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Soundings Archive

MMS Extends Comment Period on Draft Proposed 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015 and on MMS' Notice of Intent To Prepare an EIS for the Proposed 5-Year Program
On March 4, 2009, the U. S. Minerals Management Service announced that it has extended the written comment period for 180 days on "Draft Proposed 5-year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015 (DPP), published on January 16, 2009, by the previous Administration." The new comment period on the DPP ends September 21, 2009.

On the same day and in the same Federal Register notice, MMS announced the 180-day extension of time for receipt of comments on MMS' Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS for the proposed 5-year program. The original comment period was announced in the Federal Register on January 21, 2009 (74 FR 3631) with a closing date of March 23, 2009. The new closing date is September 21, 2009.

MMS explained these two extensions as follows:

    "The additional time will give states, stakeholders, and affected communities the opportunity to provide input on how, whether, and where the Nation's offshore areas should be considered as part of the Nation's energy strategy.

    Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1344) specifies a multi- step process of consultation and analysis that must be completed before the Secretary of the Interior may approve a new 5-year program. The required steps following this notice include the development of a proposed program, a proposed final program, and Secretarial approval. Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the MMS also will prepare an EIS for the new 5-year program. The notice in the Federal Register on January 21, 2009 (74 FR 3631) started the formal scoping process for the EIS under 40 CFR 1501.7, and solicited information regarding issues and alternatives that should be evaluated in the EIS. The EIS will analyze the potential impacts of the adoption of the proposed 5-year program."
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