On December 8, 2014, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed Comments on the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Request for Information on the Development of a Long Term Monitoring Plan for Marine Mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. CRE’s comments made the following and other points.
BOEM and NMFS should not proceed with the LTMP. BOEM and NMFS have correctly concluded that seismic and other Geological and Geophysical activities in the GOM are not hurting marine mammals under current regulation. The Government has successfully regulated GOM G&G for decades without an LTMP. There is no need for one now.
The LTMP cannot be implemented without an Information Collection Request approved by the Office of Management and Budget/Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. BOEM and the National Marine Fisheries Service do not have approved ICRs for the LTMP.
OMB/OIRA should not approve ICRs for the LTMP because the LTMP is not the least burdensome alternative necessary for the proper performance of the Agencies’ duties. Current monitoring requirements are less burdensome and adequate.
If BOEM and NMFS nevertheless proceed with the LTMP, then they will have to demonstrate that the LTMP meets Information Quality Act Guidelines and the Paperwork Reduction Act’s practical utility requirements. Any BOEM or NMFS’ statements that current monitoring requirements are inadequate, and that new more stringent requirements are necessary to protect marine mammals, would violate the IQA Guidelines and practical utility requirements because those statements would be inaccurate.
If BOEM and NMFS nevertheless proceed with the LTMP, then they should perform pre-dissemination review of their compliance with the DQA Guidelines and practical utility requirements. The public should be allowed to comment on this pre-dissemination review before it is final.
Finally, the LTMP would be implemented through rules promulgated by NMFS. Those rules are subject to the requirements of Executive Order 13563, including cost benefit analyses and justifications. Given the success of current regulation, there would be few if any benefits from the LTMP that would justify its costs.
Click here to read CRE’s LTMP comments to BOEM.