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Meetings Regarding Oil Exploration off the East Coast

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMPosts

BOEM, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (formerly known as Minerals Management Service), is hosting a series of meetings along the Atlantic coast of the U.S., to solicit public commentary regarding a proposal to use geological and geophysical activities in support of oil and gas exploration and the development of renewable energy sources off the Atlantic coast. Two of those meetings are in Jacksonville on Monday, 16 April 2012.

BOEM does maintain a staff of professional maritime archaeologists, many of these folks are friends and colleagues with LAMP staff who we have worked with in the past. The law as it currently applies would require an archaeological survey to take place before any activities that would physically impact the seafloor and potentially harm archaeological resources such as shipwrecks. What appears to be the most controversial issue is the geophysical activity that uses compressed air in bursts from a vessel-towed array to generate sound waves to acoustically penetrate the ocean floor. While this activity does not seem to pose a threat to submerged cultural resources many believe that it may be harmful to marine mammals, including Right and Sperm Whales. Many others feel that any oil development off the Atlantic coast of Florida is too dangerous for the state's primary industry, tourism. The meeting in Jacksonville is an opportunity to make public comments, though citizen's views may also be shared with the BOEM at their email GGEIS@boem.gov.

The place and time of Monday's public meeting is listed below.

• Monday, April 16, 2012, Jacksonville, Florida: Jacksonville Marriott, 4760 Salisbury Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256; two meetings, one beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and one beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT

More information on this issue, including the times of other meetings along the eastern seaboard, is listed below

U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Gulf of Mexico OCS Region SPECIAL INFORMATION BOEM Issues Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Geological and Geophysical Activities in the Mid- and South Atlantic Planning Areas

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the Federal agency responsible for managing offshore energy and mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). A Notice of Availability for the Draft Atlantic G&G Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2012, and the Draft Atlantic G&G Programmatic EIS has been distributed for a 60-day comment period ending on May 30, 2012.

The proposed action is to permit geological and geophysical (G&G) activities in support of oil and gas exploration and development, renewable energy, and marine minerals in the Mid- and South Atlantic Planning Areas. The Atlantic G&G Programmatic EIS will be used by BOEM and other responsible agencies to comply with various environmental laws (e.g., Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, etc.).

Public meetings during the public comment period allow Federal, State, and local government agencies, and other interested parties to comment on the Draft Programmatic EIS and assist BOEM in developing the Final Atlantic G&G Programmatic EIS.

The public meetings are scheduled as follows:

• Monday, April 16, 2012, Jacksonville, Florida: Jacksonville Marriott, 4760 Salisbury Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256; two meetings, one beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and one beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT;

• Wednesday, April 18, 2012, Savannah, Georgia: Coastal Georgia Center, 305 Farm Street, Savannah, GA 31401; two meetings, one beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and one beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT;

• Friday, April 20, 2012, Charleston, South Carolina: Embassy Suites North Charleston, 5055 International Boulevard, Charleston, SC 29418; two meetings, one beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and one beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT;

• Tuesday, April 24, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia: Hilton Norfolk Airport, 1500 N. Military Highway, Norfolk, VA 23502; two meetings, one beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and one beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT;

• Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Annapolis, Maryland: Doubletree Hotel Annapolis, 210 Holiday Court, Annapolis, MD 21401; two meetings, one beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and one beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT;

• Thursday, April 26, 2012, Wilmington, North Carolina: Hilton Wilmington Riverside, 301 North Water Street, Wilmington, NC 28401; two meetings, one beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and one beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT;

• Thursday, April 26, 2012, Wilmington, Delaware: Sheraton Suites Wilmington, 422 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19801; two meetings, one beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and one beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT; and

• Friday, April 27, 2012, Atlantic City, New Jersey: Atlantic City Convention Center, One Convention Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ, 08401; one meeting beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
If you cannot attend the meetings, you may submit written comments within the comment period. Comments should specifically address aspects of the Draft Atlantic G&G Programmatic EIS and may be submitted in one of the following two ways:

1. In an envelope labeled “Comments on the Draft Atlantic G&G Programmatic EIS” and mailed (or hand carried) to Mr. Gary D. Goeke, Chief, Regional Assessment Section, Office of Environment (MS 5410), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394; or

2. BOEM email address: GGEIS@boem.gov.
The BOEM will be printing and distributing a very limited number of paper copies. In keeping with the Department of the Interior’s mission of protection of natural resources, and to limit costs while ensuring availability of the document to the public, BOEM will primarily distribute digital copies of the EIS on compact discs. However, if you require a paper copy, BOEM will provide one upon request if copies are still available.

1. You may obtain a copy of the Draft Atlantic G&G Programmatic EIS from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394, Attention: Public Information Office (MS 5034), 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, Room 250, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394 (1-800-200-GULF).

2. You may download or view the Draft Atlantic G&G Programmatic EIS on BOEM’s Atlantic G&G website at http://.boem.gov/and-Gas-Energy-Program//.aspx or on BOEM’s NEPA website at http://.boem.gov/Stewardship/Assessment//.aspx.
If you have any questions, you may call Mr. Gary D. Goeke at (504) 736-3233.


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