On November 18, 2015, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the National Marine Fisheries Service comments on a Long Term Monitoring Plan for oil and gas seismic in the Gulf of Mexico. In the same document, CRE petitioned BOEM and NMFS to comply with Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 during the agencies’ consideration of an LTMP and GoM Take Rules under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
CRE’s comments and petition contained the following executive summary:
“The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) and National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) should not proceed with the LTMP for the following reasons.
First, BOEM and NMFS lack statutory authority to require industry to develop an LTMP, pay for it, and/or comply with it.
Second, BOEM and NMFS have correctly concluded that seismic and other Geological and Geophysical (“G&G”) activities in the Gulf of Mexico (“G0M”) 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.
Third, the LTMP cannot be implemented without an Information Collection Request (“ICR”) approved by the Office of Management and Budget/Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”). BOEM and NMFS do not have approved ICRs for the LTMP. 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.
Fourth, The LTMP does not meet Information Quality Act (“IQA”) Guidelines and other ICR requirements.
If BOEM and NMFS do continue with the LTMP, then CRE petitions the agencies to comply with Executive Orders 13563 AND 12866 by treating the LTMP as a significant rule under those Orders.
Regardless of whether BOEM and NMFS continue with the LTMP, CRE petitions the agencies to comply with Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 by treating any Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”) Take Rules for GOM G&G (“GOM Take Rules”) as significant rules under those Orders.
Regardless of whether BOEM and NMFS treat the LTMP and GOM Take Rules as significant rules, CRE petitions the agencies to comply with Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 by assessing the economic costs and benefits of the LTMP and GOM Take Rules, and by determining whether their benefits justify their costs.”