OMB Reviews Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Boundary Expansion

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries conducted scoping in association with the Management Plan Review of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary). Among the actions identified by this scoping was to expand the Sanctuary and apply regulations to the new areas. In order to accomplish this goal, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is developing a draft environmental impact statement to expand the network of protected areas within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary by incorporating selected reefs and banks in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico for their long-term protection and management. This action would extend sanctuary regulations currently in place in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, as well as several new regulations to the expanded areas.

OMB Still Reviewing NOAA/NMFS’ Proposed Rules for Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys Related to Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico

The U.S. National Marine Service is developing these rules in response to an October 17, 2016, petition from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, to promulgate regulations governing the authorization of take of marine mammals incidental to oil and gas industry geophysical surveys conducted in support of hydrocarbon exploration and development on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico from approximately 2018 through 2023.

As of May 23, 2018, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget is still reviewing these proposed rules under Executive Order 12866.

Click here for OMB’s review website.

PAM Workshop

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article on its website:

“International Workshop on Detection, Classification, Localization, and Density Estimation of marine mammals using passive acoustics

 Monday, June 04, 2018 – Friday, June 08, 2018CST

 The 8th session of the International Workshop on Detection, Classification, Localization, and Density Estimation of marine mammals using passive acoustics (DCLDE Workhsop) will be held from 4 to 8 June 2018, in Paris, FRANCE.

Scientific topics given by oral presentations and posters will be:

– detection of pulsed and harmonic sounds

– classification of diverse sounds including clicks, whisles and vocalizations

Scientist Warn Against Losing A Crucial Research Ship: The National Science Foundation ‘Has Betrayed Us

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors published the following article on its website:

“’Scientist Warn Against Losing A Crucial Research Ship: The National Science Foundation ‘Has Betrayed Us’

By Ben Guarino May 7, 2018

Marine scientists are bracing for the loss of the world-class research vessel Marcus G. Langseth. The National Science Foundation plans to sell the 235-foot ship in 2020, according to a “Dear Colleague” letter published on the agency’s website last month. Without a vessel to replace the Langseth, ocean seismologists fear their field will suffer.

BOEM Reopens Comment Period for Proposed Sale in the Beaufort Sea Planning Area

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a Call for Information and Nominations in the Federal Register on March 30, 2018, covering a proposed sale in the Beaufort Sea Planning Area in late 2019, as included in the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program, which BOEM announced on January 4, 2018. That notice had a comment period deadline of April 30, 2018. Several stakeholders contacted BOEM and requested additional time to submit a comment.

Comment on MMPA Take Regulations for Beaufort Drilling and Production Island

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a request from Hilcorp Alaska, LLC for authorization to take small numbers of marine mammals incidental to the construction and operation of the Liberty Drilling and Production Island

in Foggy Island Bay, Beaufort Sea, Alaska, over the course of five years from the date of issuance. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS is announcing receipt of Hilcorp’s request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals.

NMFS invites thepublic to provide information,suggestions, and comments on Hilcorp’sapplication and request.Comments and information mustbe received by NMFS no later than June 8, 2018.

NMFS Proposes Scripps Take Authorization for Seismic Survey in Northwest Atlantic Ocean

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to issue the Scripps Institution of Oceanography an incidental harassment authorization to incidentally take marine mammals during specified activities.This proposed IHA authorizes Scripps to take marine mammals incidental to a low-energy marine geophysical survey in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act NMFS is requesting comments on this proposal. NMFS must receive any public comments by May 29, 2018.

Click here go for more details and relevant links.

 

 

 

 

 

NMFS Issues IHA for Cook Inlet Pipeline

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an incidental harassment authorization to Harvest Alaska, LLC , to incidentally take, by Level Bharassment, eight species of marine mammals incidental to oil and gas pipeline installation activities associated with the Cook Inlet Pipeline Cross Inlet Extension Project,

Cook Inlet, Alaska. The IHA is valid from April 25,2018, through April 24, 2019.

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-05-02/pdf/2018-09242.pdf

 

 

CRE Comments on NOAA’s Proposed Navy Take rules for the Atlantic

On October 25, 2018, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments on the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Proposed Navy Take Rules for the Atlantic.  CRE’s Executive Summary of its comments reads as follows:

“The Navy Take Rules use and rely on ‘NMFS 2016 Acoustic Technical Guidance.’ This use and reliance is mistaken for the following and other reasons:

  • NOAA is considering rescinding or revising the Acoustic Guidance;
  • Several Industry groups have identified significant Data Quality flaws in the Acoustic Guidance;
  •  CRE has also identified significant Data Quality flaws in the Acoustic Guidance; and

Seismic Comeback

Several articles have identified a comeback in the offshore seismic industry in 2018.  For example, an article on Rigzone stated in part:

“Oslo-listed seismic data provider TGS, a key supplier to the oil industry, reported first-quarter revenues far above forecasts as markets continue to improve, it said on Tuesday, sending its share price surging….

‘With all regions performing above our expectations, we see this as another sign of an underlying improvement in the market,’ Chief Executive Kristian Johansen said in a statement….