The federal government has received more than 350,000 comments from the public regarding the development of a comprehensive offshore energy strategy for the Outer Continental Shelf. The comments were received as part of the extended comment period that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar established for the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The public comment period ended Monday. Many of the comments came from four regional meetings that Secretary Salazar hosted in New Jersey, Louisiana, Alaska, and California.
"In the meetings I hosted I was proud to see Americans play an active role in the development of a comprehensive offshore energy strategy for our nation," Salazar said. "I heard broad agreement that we must confront our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, build a clean energy future, and make wise use of the limited resources we have while protecting our land, water, and wildlife."
Following a review and analysis conducted by the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service the next step in the process is to initiate environmental analysis and public scoping opportunities associated with the five year plan, required by law, for oil and gas development in the OCS.