NOIA Member Alert: MMSTo Begin Development of New 5-Year Plan Immediately
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced today that the Department will immediately begin crafting a new 5-Year Leasing Plan for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), much earlier than anticipated.
Rather than wait for the mid-point of the existing 2007-2012 5-Year Plan, when development of the next Plan is traditionally begun, the Interior Department has decided that nation’s energy situation and the recent lifting of the Presidential withdrawals mean it is time to take a fresh, comprehensive look at OCS leasing plans.
NOIA had been advocating for this action with Interior Department Officials because beginning the new 5-Year Plan early could result in new acreage being offered for leasing up to 2 years sooner than would have been possible had the Department chosen to wait until the current Plan had run its course.
Today’s call for a new Plan kicks off a long and complex public process, and NOIA will be turning to our member companies for participation throughout the next 18 months. Our successes with the last Plan were due in no small measure to the tremendous efforts of the companies and employees of the offshore industry, who helped generate over 60,000 comments in favor of expanded access. We will need to work hard to generate even more comments and participation this time around.
The initial scoping notice requesting input from industry, the public and the governors of all 50 states will be released Friday, followed by a 45 day comment period. The Interior Department expects to have a Draft Proposed Program ready by the end of December.
As more details about next steps become available, we will communicate them to you. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us.