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talking about the on-shore deposits in Louisiana, for instance, we make sure that our geologists and their geologists are talking about the same geology, or seeing the same geology.

The third area that is beginning to be promising is in the Beaufort Sea. We now have seven producible well determinations in the Beaufort Sea, off the north slope of Alaska. I think that we would probably judge those not to be economic at current prices, but it's certainly very promising from the standpoint of the prospectiveness of that area. At higher prices, it looks like you're going to have producible oil up in that area.

Mr. YATES. Is this an area where you have a very limited time period for development?

Mr. BETTENBERG. For exploratory drilling. You have two types of drilling going on there.

Some of it can go on year-round locked into the ice. This is either in fairly shallow water with islands that are built of either ice or gravel or with ships that are strengthened to withstand the ice.

The ice free season for more conventional drilling is relatively short, maybe three months or so during late summer and early fall.

STATUS OF DEVELOPMENT OFF CALIFORNIA

Finally, we've had steady progress in California, in the offshore areas there.

Mr. YATES. Where is that in California?
Mr. BETTENBERG. In the areas previously leased.

Mr. YATES. You'll be interested to know—the delegation is still interested in a moratorium. I thought you might like to know that.

Mr. BETTENBERG. Well, some of the delegation is, yes.
Mr. YATES. Oh. [Laughter.]

Mr. BETTENBERG. But I would hope that they would stand by the agreement reached with this Committee two years ago on the schedule for leasing there.

Mr. YATES. Well, they of course take the position that the Secretary didn't stand by it.

Mr. BETTENBERG. Well, you recall that one was never announced as an agreement. It was announced as a preliminary agreement subject to a couple of conditions.

Mr. YATES. You said a few moments ago that you hope they'll stand by the agreement.

Mr. BETTENBERG. Well, the agreement reached with this Committee in 1987 was that we would do a number of special things in terms of analysis of California. It was put into legislation that we would do that. It was also agreed that we would not offer leases in Northern California before January of next year. That was agreed to, so far as I know, by essentially everybody in the delegation, both those who favor leasing and those who oppose it. It was agreed to by this Committee, and codified in the appropriation measure, so I would hope that everybody would stand by that arrangement.

EPA COMMENTS ON SALE 91 EIS

Mr. YATES. Mr. Bettenberg, while we're talking about California, here's a letter from EPA Office of Federal Activities addressed to you on March 18, 1988 in which they indicate there's some difficulty with the EIS. It says this:

The Environmental Protection Agency, in accordance with its responsibilities under NEPA and section 309 of the Clean Air Act, has reviewed the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil Gas Lease Sale 91 offshore Northern California.

The proposed lease sale encompasses approximately four percent (1.1 million acres) of the Northern California OCS Planning Area Ranging from 3 to 27 miles offshore, in water depths from 30 to about 1,850 meters. The sale is tentatively scheduled for February 1989. In addition to the proposed action (Alternative I), the DEIS presents three other alternatives: Alternative II – No Sale; Alternative IIIoffer only the Blocks in the Eel River Basin; and Alternative IV-Offer only the Blocks in the Point Arena basin. The estimated oil resources are 0.4 billion barrels and 0.82 trillion cubic feet of gas, with a 51 percent chance of finding it.

EPA's major concerns with the proposed alternative fall into two categories: (1) the potential impacts of the proposed alternative, without stipulations, as projected in the DEIS; and (2) the potential significant impacts of an oil spill on the land and marine resources of the Northern California coast, particularly on the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and on the Point Reyes Wilderness Area.

Now, what can you tell us about that?

Incidentally, I'm going to put this entire letter and the attachment into the record at this point.

[The letter follows:)

a

[graphic]

United States
Environmental Protection
Agency

Exterrai Altars 4. OOAE
Washington DC 20460

Federal Activities

SEPA

MAR 1 8 1988

Mr. William Bettenberg
Director
Minerals Management Service
Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Mr. Bettenberg:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in accordance with its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 309 of the Clean Air Act, has reviewed the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the proposed Outer Continental shelf (OCS) 011 and Gas Lease Sale 91 offshore Northern California.

The proposed lease sale encompasses approximately 4% (1.1 million acres) of the Northern California OCS Planning Area ranging from 3 to 27 miles offshore, in water depths from 30 to about 1850 meters. The sale is tentatively scheduled for February, 1989. In addition to the proposed action (Alternative I), the DEIS presents three other alternatiyesi Alterattve IT--NO Sale; Alternative III--Offer Baly the Block in the Eel River Basin; and Alternative IV--Offer only the Blöcks In Ehe Point Arena Basin. The estimated oil resources (conditional economically recoverable hydrocarbon resources) are 0.4 billion barrels (bbls) and 0.82 trillion cubic feet of gas, with a 51% chance of finding 1t (marginal probability of commercial hydrocarbons).

EPA's major concerns with the proposed alternative fall into two categories: (1) the potential impacts of the proposed alternative, without stipulations, as projected in the DEIS; and (2) the potent tal significant Californit coisil on the land and marine resources of the Northern

particularly on the Gulf of the 'Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Point Reyes wilderness Area (Farallones/Point Reyes). The enclosed detailed comments develop these issues in greater depth, and raise a number of other issues of concern. PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE AND POSSIBLE STIPULATIONS

The DEIS analyzes all the stipulations involved in California oil and gas lease sales 73 and 80, in addition to other possible stipulations/ mitigation measures. The DEIS states that the Secretary has committed "to include levels of protection similar to those included in Sales 73 and 80 in individual lease sales as proposed by Governor Deukmejian"

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(e.g., p. 1-41 and p. 11-16 of the DEIS). The DEIS also states that
the levels of protection similar to those agreed to for Sales 73 and 80
have been committed by the Secretary for this and all future California
sales“ (p. 1-37), and that inclusion of such levels of protection "has
been accomplished for proposed Sale 91" (p. 1-41, last sentence).

Notwithstanding that language and the Secretary's commitment, the stipulations are expressly not part of the proposed action {p. 11-16). Thus, the impact analysis in the DEIS does not assume that the proposed stipulations are in piace. Accordingly, EPA's analysis and expressed concerns relate to the proposed action (Alternative I), without the consideration of any mitigation that may be provided by stipulations that may be included in the Final Notice of Sale.

EPA strongly recommends inclusion of the stipulations discussed in the DEIS. We also suggest that the final EIS provide a detailed assessment of the efficacy of the stipulations in reducing the impacts to the various resource categories. Inclusion of those stipulations, and the assessment of their efficacy, would resolve most of EPA's concerns with non-011-spillrelated impacts. OIL SPILL RISKS

Assuming commercial oil is found, there is (over the 25-year 11fe of the project) a 75% chance of a spill greater than 1000 barrels, and a 47% chance of a spill greater than 10,000 barrels. The conditional probability of an oil spill contacting areas having significant resource values is high for this proposed sale. In particular, for the Farallones/Point Reyes area, there is a 57% chance of contact from a spill within 30 days.

EPA agrees with the DEIS that there does "appear to be a significant potential risk to the biological resources of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary" from an oil spill (p. 11-29). Inclusion of the proposed stipulations are not expected to change that risk level.

In order to mitigate the threat of an oil spill contacting the Farallonęst Point Reyes area, EPA recommends that MMS include a new atrernative that analyzes deletion of the southern portion of the Point Arena Basin, or such other actions that would reduce the probability that an oil spill (were it to occur) would contact the Farallones/Point Reyes area. We also suggest that, either as part of this new alternative or as a separate alternative, that is analyze the effects of providing a buffett i ndng "portions of the coast so as to reduce the risk of contact to the Noyo-14105 R sets the Navarro River and Point Arena. SUMMARY OF DETAILED COMMENTS

The enclosed detailed comments are directed toward improving the adequacy of the DEIS' information base. Comments are directed towards: oil spill analysis; ofl spill cleanup; the information base on the biological and physical environments; ocean dumping; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits; and air quality considerations.

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Finally, we note MMS' commitment to develop "a full environmental review, including a cumulative impact analysts" that would provide site-specific analyses in support of any exploration and development programs that may result from the proposed lease sale (pp. 1-26, 27). EPA concurs in the need for such site-specific analyses prior to approval of any exploration and development plans arising from Sale 91. With regard to development and production, we recommend that such environment al reviews be carried out through preparation of EISS.

EPA has rated the action proposed in the DEIS "E0-2" (Environmental Objections--Insufficient Information). (A sheet describing EPA's rating system is enclosed for your information). As described above, EPA's environmental objections are based on the potential impacts of the proposed action without the mitigating stipulations, and on the risk to the Farallones/ Point Reyes area and other resources likely to be affected by an oil spill.

We would be willing to meet with you to address any questions you may have regarding our comments and concerns. I can be reached at 382-5053. In addition, please feel free to have your staff contact Armand Lepage of my staff (382-5052).

Sincerely,

shuler

Richard E. Sanderson

Director
Office of Federal Activities

Enclosures

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