KENAI — A few Kenai-area residents turned out Aug. 18 to offer their advice on a draft environmental impact statement for a proposed oil and gas lease sale in Lower Cook Inlet.

The draft, prepared by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency that oversees oil and gas leasing in federal waters, outlines a proposed sale in an area of Cook Inlet beginning south of Kalgin Island and ending at a line extending westward from Seldovia. If the Secretary of the Department of the Interior approves the plan, a lease sale would take place in June 2017.

Mark Storzer, the regional supervisor for BOEM’s Office of Environment in Anchorage, said the EIS will simply set up the structure for a lease sale to take place in the future.

“We always make sure to emphasize with people that this does not mean a lease sale is going to take place,” Storzer said.

The current plan presents 224 blocks, each nine square miles, in the region that would be offered for lease. A number of alternatives accommodate critical habitat for endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales, threatened Northern sea otters and the drift gillnet fishery that operates in the area north of a line extending west from Anchor Point.

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