BOEMRE Releases Environmental Impact Statement of Chukchi Lease

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement or BOEMRE released today a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the Chukchi Sea lease sale 193.

The draft was developed after environmental and Native organizations sued over the 2008 sale, saying important cumulative impacts from drilling were not considered in the first EIS.

Environmental groups are decrying today’s release saying it doesn’t address information that was deemed missing in the first document. Carole Holly is the Alaska program co director for Pacific Environment, one of the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit against BOEMRE. She says nothing has really changed.

Holly says the U.S. geological survey has just concluded a report on the missing information in the arctic. She says BOEMRE’s release of the new draft EIS before reviewing the USGS study is unfortunate. She says any activity in the Chukchi will not only impact marine life, it will greatly impact the subsistence hunters in the arctic who depend on them.

BOEMRE officials refused comment today but contend the revised draft addresses the concerns raised by Judge Ralph Beistline, the federal judge who handled the lawsuit brought by the Native Village of Point Hope, Pacific Environment and others. Beistline gave BOEMRE until October 3rd to finalize their decision, but he wants a progress report by June 3rd.

Shell Oil Company wants to move forward next summer with plans for exploratory drilling.

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