Coast Guard Withdrawing Proposed Rules for Outer Continental Shelf Activities

The U.S. Coast Guard is withdrawing its proposed rule entitled ‘‘Outer Continental Shelf Activities’’ that they published on December 7, 1999. The Coast Guard is withdrawing this proposed rule due to the passage of time, advances in technology, and changes in industry practices that have rendered the proposed rule obsolete.

In their NPRM, the Coast Guard proposed revisions of their Outer Continental Shelf regulations that pertain to workplace safety and health on vessels and facilities engaged in the exploration for, or development or production of, minerals on the OCS. The Coast Guard initiated this rulemaking in response to the various advances that had changed the nature of the offshore industry since the last major revision of our OCS regulations in 1982.

NMFS Issues IHA to L-DEO for North Pacific Ocean

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an incidental harassment authorization to Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University to incidentally take, by Level A and/or Level B harassment, marine mammals during a Marine Geophysical Survey in the North Pacific Ocean. This Authorization is effective from September 1, 2018, through August 31, 2019. This authorization is issued under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Click here for more information and relevant dates.




Nominate Members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is soliciting nominations for members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board. The SAB is the only Federal Advisory Committee with the responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans, Atmosphere, and NOAA Administrator on long- and short-range strategies for research,education, and application of science to resource management and environmental assessment and prediction. The SAB consists of approximately fifteen members reflecting the full breadth of NOAA’s areas of responsibility, and assists NOAA in maintaining a complete and accurate understanding of scientific issues critical to the agency’s missions. Nominations must be received by NOAA by October 15, 2018.

Register for Offshore Legal Issues Workshop

The IAGC-IADC MMPA/Offshore Legal Issues Workshop is scheduled for Thursday, October 25, 2018 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM EST, at TGS, 10451 Clay Rd ,Houston, TX 77041. Click here to register.



CRE Comments on NOAA’s Proposed Take Rules for Oil and Gas Seismic in the Gulf of Mexico

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments that criticized NOAA’s use of inaccurate and unreliable models to estimate takes from GOM seismic.  CRE’s comments explained that these inaccurate and unreliable models greatly overestimate takes, have no correlation with reality, and violate the Data Quality Act.  CRE’s comments recommended that NOAA take the following actions (footnotes omitted):

“Until and unless peer review determines that the models are accurate and properly validated, NOAA should use Line Transect to estimate exposures and takes.

NOAA should also:

(1) use Wood et al (2012) instead of Nowacek et al (2015) for Level B takes.

NMFS Seeks Vomment on Navy IHA for Beaufort and Chukchi

The U.S. National marine Fisheries Service has received a request from the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to Arctic Research Activities in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. Comments and information must be received by NMFS no later than September 13, 2018.  Click here for more details and relevant links.





Enviros Sue NMFS Over Orca Critical Habitat

The Center for Biological Diversity to hold the government accountable for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act by not acting on a 2014 petition filed by CBD that sought to expand “critical habitat” areas for the orcas from Puget Sound waters to include the coastline down to near San Francisco.The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, names the National Marine Fisheries Service, its  West Coast regional administrator, and the U.S. secretary of Commerce as defendants. It said the Fisheries Service had agreed in February 2015 that expanding the protection zone for the orcas was “warranted,” but has since failed to take action, putting the orcas at greater risk of extinction. Click here to read a Seattle Times article about the lawsuit.

Comment On Regional Programmatic EAs for Marine Sanctuaries

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has prepared four draft programmatic environmental assessments for the proposed continuation of field operations for each region of sites managed by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. NOAA is soliciting public comment on the four regional draft programmatic environmental assessments. Comments on these draft programmatic environmental assessments will be considered by NOAA if received by September 21, 2018. Click here for more information and relevant links.


“OGA awards two UK offshore exploration contracts”

Offshore Magazine published the above titled article, which follows:

“The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded new contracts supported by government funding for programs to stimulate exploration activity on the UK continental shelf (UKCS).

The awards, which followed a competitive tendering process during 1Q 2018, are as follows:

  1. A contract to fund the first year of a four-year UKCS petroleum systems project, to be performed by a consortium of Lloyd’s Register and IGI. The two companies will compile a comprehensive database of legacy geochemical data acquired across the UKCS over the past five decades.

“Do we need an inquiry into how seismic testing impacts sea life?”

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article on the IAGC website:

“John Hammond is a pioneer of Tasmania’s scallop industry, with more than 50 years’ experience.

He has had concerns about marine seismic testing by oil and gas companies for about 10 years — since helping a seismic survey team in Bass Strait.

Seismic testing involves firing soundwaves into the ocean floor to detect the presence of oil or gas reserves.

Hundreds of sonic blasts measure the geology of the seabed in the hopes of finding oil or gas deposits.