Request for Comments on the Preparation of a New 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007-2012; and on the Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed 5-Year Program
Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1344) requires the Department of the Interior to solicit information from interested and affected parties during the preparation of a 5-year OCS oil and gas leasing program. The current 5-year program covers the period July 2002 to July 2007. The Department's MMS intends to prepare a new 5-year program for July 2007 to July 2012 to succeed the current one. Section 18 requires completion of a lengthy, multi-step process of public consultation and analysis before the Secretary of the Interior may approve a new 5-year program. The section 18 process includes the following required steps: This initial solicitation of comments; development of a draft proposed program, a proposed program, and a proposed final program; and Secretarial approval. The MMS will also prepare an EIS that analyzes the alternatives considered for the new 5- year program. This notice announces the start of the EIS preparation process. The MMS will consider comments received in response to this notice in developing the draft proposed program and in determining the scope of the EIS. The public will have additional opportunities to comment on the draft proposed program, the draft EIS, and the proposed program.