease sale area encompasses about 28.58 million ac. As of 
July 2019, approximately 26.8 million ac of the proposed WPA lease sale 
area are available for lease. The estimated amounts of resources 
projected to be leased, discovered, developed, and produced as a result 
of the proposed lease sale under Alternative C are 0.026-0.148 BBO and 
0.106-0.752 Tcf of gas.
    Alternative D--Alternative A, B, or C, with the Option to Exclude 
Available Unleased Blocks Subject to the Topographic Features, Live 
Bottom (Pinnacle Trend, and/or Blocks South of Baldwin County, Alabama, 
Stipulations: This alternative could be combined with any of the Action 
alternatives above (i.e., Alternative A, B, or C) and would allow the 
flexibility to offer leases under any alternative with additional 
exclusions. Under Alternative D, the decision maker could exclude from 
leasing any available unleased blocks subject in Alternative A to any 
one and/or a combination of the following stipulations: Topographic 
Features Stipulation; Live Bottom Stipulation; and Blocks South of 
Baldwin County, Alabama, Stipulation (not applicable to Alternative C). 
This alternative considered blocks subject to these stipulations 
because these areas have been emphasized in scoping, can be 
geographically defined, and adequate information exists regarding their 
ecological importance and sensitivity to OCS oil- and gas-related 
activities.
    A total of 207 blocks within the CPA and 160 blocks in the WPA are 
affected by the Topographic Features Stipulation. There are currently 
no identified topographic features protected under this stipulation in 
the EPA. The Live Bottom Stipulation covers the pinnacle trend area of 
the CPA, affecting a total of 74 blocks. Under Alternative D, the 
number of blocks that would become unavailable for lease represents 
only a small percentage of the total number of blocks to be offered 
under Alternative A, B, or C (<4%, even if blocks subject to all three 
stipulations were excluded). Therefore, Alternative D could reduce 
offshore infrastructure and activities in the pinnacle trend area, but 
because Alternative D would simply shift the location of offshore 
infrastructure and activities farther from these sensitive zones, it 
would not lead to a reduction in overall impacts. Moreover, the 
incremental negative impacts of the other alternatives compared with 
Alternative D would be largely mitigated by the application of lease 
stipulations in Alternative A, discussed below.
    Alternative E--No Action: This alternative is not holding proposed 
regionwide Lease Sale 253 and is identified as the environmentally 
preferred alternative.
    Lease Stipulations--The 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS describes all 
lease stipulations, which are included in the Final Notice of Sale 
Package. In the Record of Decision for the 2017-2022 Five-Year Program, 
the Secretary of the Interior required the protection of biologically 
sensitive underwater features in all Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease 
sales as programmatic mitigation; therefore, we are adopting the 
Topographic Features Stipulation and Live Bottom Stipulation and 
applying them to designated lease blocks in proposed Lease Sale 253.
    The additional eight lease stipulations considered for proposed 
regionwide Lease Sale 253 are the Military Areas Stipulation; the 
Evacuation Stipulation; the Coordination Stipulation; the Blocks South 
of Baldwin County, Alabama, Stipulation; the Protected Species 
Stipulation; the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 
Royalty Payment Stipulation; the Restrictions due to Rights-of-Use and 
Easement for Floating Production Facilities Stipulation; and the 
Stipulation on the Agreement between the United States of America and 
the United Mexican States Concerning Transboundary Hydrocarbon 
Reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico. As noted, BOEM is adopting these 
eight stipulations as lease terms where applicable and they will be 
enforceable as part of the lease. Appendix B of the Gulf of Mexico OCS

[[Page 34937]]

Oil and Gas Lease Sales: 2017-2022; Gulf of Mexico Lease Sales 249, 
250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 256, 257, 259, and 261; Final Multisale 
Environmental Impact Statement provides a list and description of 
standard post-lease conditions of approval that BOEM or the Bureau of 
Safety and Environmental Enforcement may require as a result of their 
plan and permit review processes for the Gulf of Mexico OCS Region.
    After careful consideration, BOEM has selected the preferred 
alternative (Alternative A) in the 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS, with 
certain additional blocks excluded due to their status, for proposed 
Lease Sale 253. BOEM is also adopting ten lease stipulations and all 
practicable means of mitigation at the lease sale stage. The preferred 
alternative meets the purpose of and need for the proposed action, as 
identified in the 2018 GOM Supplemental EIS, and provides for orderly 
resource development with protection of the human, marine, and coastal 
environments while also ensuring that the public receives a fair market 
value for these resources and that free-market competition is 
maintained.

Authority

    This Notice of Availability of a Record of Decision is published 
pursuant to the regulations (40 CFR part 1505) implementing the 
provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

Walter D. Cruickshank,
Acting Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
[FR Doc. 2019-15334 Filed 7-18-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-MR-P