Final Regional Environmental Impact Statement; Gulf of Mexico
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Mineral resources are managed by the Department of the Interior (DOI) under the auspices of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, as amended (OCSLAA), referred to as the act henceforth in this document which mandates the orderly development of OCS resources. In response to this requirement, the Secretary of the Interior submits a 5-year lease schedule to the Congress, Attorney General, and governors of any state affected by minerals development. A dual objective of the OCS leasing program is to develop needed domestic resources in an environmentally acceptable manner and still maintain the natural resources. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) requires an environmental analysis and preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) prior to a significant federal action to facilitate the decision making processes. In response to CEQ requirements and Department of Interior directives to offer for lease all available blocks for oil and gas development in the Gulf, a Regional Environmental Impact Statement (REIS) is presented in this document. The purpose of this document is to evaluate potential impacts from all Gulf of Mexico sales including the 11 shown in the proposed final five-year leasing schedule, and to estimate the cumulative impacts of developing all currently known estimates of oil and gas reserves in the Gulf over the life of the resource. Included in the proposed final five-year leasing schedule are 1983 oil and gas lease Sales 72, 74, and 79 in the Central, Western, and Eastern Gulf planning areas. These sales are specifically referenced throughout the REIS document which serves as the EIS for these specific sales. The proposed action for each of these three sales is the offering of all unleased blocks within each planning area (Figure I-1) for which three separate sale decision will be made. There are approximately 39 million acres in the Central Gulf (Sale 72), 33 million acres in the Western Gulf (Sale 74), and 58 million acres in the Eastern Gulf (Sale 79) for a total of 130 million acres. A discussion of the estimates of resources and development assumptions for these lease sales is given in Section IV.A.