Marine Protected Areas Advisory Committee Meets

The U.S. Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee will meet by teleconference on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time (2:00 pm to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time). Additional information can be found on the Committee’s webpage: http://marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov/fac.

Offshore Energy Is Good For Florida

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

“Voters, beware. Florida faces a tough election season this year, with a lengthy ballot and multiple key federal, state and local positions up for grabs. Floridians will be inundated with information over the next few months, and it’s up to us to discern fact from fiction. We should support candidates who have Florida’s best interest in mind and will deliver on policy promises once in office.

CEQ Extends NEPA Rules Comment Period

On June 20, 2018, the Council on Environmental Quality published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking titled‘‘Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.’’ The CEQ is extending the comment period on the ANPRM, which was scheduled to close on July 20, 2018,for 31 days until August 20, 2018. The CEQ is making this change in response to public requests for an extension of the comment period.

Comments should be submittedon or before August 20, 2018.

Click here for more information and relevant links.

 

Third JIP Program Review Meeting

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission described this JIP meeting as follows:

“The Joint Industry Programme on Sound and Marine Life is currently in its third research phase. In each phase, the JIP participants have sponsored a Programme review. The first review was held in Houston in 2008, the second in Washington DC in 2012. The third Programme Review meeting is to be held from 9th to 14th September 2018 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This meeting is being held in cooperation with the conference on the Effects of Sound in the Ocean on Marine mammals (ESOMM) being organised by TNO.

“Seismic Surveys & Marine Mammals Joint IOGP/IAGC position paper”

The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers and the International Association of Geophysical Contractors have produced the following position paper:

“The oil and gas and geophysical industries are committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner. This requires thorough attention to the potential impacts on the marine environment, including sounds generated by upstream activity.

This paper focuses on the sound introduced into the marine environment as a result of marine seismic surveys. It discusses potential interactions with marine life, how widely adopted mitigation measures can reduce impact to marine life and how research efforts contribute to improving understanding of effective techniques to avoid any potential negative effects of sound on marine life.”

Comment on NMFS’ Proposed GOM Take Rules

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has seeks public comment on NMFS’ proposed rules for Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys Related to Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico.  Comments on these proposed rules are due to NMFS by August 21, 2018. Click here for more details and relevant links.

 

 

EAGE Workshop on Seismic Survey Marine Effects

On June 15, 2018, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers held a workshop in Copenhagen on the effect of Seismic Surveys on the Marine Environment.  The workshop description stated:

“Marine seismic operations are critical for offshore exploration but are facing increasingly stricter environmental legislation. While some mitigation measures are being implemented to protect marine mammals, this topic still receives considerable attention from the seismic industry, regulators and environmental stakeholders. This workshop aims to stimulate discussion with invited experts on the effect of anthropogenic sound on marine life, environmental legislation, industry best practices, underwater sound propagation, latest technological developments and on-going research programmes.

NMFS Issues IHA to Scripps for Northwest Atlantic

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an incidental harassment authorization to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to take marine mammals incidental to a low-energy marine geophysical survey in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. NMFS has issued this IHA under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. This IHA is valid forone year from the date of issuance.

Click here for more detail and relevant links.

 

 

 

 

MNFS’ Draft Proposed GOM Take Rules

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service published a discussion of its draft proposed rules for “Taking marine Mammal incidental to Geophysical Surveys in the Gulf of Mexico.”  This NMFS discussion includes a draft

–“Statement of Need”

–“Summary of the Legal Basis”

–“Alternatives”

–“Anticipated Costs and Benefits” and

–“Risks”

This discussion has probably been changed since it was published in late 2017. Since then, the draft proposed rules have been reviewed by OMB/OIRA. As of June 20, 2018, NMFS has not yet published any proposed GOM Take Rules for comment.

Click here to read this discussion.

“Why is NOAA still dithering on allowing seismic surveys?”

The Washington Examiner recently published the following article:

“A thousand days later, why is NOAA still dithering on allowing seismic surveys?

by Nikki Martin and Randall Luthi

It has been more than a thousand days since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries accepted as “final and complete” the Incidental Harassment Authorization, or IHA, applications needed to take seismic surveys off the Atlantic Coast.

Considering that the Marine Mammal Protection Act, or MMPA, requires agencies to issue decisions within 120 days after deeming IHA applications complete, this delay is a shocking policy failure.