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BSEE and BOEM Prepare Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for BSEE’s Permitted Activities on the Southern California Planning Area

BSEE and BOEM Prepare Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for BSEE’s Permitted Activities on the Southern  California Planning Area

Publication of the draft programmatic EA opens a 30-day public comment period

WASHINGTON —  The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) have prepared a draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) evaluating the environmental impacts of oil and gas activities on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore California.

Incorporating best science and prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the draft PEA analyzes five alternatives for accepting and reviewing oil and gas permit applications on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf.

“This PEA reflects the best available science on possible effects of offshore oil and gas activities from existing platforms in federal waters off southern California,” said acting BOEM Director Dr. Walter Cruickshank. “This information will be most useful to BSEE in reviewing and permitting production activities on facilities on existing BOEM-issued leases.”

All existing leases on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf are in the production phase of operations. Lessees and operators continue to request BSEE permit approvals for various associated operations, including the drilling of new well bores and sidetracks from existing wells, the installation of conductors to guide future well drilling, and a variety of downhole activities associated with enhancing production and well maintenance. These operations allow operators to maintain ongoing production, and potentially provide access to new reservoirs or increased access to residual reserves in existing fields.

“Ensuring environmentally sustainable energy production is central to BSEE’s mission,” said BSEE Director Scott Angelle. “Accepting, reviewing, and approving these permits would allow for the continued orderly and environmentally sound production of oil and gas from the reservoirs on the 38 active leases located in federal waters offshore southern California.”

The draft PEA analyzes the affected environmental consequences of a Proposed Action and four alternatives. The Proposed Action is the Bureaus’ recommended approach for permitted activities on the Southern California Planning Area. The Proposed Action for the PEA is for BSEE to continue to individually review and approve new applications for well drilling, conductor installation, temporary well abandonment, and other currently permitted downhole activities at platforms on existing leases on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf. BOEM may also draw on the environmental analysis for any future revisions to existing development and production plans. The four alternatives include varying recommendations for continued acceptance, review and authorization of permit applications to alternative five, which recommends no approval of applications for permits to drill and permits to modify.

The publication of the draft PEA opens a 30-day public comment period, set to open today, August 22. Following the end of the comment period, BSEE & BOEM will carefully review the comments, revising the text of the PEA where appropriate.

BSEE and BOEM remain committed to safe offshore oil and gas operations and appropriate environmental reviews to secure reliable energy production for America’s future.