Protection of Marine Archaeological Resources

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BOEM proposes to require lessees and operators to submit an archaeological report with any oil and gas exploration or development plan they submit to BOEM for approval of activities proposed on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). An archaeological report is currently required only if the plan covers an area that a BOEM Regional Director has reason to believe may contain an archaeological resource. This proposed rule would increase the likelihood that archaeological resources are located and identified before they are inadvertently damaged by an OCS operator, thereby assuring compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This proposed rule would define the minimum level of survey information necessary to support the conclusions in the archaeological report, the procedure for reporting possible archaeological resources, the procedure for continuing operations when a possible resource is present, and what to do if an unanticipated archaeological resource is discovered during operation.

Your comments on the substance of this rulemaking must be received by BOEM on or before April 17, 2023. BOEM may not consider comments received after this date. Your comments on the information collection (IC) burden in this rulemaking must be received by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and BOEM on or before March 17, 2023. The IC deadline does not affect the deadline for public comments on the substance of the proposed regulations.

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