Babbitt postpones Beaufort Sea Lease Sale 176

PHOTO/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
oilgas.jpg Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt announced Jan. 18 that he has deferred proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 176 in the Beaufort Sea with one day left before he was to leave office. The sale originally was scheduled for early 2002.

The decision to defer the lease sale was based upon insufficient time to complete a thorough review of an environmental analysis, Babbitt said. Areas under consideration for Lease Sale 176 are adjacent to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, near Teshekpuk Lake and in areas of Alaska Native interest.

Potential impacts to these sensitive areas need a thorough scientific review, Babbitt said. According to the Department’s current 5-year leasing plan, the environmental analysis process needed to conclude prior to June 30, 2002.

Although this planning area will not be included in the current schedule, it will be available for leasing consideration by the incoming administration in its preparation of a new 5-Year Program for the period beginning July 2002 and ending July 2007.

01/27/2001 - 8:00pm