The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Liberty Development and Production Plan in the Beaufort Sea Planning Area. The DPP proposes several steps. A man-made gravel production island, known as the Liberty Drilling and Production Island, would be established in Foggy Island Bay. Gravel for construction would come from a new mine west of the Kadleroshilik River. A pipeline would link the LDPI to the Badami Sales Oil Pipelin. The pipe-in-pipe pipeline would be buried along a route going south from the LPDI to the shoreline west of the Kadleroshilik River, transition to an above-ground pipeline, and continue south to tie into the existing Badami pipeline. Oil produced from the LDPI would be transported through the Badami pipeline to the existing common carrier pipeline system to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
The International Association of Geophysical contractors has announced the fourth International Conference on “The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life.” This conference will take place in Dublin, Ireland, July 10-16, 2016. This meeting follows the meetings held in Nyborg, Denmark (2007), Cork, Ireland (2010) and Budapest, Hungary (2013). These meetings brought together scientists, regulators, environmentalists, and people from industry to learn about and discuss issues related to the effects that man-made noise has on aquatic organisms. The outcome from the Nyborg meeting was a special issue of the international journal Bioacoustics (2008, volume 17:1-350), and the Cork meeting in 2010 resulted in a book entitled ” The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life.” Another book, as a result of the Budapest meeting in 2013, will be published by Springer in early 2015.
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published final rules that update important regulatory addresses and contact information for BOEM. In early 2015, many of BOEM’s headquarters’ offices moved from Herndon, Virginia to Sterling, Virginia. References in the 30 CFR part 550 regulations to the Herndon, Virginia location are updated in this rule to reflect the Sterling, Virginia location. This rule also updates other addresses in 30 CFR part 519. Also, the existing regulations contain references to the title ‘‘Associate Director,’’ which is a remnant of BOEM’s predecessor agency, the Minerals Management Service. This rule changes ‘‘Associate Director’’ to ‘‘Deputy Director’’ in the current regulations. This rule also makes other housekeeping changes, such as removing reference to a URL hyperlink for a Web page that no longer exists.
U.S.-Mexico Regulators Meet
U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement noted that officials from the Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs and Office of Strategic Engagement recently met with their counterparts from Mexico’s National Agency for Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection of the Hydrocarbons Sector, known by its Spanish acronym ASEA, to discuss approaches to Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) and the development of ASEA’s forthcoming SEMS program.
A federal court entered an order settling two cases challenging the U.S. Navy’s training and testing activities off the coasts of Southern California and Hawai‘i, securing protections for whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals by limiting Navy activities in vital habitat. The settlement stems from the court’s earlier finding that NMFS’s authorization of certain Navy activities involving sonar and explosives violated the marine mammal protection and Endangered Species Act.
On September 14, 2015, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments on the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service’s “Draft Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing—Acoustic Threshold Levels for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts.” CRE’s comments included the following Executive Summary:
“CRE commends NMFS for emphasizing the need to comply with Information Quality Act (“IQA”) Guidelines, and for requiring multiple peer reviews of the Draft Guidance.
“NMFS needs to clearly state whether use of the Draft Guidance is mandatory during regulation of offshore oil and gas seismic. If use is mandatory then the Draft Guidance is a rule and should be treated as such.
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Central Planning Area Lease Sales 241 and 247 and Eastern Planning Area Lease Sale 226. The Final Supplemental EIS provides a discussion of potential significant impacts of the proposed actions, provides an analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed actions, and identifies the Bureau’s preferred alternatives. This Final Supplemental EIS updates the environmental and socioeconomic analyses for proposed CPA and EPA sales evaluated in the following EISs:
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published its Draft SupplementalEnvironmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas Western Planning Area (WPA) Lease Sale 248 (WPA Sale 248). WPA Sale 248 is tentatively scheduled for August 2016. The Draft Supplemental EIS provides a discussion of the potential significant impacts of the proposed action and an analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action; it considers new information made available since completion of earlier EISs related to WPA Sale 248. The prior EISs supplemented by the Draft Supplemental EIS are available at: http://www.boem.gov/nepaprocess/ .
The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received an application from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment only, incidental to conducting a marine geophysical survey in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, mid-November through December, 2015. The proposed dates for this action would be mid-November 2015 through December 31, 2015, to account for minor deviations due to logistics and weather.
The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has submitted to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) an information collection request (ICR) to renew approval of the paperwork requirements in BSEE’s offshore oil and gas regulations under subpart B, Plans and Information. BSEE submitted this ICR to OMB pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act.
This ICR covers the following BSEE rules: § 250.282—Post-Approval Requirements for the EP, DPP, and DOCD: and §§ 250.286–295—Deepwater Operations Plan (DWOP).
Any comments must be received OMB no lager than October 2, 2015.