BOEM Changes Public Hearing for Chukchi Draft SEIS

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published a Second Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska OCS Region, Chukchi Sea Planning Area, Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193.  BOEM has changed the venue for one of the public hearings on this Draft SEIS. The hearing scheduled on December 1, 2014, previously announced to occur at the Loussac Library Complex, will instead take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 109 W. International Airport Road, Anchorage, Alaska.

Click here for BOEM’s Federal Register notice of this change.



NOAA/Fisheries Expects to Publish Final Acoustic Criteria Guidance in Winter 2014/2015

The U.S. NOAA Fisheries has a website devoted to the agency’s development of new guidance on “acoustic threshold levels for assessing the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal species under NOAA Fisheries’ jurisdiction.” When published, this new acoustic criteria guidance could have a significant effect on U.S. and international regulation of ocean sound.  It has already been subject to peer review and public comment. NOAA/Fisheries estimates publication of this guidance “in winter 2014/ 2015.”

Click here for NOAA/Fisheries acoustic criteria website.




Marine Sound Expert Brandon Southall Questions NGO and NMFS Estimates of Navy Sonar Effects

Brandon Southall–a marine sound expert and former NMFS scientist–is quoted by the Washington Post as criticizing recently filed NGO litigation against Navy sonar.  Dr. Southall said:

“I think the numbers citing potential harm presented by the Navy and NMFS are overestimates….Overall, I think the concerns are being amplified because the conservation groups are interested in getting people’s attention, and they get it by saying these animals are all going to die….This is where the Navy is kind of damned if they do and damned if they don’t….If you assume the worst-case scenario, using models that have different levels of uncertainty. . . you wind up getting really high numbers. They get these large numbers and they get sued.”

New Zealand Marine Mammal Seismic Impact Assessments

Listed here are Marine Mammal Impact Assessments which have been assessed as meeting the standards described in the Seismic Code of Conduct to the satisfaction of the new Zealand Director-General of the Department of Conservation.





Long Term Monitoring Plan for Gulf of Mexico Seismic

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, in cooperation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, is issuing a request for information to aid in the development of a long-term monitoring plan for marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. According to BOEM, the LTMP will focus on the potential impacts, if any, to marine mammals from geological and geophysical data acquisition activities, including seismic surveys. Once again according to BOEM, this LTMP is a required element of BOEM’s petition for rulemaking under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Information on the LTMP is due to BOEM on or before December 8, 2014.

International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life

The web site for the 4th International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life is now open here. The site will contain updated information on the meeting as plans progress.  The meeting will take place in Dublin, Ireland, July 10-16, 2014 and will follow in the tradition of the earlier meetings in Nyborg, Cork, and Budapest in providing opportunities to present and learn about the latest research, and to meet and network with colleagues from around the world interested in the topic.  A focus of the meeting is to enable investigators interested in all animal groups, all sound sources, and all potential effects to meet and interact. The meeting also has a strong representation from industry, government, and environmental groups.

Navy Publishes Draft SEIS for Hawaiian Bottlenose Dolphins and Sonar

The U.S. Department of the Navy has prepared and filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Supplemental Overseas Environmental Impact Statement.  This draft SEIS analyzes the potential impact of SURTASS LFA sonar on the five common bottlenose dolphin stocks comprising the Hawaiian Islands Stock Complex (Kauai/Niiahu, Oahu, 4-Islands, Hawaii Island, and Hawaii Pelagic).

Public comment period on this draft Navy SEIS will end December 8, 2014.

Click here to read Federal Register notice of this draft Navy SEIS.





BOEM Issues Courted-Ordered Chukchi SEIS for Comment

In response to a federal court order, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has released its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193.

BOEM prepared this revised analysis in accordance with the April 24, 2014, remand order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. The original EIS for Lease Sale 193 was published in 2007 and the sale was conducted in 2008. Subsequent legal challenges and federal court decisions remanded the sale back to BOEM for further analysis, specifically related to the agency’s estimates of production levels from likely offshore oil fields that might be developed in the Chukchi Sea.