BSEE Approves Updated Permit for Exploration Activities in Arctic Waters

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has issued the following press release:

“WASHINGTON — After extensive review and under a robust array of safety requirements, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno today announced that Shell has received approval of one Application for Permit to Modify (APM) to conduct exploratory drilling activities into potential oil-bearing zones offshore Alaska at one of the wells at the Burger Prospect, Burger J.  The company remains limited to the top section of the Burger V well.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has Issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to ExxonMobil Alaska LNG LLC.  This IHA authorizes the take of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to a geophysical and geotechnical survey in Cook Inlet, AK, for 84 days between August 14, 2015 and August 13, 2016. This IHA is effective August 14, 2015, through August 13, 2016.

NMFS’ Federal Register notice of this IHA includes the following public comment and NMFS’ response to it:

“Comment 1: One private citizen requested that we deny issuance of the IHA because marine mammals would be killed as a result of the survey.

BOEM Intends to prepare Supplemental EIS for Gulf of Mexico Central Planning Area

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management BOEM has announced its intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Central Planning Area (CPA) Oil and Gas Lease Sale 247 (CPA 247 Supplemental EIS).

Registration for International Regulator’s Forum Conference

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has sent out the following invitation to register at the International Regulator’s Forum Conference:

2015 International Regulator’s Forum Conference Registration Now Open

08/14/2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) will host the 2015 International Regulators’ Forum (IRF) Offshore Safety Conference: “Risk Reduction: From Desktop to Deck Plate,” on October 19-20, at the Liaison Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Registration for the event is now open HERE.

NMFS Issues Navy Pacific LOAs

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued four 1-year Letters of Authorization to the U.S. Navy to take marine mammals by harassment incidental to their military readiness activities associated with the routine training, testing, and military operations of Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System Low Frequency Active sonar within the northwest Pacific Ocean and the north central Pacific Ocean. These Authorizations are effective from August 15, 2015, through August 14, 2016.

Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice of this action.

IUCN Call for Applications to Serve on Independent Whale Panel

The international union for Conservation of Nature is calling for Applications from independent experts to serve on the IUCN’s Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP).

The Panel has provided independent scientific and technical advice and recommendations on ways to minimize impacts on western gray whales from oil and gas development offshore Russia’s Sakhalin Island, just north of Japan, for the last 10 years.

IUCN is now seeking to recruit between 6-10 experts to serve on the Panel for a 15-month period from 1 October 2015 to 31 December 2016.

NMFS Issues MMPA Take Regulations for Navy’s Training and Testing Activities in Mariana Islands

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals by the U.S. Navy incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Study Area. These regulations allow NMFS to issue a Letter of Authorization for the incidental take of marine mammals during the Navy’s specified activities and timeframes. These regulations also set forth the permissible methods of taking; set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat; and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take. These regulations are effective August 3, 2015 through August 3, 2020.

CRE’s Initial Comments to NAS Cumulative Effects on Marine Mammals Committee

The National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board, which is part of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, has convened a committee that will conduct a workshop and review the present scientific understanding of cumulative effects of anthropogenic stressors on marine mammals with a focus on anthropogenic sound. The committee will assess current methodologies used for evaluating cumulative effects and identify new approaches that could improve these assessments. The committee will examine theoretical and field methods used to assess the effect of anthropogenic stressors for:

  • Short or infrequent exposure in the context of other known stressors (i.e. multiple stressors, both natural and anthropogenic); and