Comment On Regional Programmatic EAs for Marine Sanctuaries

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has prepared four draft programmatic environmental assessments for the proposed continuation of field operations for each region of sites managed by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. NOAA is soliciting public comment on the four regional draft programmatic environmental assessments. Comments on these draft programmatic environmental assessments will be considered by NOAA if received by September 21, 2018. Click here for more information and relevant links.


“OGA awards two UK offshore exploration contracts”

Offshore Magazine published the above titled article, which follows:

“The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded new contracts supported by government funding for programs to stimulate exploration activity on the UK continental shelf (UKCS).

The awards, which followed a competitive tendering process during 1Q 2018, are as follows:

  1. A contract to fund the first year of a four-year UKCS petroleum systems project, to be performed by a consortium of Lloyd’s Register and IGI. The two companies will compile a comprehensive database of legacy geochemical data acquired across the UKCS over the past five decades.

“Do we need an inquiry into how seismic testing impacts sea life?”

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

“John Hammond is a pioneer of Tasmania’s scallop industry, with more than 50 years’ experience.

He has had concerns about marine seismic testing by oil and gas companies for about 10 years — since helping a seismic survey team in Bass Strait.

Seismic testing involves firing soundwaves into the ocean floor to detect the presence of oil or gas reserves.

Hundreds of sonic blasts measure the geology of the seabed in the hopes of finding oil or gas deposits.

“BLM expects ‘minimal impacts’ from seismic testing in ANWR – Pamela King, E&E News reporter”

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

“If history is any indicator, the federal government could find limited impacts from a proposal to image oil and gas resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Bureau of Land Management officials say.

But energy exploration in ANWR’s coastal plain is a largely untested endeavor that requires more scrutiny than BLM appears set to offer, environmental and conservation groups counter.

BLM last week published SAExploration Holdings Inc.’s seismic application on the agency’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) register (Energywire, July 25). The agency has since confirmed that it intends to conduct an environmental assessment (EA) of the proposal.

FWS Proposes Changes  to Regulations Extending Endangered Species Prohibitions to Threatened Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to revise its regulations extending most of the prohibitions for activities involving endangered species to threatened species. For species already listed as a threatened species, the proposed regulations would not alter the applicable prohibitions. The proposed regulations would require the Service, pursuant to section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, to determine what, if any, protective regulations are appropriate for species that the Service in the future determines to be threatened.

FWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before September 24, 2018.

Click here for more details and relevant links.

FWS and NMFS Propose Changes to ESA  Section 7 Consultation Rules

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed to amend portions of their regulations that implement section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The Services are proposing these changes to improve and clarify the inter-agency consultation processes and make them more efficient and consistent. The Services will accept comments from all interested parties until September 24, 2018.

Click here for more detail and relevant links.


A Library of Publications Which Demonstrate That NOAA Acoustic Models Have Not Been Calibrated And Do Not Produce Reproducible Outputs

NOAA is proposing a regulation dealing with takes in the Gulf of Mexico. The regulation is based on the output of models which have not been calibrated and do not produce reproducible results.

The use of such models is illegal under the Data Quality Act.

The Library contains:

(1) Acoustic Guidelines

Demonstrates that that  NOAA Acoustic Guidance only addresses 25% of the  datasets inherent in the regulation of seismic operations and at that, the least consequential of the said datasets.

(2) Models CREM 1

In January 2013 CRE presented to NOAA a report which concluded that:

U.S. Public Meeting Before IWC’s 67th Meeting

The U.S. public meting prior to the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission will be held August 7, 2018, at 9 a.m.  The meeting will be held at the Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring, MD 20910, in the Spring Room.

This meeting will address U.S. Positions.  Any U.S. citizen with an identifiable interest in U.S. whale conservation policy may participate, but NOAA reserves the authority inquire about the interests of any person who appears at the meeting and to determine the appropriateness of that person’s participation.

Click here for more details and relevant links.

Marine Protected Areas Advisory Committee Meets

The U.S. Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee will meet by teleconference on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time (2:00 pm to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time). Additional information can be found on the Committee’s webpage:

Offshore Energy Is Good For Florida

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

“Voters, beware. Florida faces a tough election season this year, with a lengthy ballot and multiple key federal, state and local positions up for grabs. Floridians will be inundated with information over the next few months, and it’s up to us to discern fact from fiction. We should support candidates who have Florida’s best interest in mind and will deliver on policy promises once in office.