The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Programmatic EIS) for the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program on November 18th, 2016 in conjunction with the announcement of the Proposed Final Program, which outlines the Secretary’s decision on the schedule of leases for the 2017-2022 Program. The Programmatic EIS analyzes the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of activities that could result from this lease sale schedule.

As part of the process of developing the Programmatic EIS, BOEM conducted extensive public involvement to solicit stakeholder input on the scope and content of the Programmatic EIS. Your local expertise and perspective helped ensure that this information was available as part of the decision-making process for the 2017-2022 Program. After release of the Draft Programmatic EIS, BOEM hosted 13 public meetings and open houses in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and Washington, DC that attracted more than 575 attendees. BOEM received more than 75,000 comments during the comment period for the Draft Programmatic EIS. These were all considered by BOEM to help develop the Final Programmatic EIS.

What’s Next?

The last step in the EIS process is the issuance of a Record of Decision in early 2017. The Program (i.e., lease sale schedule) is also approved at the same time. Additional National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses, similar to those that were performed in the Programmatic EIS, will be conducted for specific lease sales and will include further opportunities for public comment.