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Preparation of an Environmental Assessment for Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Lease Sale 206 in the Central Gulf of Mexico (2008)

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Minerals Management Service, Interior.


Preparation of an environmental assessment.


The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is issuing this notice to advise the public, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., that MMS intends to prepare an environmental assessment (EA) for proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas Lease Sale 206 in the Central Gulf of Mexico (GOM) scheduled for March 2008. 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 206. The proposal for Lease Sale 206 was identified by the Call for Information and Nominations published in the Federal Register on April 28, 2006, and was analyzed in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sales: 2007-2012; Western Planning Area Sales 204, 207, 210, 215, and 218; Central Planning Area Sales 205, 206, 208, 213, 216, and 222—Final Environmental Impact Statement; Volumes I and II (Multisale EIS, OCS EIS/EA MMS 2007-018).

The proposal does not include approximately 5.8 million acres located in the southeastern part of the Central Planning Area (CPA) which the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 opened to leasing after many years of appropriations Acts containing leasing moratoria. Because of the limited geological and geophysical data available to industry and the limited environmental review for this area, the MMS has decided that it would be premature to offer this area in proposed Lease Sale 206. Before this area is offered for lease, the MMS will conduct a separate NEPA review to reevaluate the expanded CPA sale area.

This EA for proposed Lease Sale 206 will reexamine the potential environmental effects of the proposed lease sale and its alternatives (excluding the unleased blocks near biologically sensitive topographic features; excluding the unleased blocks within 15 miles of the Baldwin County, Alabama, coast; use of a nomination and tract selection leasing system; and no action) Start Printed Page 35259based on any new information regarding potential impacts and issues that were not available at the time the Multisale EIS was prepared.

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Mr. Dennis Chew, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, MS 5410, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394. You may also contact Mr. Chew by telephone at (504) 736-2793.

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In April 2007, the MMS published a Multisale EIS that addressed 11 proposed Federal actions that would offer for lease areas on the GOM OCS that may contain economically recoverable oil and gas resources. Federal regulations allow for several related or similar proposals to be analyzed in one EIS (40 CFR 1502.4). Since each proposed lease sale and its projected activities are very similar each year for each planning area, a single EIS was prepared for the 11 Western Planning Area (WPA) and CPA lease sales scheduled in the proposed OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2007-2012 (5-Year Program). The Multisale EIS 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 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. Although the Multisale EIS addresses 11 proposed lease sales, at the completion of the EIS process, a Record of Decision will be published in July 2007 for only proposed WPA Lease Sale 204 and proposed CPA Lease Sale 205. Prior to each of the nine subsequent proposed lease sales, including Lease Sale 206, an additional NEPA review (an EA) will be conducted to address any new information relevant to that proposed lease sale. After completion of the EA, MMS will determine whether to prepare a Finding of No New Significant Impact (FONNSI) or a Supplemental EIS. 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, the MMS will solicit comments via the Proposed Notice of Sale (PNOS) 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 206 is as follows: EA/FONNSI or Supplemental EIS decision, October 2007; CDs sent to affected states, October 2007; PNOS sent to governors of the affected states, October 2007; Final Notice of Sale published in the Federal Register, February 2008; and Lease Sale 206, March 2008.

Public Comments: Within 30 days of this Notice's publication, interested parties are requested to send comments regarding any new information or issues that should be addressed in the EA. Comments may be submitted in one of the following two ways:

1. In written form enclosed in an envelope labeled “Comments on CPA Lease Sale 206 EA” and mailed (or hand carried) to the Regional Supervisor, Leasing and Environment (Mail Stop 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: To obtain single copies of the Multisale EIS, you may contact the Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, Attention: Public Information Office (Mail Stop 5034), 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, Room 114, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394 (1-800-200-GULF). You may also view the Multisale EIS or check the list of libraries that have copies of the Multisale EIS on the MMS Web site at

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Dated: June 5, 2007.

Robert P. LaBelle,

Acting Associate Director for Offshore Minerals Management.

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[FR Doc. E7-12441 Filed 6-26-07; 8:45 am]