A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Secretary Salazar Announces 2012-2017 Offshore Oil and Gas Development Program
Proposal makes available more than 75% of estimated undiscovered oil and gas resources on U.S. Outer Continental Shelf
WASHINGTON DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, which makes more than 75 percent of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources estimated in federal offshore areas available for exploration and development.
The Proposed Program, which is in line with President Obama's direction to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic production, includes six offshore areas where there are currently active leases and exploration, and where there is known or anticipated hydrocarbon potential.
It schedules 15 potential lease sales for the 2012-2017 period – 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska.
“Expanding safe and responsible oil and gas production from the OCS is a key component of our comprehensive energy strategy to grow America's energy economy, and will help us continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs here at home,” said Secretary Salazar. “This five-year program will make available for development more than three-quarters of undiscovered oil and gas resources estimated on the OCS, including frontier areas such as the Arctic, where we must proceed cautiously, safely and based on the best science available.”
The Proposed Program will promote safe and responsible domestic energy production by offering substantial acreage for lease in regions with known potential for oil and gas development.
“This proposal recognizes the need to proceed carefully and in a manner that protects human safety, coastal areas, and the environment,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “This Proposed Program both promotes responsible development and is informed by lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and the reforms that we have implemented to make offshore drilling safer and more environmentally responsible.”
The Proposed Program also reflects the need for a regionally tailored approach to offshore development that accounts for issues such as current knowledge of resource potential, adequacy of infrastructure including oil spill response capabilities, and the need for a balanced approach to our use of natural resources. The majority of lease sales are scheduled for areas in the Gulf of Mexico, where resource potential and interest is greatest and where infrastructure is most mature.
“A key part of safe and responsible development of our oil and gas resources is recognizing that different environments and communities require different approaches and technologies. In Alaska and off its coast, the Proposed Program recommends that the current inventory of already-leased areas in the Arctic should be expanded only after additional evaluations have been completed, and in a manner that accounts for the Arctic's unique environmental resources and the social, cultural, and subsistence needs of Native Alaskan communities,” said Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes.
The Proposed Program includes lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, but the single sales are scheduled late in the 5-year period to facilitate further scientific study and data collection, and longer term planning for spill response preparedness and infrastructure. The proposal suggests that any lease sales in the Arctic be tailored to protect sensitive environmental resources, including those accessed by Native Alaskans for subsistence uses.
The Proposed Program will be open for significant public comment and consideration. Following public comment and review periods for the proposed program, as well as the accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Statement, a Proposed Final Program (PFP) and a Final EIS will be submitted to the President and Congress.
The OCS Lands Act requires that the Secretary of the Interior prepare a 5-year program that includes a schedule of oil and gas lease sales and indicates the size, timing and location of proposed leasing activity as determined by the Secretary to best meet national energy needs for the 5-year period following its approval, while addressing a range of economic, environmental and social considerations.
See below to view the items being released in coordination with the Proposed Program. These materials will also be available tomorrow in the Federal Register's Reading Room for inspection at: http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx: