Enviros File Summary Judgment Motion against BOEM Lease Sales in Gulf of Mexico

Oceana, Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, and Natural Resources Defense Council have sued the Ocean Energy Management Bureau in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. These plaintiffs claim that BOEM’s approval of Lease Sales 218 and 216/222 for the sale of new oil and gas leases in the Western and Central Planning Areas of the Gulf of Mexico relied on a flawed Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act and failed to comply with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. On June 28, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a summary judgment motion in support of their claims.
The plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion
is available online at http://thecre.com/pdf/mmoceana.pdf

NMFS Asks for Comment on Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Regulations

The National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed rules amending the current regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. This proposed rule revises the management measures for reducing the incidental mortality and serious injury to the North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, and fin whale in commercial trap/pot and gillnet fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. The measures identified in the Plan are also intended to benefit minke whale, which are not strategic, but are known to be taken incidentally in commercial fisheries. NMFS wants comments on or before September 16, 2013.

NMFS Rejects MMC Request that Navy Use PAM During Daylight Hours

NMFS has issued the Navy an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting Acoustic Technology Experiments in the western North Pacific Ocean. This authorization is effective from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.

The Marine Mammal Commission had recommended that NMFS require the Navy to use passive acoustic monitoring continually during the experiments to supplement daytime visual monitoring. NMFS rejected this MMC recommendation because “NMFS does not believe that supplementing visual monitoring with passive acoustic monitoring during daytime hours will add to the protection of marine mammals in the vast majority of cases, as the location of a marine mammal cannot be identified using a single sound recorder.”

More Regulation With No Scientific Basis: The Impact of Sue and Settle Litigation on Energy Independence

Editor’s Note:   The Sue and Settle litigation resulted in a settlement notwithstanding the fact that repeated studies by the US government has demonstrated that seismic operations have not been injurious  to marine mammals, please see this State of the Science article. (pg 16 PDF count)


Deal curbs seismic surveys in Gulf


Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Oil and gas companies working in the Gulf of Mexico have agreed not to use seismic surveys for the next 2½ years in three areas considered critical to whales and along the coast during the peak calving season for bottlenose dolphins.