CRE’s September 27, 2017 comments to NMFS criticized NMFS’ intended use of its Acoustic Guidance for the following and other reasons.
First, the Acoustic Guidance may not exist much longer. The Department of Commerce and NOAA are in the middle of a process to determine whether to rescind or revise the Guidance.
Second, OMB has not authorized an Information Collection Request (“ICR”) for the Acoustic Guidance. NMFS cannot force anyone to use the Acoustic Guidance, or penalize anyone for not using the Acoustic Guidance, without an OMB-approved ICR for it.
Third, the Acoustic Guidance is a significant rule that violates Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 because it has not been sent to OMB/OIRA for review and because it is not supported by a cost benefit analysis.
Fourth, the Acoustic Guidance is flawed by several violations of the Information Quality Act.
Fifth, the Acoustic Guidance was developed in violation of OMB’s Peer Review Bulletin.
Sixth, Industry filed combined comments with NMFS, which demonstrate that the Acoustic Guidance is improperly applied to impulsive sound sources like oil and gas seismic airguns. The Acoustic Guidance is based on non-impulsive U.S. Navy sonar, which is radically different from industry impulsive sound like oil and gas seismic airguns.
Seventh, The Joint Nature Conservation Committee filed comments with NMFS that identify major flaws in the Acoustic Guidance’s spreadsheet.
For these and other reasons, NMFS should not use the Acoustic Guidance for this EA or any other purpose. Nor should NMFS require that ITA applicants use the Acoustic Guidance or penalize applicants for not using it.