CRE Comments on Regulatory Reform and MMPA Take Authorizations

On August 21, 2017, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments with the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service addressing NMFS’ regulation of Marine Mammal Protection Act Take Authorizations. NMFS had asked for such comments as part of NMFS’ proceedings to streamline its regulatory processes and reduce its regulatory burden. CRE’s comments included the following executive summary (footnotes omitted):

“These CRE comments address NMFS’ regulation of MMPA Take Authorizations.
CRE is filing separate comments that address NMFS’ Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultations for pesticides.

CRE Comments on BOEM’s 2019-2014 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program

On August 17, 2017, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on BOEM’s National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024.

CRE’s comments commended several recent Federal Government actions in regulating OCS oil and gas. These actions include opening parts of the Atlantic to offshore seismic exploration.

However, CRE’s comments criticized BOEM and other government agencies for relying on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s recent Acoustic Guidance in their regulation of offshore activities. CRE’s criticism of the Acoustic Guidance is based on several flaws in the Guidance that are discussed in CRE’s comments.

NMFS Seeks Comments on Seismic IHA for Northeastern Pacific Seismic IHA

Institution of Oceanography for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to a low-energy marine geophysical survey in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. Click here for more details and relevant links.

Guidelines on Environmental Impact Assessments for Marine Noise-generating Activities

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) , a United Nations entity, has prepared “Guidelines on Environmental Impact Assessments for Marine Noise-generating Activities.”  These guidelines are available here.

CMS has presented these Guidelines for adoption at COP 12, the Twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, to be held in Manila, October 23-28, 2017.

Click here for more details and relevant links.

4th International Conference and Exhibition on Underwater Acoustics

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

“4th International Conference and Exhibition on Underwater Acoustics (UACE2017)
Sunday, September 03, 2017 – Friday, September 08, 2017 CST

The 4th International Conference and Exhibition on Underwater Acoustics (UACE2017) is to be held during the days 3rd through 8th of September 2017 on the Greek Island of Skiathos (http://www.uaconferences.org). The conference will contain a structured session titled: ‘Acoustics of marine renewable energy developments

This session is being arranged by Philippe Blondel (University of Bath), Paul Lepper (Loughborough University), and Stephen Robinson (NPL).

We are writing to invite you and your organisation to present a paper at this session.

BOEM Publishes Final GOM G&G PEIS

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published BOEM’s Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for evaluating potential environmental effects of geological and geophysical activities in Outer Continental Shelf waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  This PEIS analyzes potential impacts of the proposed action, provides an analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action, and identifies BOEM’s preferred alternative. The Final Programmatic EIS considers G&G activities for BOEM’s three programs, i.e., Oil and Gas, Renewable Energy, and Marine Minerals.  Click here for more details and relevant links.

Article on Atlantic Seismic IHAs

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article by Alan Kovski, Daily Environmental Report, on the IAGC website:

“Five oil and gas service companies are awaiting decisions by the National Marine Fisheries Service on their proposals for Atlantic offshore seismic surveys that could harm whales and other marine life.

The service, which can issue authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, is reviewing a high volume of opposing and supporting public comments that were filed by the July 21 deadline.

Senators Write in Support of OCS Oil; and Gas Leasing

Thirty-six senators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinc. The letter is dated July 26, 2017. It supports the Department of the Interior’s new Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Five-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024. A copy of this letter is available here.

NMFS Seeks Comment on Proposed IHA for Central Pacific Ocean

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing to grant the University of Hawaii for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to a marine geophysical survey in the Central Pacific Ocean. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS requests comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorization, and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision. Comments and information must be received no later than August 23, 2017.

Article on Seismic and Health

The International association of Geophysical contractors published the following article on the IAGC website:

“Geoscience & Health

Published on July 18, 2017

If there is one thing that nearly every person experiences – it is getting sick. We have all had colds or the flu. A sore back. A toothache. We count on our doctors to listen, provide a diagnosis for whatever ails us, and recommend a way forward. But did you know that your health care starts way before the moment when you step into your doctor’s office and she listens to your heart? It might surprise you to learn that geoscience plays an integral, essential role in keeping you, your family, your pets, and the natural world around you in fighting shape.