Feds Taking Public Comments On Offshore Drilling Impact

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Supporters and opponents of offshore drilling can get in their say Monday at a public meeting at a hotel near New Orleans' international airport.

         It's the first of three meetings rescheduled to let more people attend and comment about the potential environmental impacts of five more years of offshore drilling, from 2017 to 2022.

         The other rescheduled meetings will be Wednesday in Houston and April 26 in Washington. The Washington meeting will take a national scope; Monday's and Wednesday's will look at the Gulf of Mexico.

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         When the bureau rescheduled the meeting, it said the changes were to accommodate greater public interest, but did not describe how that was being shown.

         Protesters opposed to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico interrupted the most recent lease sale, on March 23.

         The 279-page draft environmental impact statement is available on the website for the federal Bureau of Offshore Energy management.

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         The meeting runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the Doubletree by Hilton New Orleans Airport.

         The agency notes that people who cannot get to the meetings may send in comments through the Internet, by email, by regular mail, or by hand delivery.

         As of Monday morning, 33 comments had been submitted to the webpage regulations.gov. Nearly half are about drilling off Alaska, the subject of 10 public meetings already held around that state. The six specifically about the Gulf of Mexico included five that support continued drilling.

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         The comment period is open through May 2.

         For more information



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