New Zealand Seismic Regulation Criticized

An article in the New Zealand Herald discusses presentations at the 2014 New Zealand Petroleum Summit.  One presenter, James Willis, criticized current regulation of oil and gas seismic.  According to the Herald article, Mr. Willis “said rules were becoming increasingly inflexible despite the Government’s aim of attracting more players to New Zealand….’Nobody denies that we need regulation, but in proportion. I think there has been a lack of proportion in the nature and extent of EPA examination…’”

Abstract Submission Deadline Approaching – European Cetacean Society Conference 2015 MALTA

The abstract submission deadline for European Cetacean Society Malta Conference is open until November 3, 2014. Details at this link.

The Conference dates are March 23-25, 2015. The workshop dates are March 21-25, 2015. The venue for both is the lntercontinental MALTA, in St. Julians.

Litigation Over Canadian Seismic

The Canadian National Energy Board has approved a five-year seismic testing scheme that a group of related Norwegian companies proposes for the waters of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait off eastern Nunavut. This approval is being litigated in Canada. The deadline for filing evidence at the Federal Court of Canada to support or oppose seismic testing off the coast of Baffin Island has expired, with at least two parties in the case submitting sworn affidavits to shore up their positions.

BOEM Notices Inent to Prepare EIS for Cook Inlet Lease Sale

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published notice of its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed Lease Sale 244 in the Cook Inlet Program Area. The EIS will focus on the potential effects of leasing, exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas in the proposed lease sale area. In addition to the no-action alternative (i.e., not holding the lease sale), other alternatives may be considered, such as deferring additional areas within the Cook Inlet proposed lease sale area.

NMFS Begins EIS for Cook Inlet Take Authorizations

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the environmental impacts of issuing Incidental Take Authorizations pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act for the taking of marine mammals incidental to anthropogenic activities in the waters of Cook Inlet, Alaska.

NMFS will hold a public scoping meeting to begin the EIS scoping process in Anchorage, AK, on Monday, November 3, 2014, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Loussac Library’s Wilda Marston Theater located at 3600 Denali Street, Anchorage, AK 99503. Written and oral comments will be accepted at the public meeting.

NRDC Petitions NMFS to list GOM Bryde’s Whale as Endangered Under the ESA

The Natural Resources Defense council has filed with the U.S. Natural Marine Fisheries Service “A petition to list the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The petition is dated September 18, 2014. It states that

Joint Industry Programme Issues RFP on Marine Mammal Weighting Functions

The JIP on E&P Sound and Marine life has issued a Request for Proposals call on the following topic: An expert Panel review of hearing weighting functions for Marine mammals.

The RFP document can be downloaded from:

The final date for submissions is 31 October 2014.

Joint Industry Programme Issues RFP on Detection of Marine Mammals

The JIP on E&P Sound and Marine life has issued a Requests for Proposals call on the following topic:

Comparison of low visibility real-time monitoring techniques and identification of potential areas of further development for the detection of marine mammals at sea during E&P activities offshore

The RFP document can be downloaded from:

The final date for submissions is 31 October 2014.

MMC and NMFS Hold Congressional Briefing on Shipping Noise and Marine Mammals

On September 25, 2014, the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service held a “Congressional Briefing– Increasing awareness of ocean sound: Impacts of shipping on marine mammals.” The Briefing was held at the U.S. National Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. The Senate Commerce Committee hosted the briefing.

The presenters were Jason Gedamke, NMFS; Christopher Clark, Cornell University; Joseph Cox, Chamber of Shipping of America; and Michael Jasny, Natural Resources Defense Council.

Whales ‘safe from seismic testing’

By Isobel Ewing

Taranaki Daily News

Whales are safe from seismic testing, an outspoken oil boss declared yesterday as he described various environmental regulations as excessive.

In 40 years there had been no recorded environmental harm from the activity, Octanex director and lawyer of 25 years James Willis told the New Zealand Petroleum Summit in Auckland yesterday.

“Given that all is involved is a ship with an airgun sailing up and down a predetermined route at slow speeds, that’s hardly surprising,” he said.

Now an operator must adhere to costly requirements including lodging a marine mammal impact assessment, have onboard a marine mammal observer and carry acoustic monitoring equipment.