Public Meetings About 2018 Oil & Gas Leases This Week, Next

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The federal government is taking public comments at meetings this week and next about the likely environmental impacts of two oil-lease sales scheduled for 2018.

         The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced in August that it would hold the scoping meetings Tuesday in Gulfport, Mississippi; Wednesday in Mobile, Alabama; Sept. 13 in Houston; and Sept. 14 in New Orleans.

         "We are asking for public input to help us determine what new information or alternative ideas we should include…. In addition BOEM scientists are constantly reviewing scientific publications for new studies and information to include," agency spokeswoman Caryl Fagot said in an email Tuesday.

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         The agency says the meetings will focus on information since the environmental impact statement about its five-year plan was released. About 50 opponents of Gulf of Mexico leases protested at an April presentation in New Orleans about that plan.

         The supplemental impact statement is scheduled for release Sept. 19. The agency will take mailed or emailed public comments for 30 days after that.

         Since 1983, the agency has held separate lease sales for the area off Texas and for the rest of the Gulf. Those will be combined under the new plan.

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         All of the meetings are 4-7 p.m. Their locations:


—Gulfport: Courtyard by Marriott, Gulfport Beachfront.

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—Mobile: Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel.

—Houston: Houston Marriott North.

—New Orleans: Wyndham Garden New Orleans Airport.



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