PAME 2020 Meeting: September 2020 Anchorage

PAME II – 2020

22 Sep-24 Sep 2020
Anchorage, Alaska, USA

By invitation only.

BOEM Publishes SEIS Record of Decision for GOM Lease Sale 254

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published its Record of Decision for its proposed Gulf of Mexico region wide oil and gas Lease Sale 254. This Record of Decision identifies BOEM’s selected alternative for proposed Lease Sale 254, which is analyzed in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Lease Sale: Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement 2018 (2018 GOM Supplemental EIS).  Click here more information and relevant links.

NMFS Issues Incidental Harassment Authorization to Navy for Ice Exercise Activities in the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an IHA to the United States Department of the Navy to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals during submarine training and testing activities associated with Ice Exercise 2020 (ICEX20) north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The Navy’s activities are considered military readiness activities pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004

This authorization is effective from February 1, 2020, through January 31, 2021.

Click here for more information and relevant links.

“US crude imports fall to lowest point since 1994: EIA”

S & P Global Platts published the above-titled article, which reads in part as follows:

“In its Petroleum Supply Monthly report Tuesday, EIA [U.S. Energy Information Administration] said that crude oil imports in the US Gulf Coast fell to 1.22 million b/d in October, its lowest monthly average since February 1985.

Total US imports of crude oil from OPEC countries fell below 1.2 million b/d, also the lowest since February 1985. Crude imports from Persian Gulf countries fell to 671,000 b/d in October, a 53% decline from October 2018, EIA said.

NMFS Authorizes Navy’s Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Navy’s Training and Testing Activities in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued final Letters of Authorization pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act to govern the U.S. Navy’s taking of marine mammals incidental to the training and testing activities conducted in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area over the course of seven years, effectively extending the time period from November 13, 2023, to November 13, 2025. In August 2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for seven-year authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to the previously allowed five years. The Navy’s activities qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004.

BOEM Rescinds Notice of Intent to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for GOM

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has notified  the public that BOEM is rescinding the Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the OCS Gulf of Mexico (GOM) lease sales for 2020 and subsequent GOM lease sales through 2022

Cambria’s notice of this action reads in part as follows:

“On December 26, 2018, BOEM published a NOI to initiate the environmental review to inform the decisions for the two proposed lease sales scheduled in 2020 and the subsequent lease sales through 2022. The proposed lease sales include the Western and Central Planning Areas, and a small portion of the Eastern Planning Area not subject to Congressional moratorium.

CRE Comments on BOEM’s Seismic Permit ICR

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments on the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Information Collection Request to implement BOEM’s permitting program for oil and gas seismic operations in the Outer Continental Shelf. For reasons explained in these comments, CRE asked BOEM to withdraw its petition to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service to issue a regulation governing the taking of marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. This requested BOEM action is required not only by the Information Quality Act but also by the Paperwork Reduction Act, which governs the issuance of the Information Collection Request for which BOEM is seeking public comment.  Click here to read all of CRE’s comments.

Comment on Changes in Atlantic Seismic IHA

On November 30, 2018, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service issued an IHA in the Atlantic Ocean to ION GeoVentures, pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). NMFS has received a request, co-signed by officers from ION GeoVentures (ION) and GX Technology Corporation (GXT), to administratively change the name of the holder of the subject IHA from ION to GXT. No other changes are proposed. NMFS is inviting comments on the proposed change.  NMFS must receive comments by January 2, 2020.  Click here for more details and relevant links.

Comment on NMFS’ New SARs

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service NMFS has reviewed the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regional marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). SARs for marine mammals in the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions were revised according to new information.  NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 2019 SARs.

In addition to releasing draft 2019 Pacific SARs for public comment, NMFS is also providing an opportunity to comment on the final 2018 Western North Pacific (WNP) gray whale SAR previously published in the Federal Register on June 19, 2019 (84 FR 28489). NMFS is also requesting new information for strategic stocks that were not updated in 2019. Comments must be received by NMFS by February 25, 2020.

Extended Deadline for GOM Seismic Take Rules

A New Orleans federal district court has extended until December 5, 2019, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service’s deadline for publishing final Take rules for Marine Mammals in the Gulf of Mexico.  These rules would be published under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.  In their stipulated motion to the court, the parties to the case characterize this as an “interim” extension to allow for discussions that may culminate in a stipulated and presumably longer extension of the settlement agreement.  Click here to read the parties’ motion for an extension, which the court granted.