Court Issues Scheduling Order in BOEM Gulf of Mexico Case

Oceana, Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have sued the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. These NGOs are challenging 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. The court has issued a scheduling order in this case:

• Plaintiffs filed their motion for summary judgment on June 28, 2013.

NMFS’ Acoustic Criteria Guidelines Are Being Peer Reviewed

NMFS is developing acoustic guidelines for assessing the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal species. NMFS intends to use these acoustic guidelines to:

  • Summarize past policies and update basic science-based guidance; and
  • Increase transparency and consistency of how acoustic effects on marine mammals are assessed in the context of NMFS’ authorizations, permits, consultations, and exemptions under various environmental statutes (e.g., MMPA, ESA, and National Marine Sanctuaries Act).

Draft Acoustic Guidelines are currently undergoing an internal peer review. NMFS’ peer review site, the peer review panel, and the charge questions to the panel are available here .

The War on Shutting Down the Atlantic Before It Opens

 Editor’s Note: Those stakeholders interested in opening up the Atlantic should get involved by taking an offensive position to counter misstatements dealing with the impact of seismic operations on marine mammals.


 Pallone to Interior Secretary: Stop Seismic Airgun Testing in the Atlantic

By Raymond |Press Release from the  Office of Congressman Pallone

Washington, DC – At a House Natural Resources Committee hearing today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), expressed his strong opposition to offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell.  Pallone, a senior member of the committee, urged the Department of the Interior (DOI) to consider abandoning any plans to drill in the Atlantic. 

Court Approves GOM Seismic Settlement

The federal district court in New Orleans has approved a settlement of litigation brought by environmental groups against the Department of Interior and BOEM.  The enviros alleged that Interior/BOEM has violated NEPA in its regulation of oil and gas seismic in the Gulf of Mexico. Industry parties intervened as defendants in the case. The parties’ settlement stays the case for 30 months, or until NOAA/NMFS publishes final MMPA take rules for Gulf seismic, whichever comes first.  In the interim, BOEM and the industry parties agree to take several actions, and the enviros agree not to sue anyone.

The sounds of science: Melting of iceberg creates surprising ocean din —There is growing concern about how much noise humans generate in marine environments through shipping, oil exploration and other developments, but a new study has found that naturally occurring phenomena could potentially affect some ocean dwellers.

Nowhere is this concern greater than in the polar regions, where the often first manifest themselves. The breakup of ice sheets and the calving and grounding of icebergs can create enormous , scientists say. Now a new study has found that the mere drifting of an from near Antarctica to warmer ocean waters produces startling levels of noise.

CRE Comments on GOM G&G Scoping

CRE recently filed comments on BOEM and NMFS’ scoping for their EIS on oil and gas geological and geophysical exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. CRE’s comments emphasized that that there is no basis for regulating G&G more stringently. In light of the current and historical record, the agencies should consider regulating GOM G&G less stringently. CRE also pointed out that any more stringent regulation of GOM G&G would require a new Information Collection Request  under the Paperwork Reduction Act; a new Notice to Lessees; a new Protected Species Stipulation; and OMB Approval. Click here to read these and other points made in CRE’s comments.