Comment on MMPA Rules for Navy Operations in the Hawaii-Southern California Area

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) to extend the time period from December 2023 to December 2025 for Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area. NMFS has published Federal Register notice of its intent to grant the Navy’s request. NMFS’ notice reads in part as follows:

Enviros Sue NOAA/NMFS Over Cook Inlet Take rules

On September 4, 2019, Cook Inletkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit challenging NOAA/NMFS’ issuance of Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) “Take” rules for Hilcorp Alaska LLC’s offshore oil and gas operations in Cook Inlet, Alaska. The complaint alleges violations of the MMPA, NEPA, and the Endangered Species Act. The filed complaint is available here.


“Breaking through the noise: Sound and Marine Life JIP sponsorsmarine research conference”

An International Association of Oil & Gas Producers website posted the above-titled article, which reads as follows:

“Sound and Marine Life Joint Industry Programme (JIP) recently sponsored the ‘Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life 2019 conference’, which took place in Den Haag in The Netherlands.

‘We were pleased to sponsor this conference as its key focus closely matches ours – scientific research into marine animals and potential effects of sound, and several of the JIP funded scientists presented their work,’ says Wendy Brown, IOGP Environment Director. ‘It provided us with the opportunity to promote a number of our recently published scientific research projects.’

“Congressman Johnson seeks to end ‘government overregulation’ with reintroduction of Sea Act”

Editor’s note: the International Association of Geophysical contractors published the above-titled article, which was originally published in the Bossier Press-Tribune.  The article reads as follows:

“WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) reintroduced the Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act (SEA Act) to increase efficiency in the lengthy permit approval processes that have caused setbacks and delays for those working to preserve America’s rapidly deteriorating coastline, interrupted U.S. Naval operations and deterred offshore oil and gas exploration.

The bill reduces excessive government regulations developed over more than 45 years under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).

Court Denies Without Prejudice Preliminary Injunction Motions in Atlantic IHA Litigation

Various groups of plaintiffs challenged NOAA/NMFS’ issuance of Marine Mammal Protection Act Incidental Harassment Authorizations for oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. The plaintiffs’ challenges were filed in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. The plaintiffs filed motions for preliminary injunctions against the Government. On August 26, 2019, the court entered an order denying all the preliminary injunction motions without prejudice to file again. The court dismissed the motions because the plaintiffs’ had not demonstrated imminent harm.  In the court’s own words:

Moods ‘Upbeat’ Heading into GoM Lease Sale -NOIA

Editor’s note: Offshore Engineer posted the above-titled article, which reads as follows:

“Sentiment in the US offshore oil and gas industry is ‘generally upbeat’ heading into the nation’s next Gulf of Mexico lease sale, according to trade association National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).

On Wednesday in New Orleans, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer 77.8 million acres for a region-wide lease sale, including all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

“IJMS Editor’s Choice – Seismic surveys do not significantly harm Calanus finmarchicus”

Editor’s note: The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea posted the above titled article, which reads as follows:

“The latest Editor’s Choice article from the ICES Journal of Marine Science is now available. Here, read about how seismic surveys have limited effects on Calanus finmarchicus, a keystone copepod species in the North Atlantic.”

“Seismic surveys use airguns that emit low frequency high magnitude sound to detect subsea resources and to map seabed geology. Such surveys are often conducted in areas that support high-value fisheries and sometimes within or near the spawning grounds of commercially or ecologically important species, creating spatial and resource use conflicts between stakeholders. Although underreported, the extent of seismic surveys is significant. For example, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate estimates that the extent of seismic surveys in the Norwegian Exclusive Economic Zone is about 133 000 vessel kilometres per year.

Comment on NMFS’ Proposed Modification of LOA for Oil and Gas Seismic in Cook Inlet

Editor’s note:  The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service published a Federal Register notice that reads in part as follows:

“The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service is requesting comments on its proposal to modify a Letter of Authorization issued to Hilcorp Alaska LLC (Hilcorp) to take marine mammals incidental to oil and gas activities in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

NMFS must receive an comments and information by no later than September 16, 2019.

NMFS issued regulations governing the take of eleven species of marine mammals, by Level A and Level B harassment, incidental to Hilcorp’s oil and gas activities on July 31, 2019; 84 FR 37442). These regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental take of marine mammals during the specified activities.

Nominations to the Marine Mammal Scientific Review Groups

As required by of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the U.S.

Secretary of Commerce established three independent regional scientific review groups to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. The U.S. National Marine fisheries Service conducted a membership review of the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific SRGs, and is soliciting nominations for new members to fill vacancies and gaps in expertise.

SRGs members are highly qualified individuals with expertise in marine mammal

“AOP 2019”

Editor’s note:  The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the above-titled notice on an IAGC website. The notice reads as follows:

“Wednesday, October 09, 2019 8:00 AM – Friday, October 11, 2019 6:00 PM

Cape Town, South Africa

Africa Oil & Power (AOP) is Africa’s Energy Conference. Now the official conference of the Department of Energy (DoE) of South Africa, AOP will be held this year at the CTICC 1 in Cape Town on October 9-11, 2019. Join Africa’s oil, gas and power leaders for the year’s premier energy event.