JUNEAU – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today that it will publish a “call for information and nominations” for the potential offshore oil and gas lease sale in the Beaufort Sea, even though the Beaufort Sea is currently closed to leasing. BOEM is in the midst of amending the five-year leasing program, which currently does not include any sales in the Beaufort Sea. A new leasing program must be completed before a sale can be held in the Beaufort Sea. Michael LeVine, Senior Arctic Fellow for Ocean Conservancy, released the following statement in response to the announcement:
“There is no compelling reason to rush to sell leases in the Beaufort Sea. Companies have walked away from investments there, and new leasing threatens a unique and important ocean ecosystem. The law very clearly establishes a process for planning and leasing. BOEM is putting the cart before the horse by moving toward leasing before finishing a plan. We thought the agency would have learned its lesson following the controversy that resulted from Secretary Zinke’s tweets about Florida. Apparently, however, the Trump administration is committed to making the same mistakes again and again. Prejudging the outcome of the planning process is bad governance and bad for our ocean.”
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