CRE Comments on NMFS’ Acoustic Guidance ICR

On November 29, 2016, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed Comments on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s proposed Information Collection Request: Applications and Reporting Requirements for the Incidental Take of Marine Mammals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. CRE’s comments included the following summary:

“NMFS intends to use its new ‘Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing’ (‘Acoustic Guidance) to establish exclusion zones and to estimate takes during NMFS’ permitting under the MMPA. NMFS’ Guidance will impose very burdensome new information collections on the oil and gas industry and on other parties subject to NMFS’ MMPA permitting. Consequently, NMFS intends to ask OMB’s OIRA to review and approve the Acoustic ICR, which would authorize these new and greatly expanded information collections.

CRE Comments on BOEM’s PEIS for GOM G&G

On November 29, 2016, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness Comments filed comments with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on BOEM’s draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Geological and Geophysical Activities on the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf. CRE’s comments included the following summary:

“The PEIS violates OMB’s Peer Review Bulletin because it has not been peer reviewed.

The PEIS Appendix D Models violate OMB’s Peer Review Bulletin and Information Quality Act (“IQA”) Guidelines.

GOM G&G does not harm marine mammals or any other organism under current regulation. No change is needed in GOM regulation of G&G.

CRE Comments on NMFS’ Arctic FEIS

On December 21, 2016, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments on the U.S. National Marine Fisheries’ Service’s Notice of Availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement for Effects of Oil and Gas Activities in the Arctic Ocean. CRE’s comments included the following points.

NMFS should not use its new “Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing” (“Acoustic Guidance”) in the FEIS or for any other purpose. NMFS developed its Acoustic Guidance in violation of OMB’s Peer Review Bulletin. The Guidance is a rule, and NMFS developed it in violation of Executive Orders 12855 and 13563. NMFS does not have and OMB should not approve an Information Collection Request authorizing use of the Acoustic Guidance.

BOEM Publishes Final 2017–2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing PEIS

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published its Final 2017–2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to inform the 2017–2022 proposed Final Program. The Final Programmatic EIS provides a discussion of potential impacts of the proposed action, provides an analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action, and recognizes BOEM’s preferred alternative. Under Council on Environmental Quality regulations at 40 CFR 1506.10(b)(2), the Secretary of the Interior will not finalize the 2017–2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program until at least 30 days after public. The Final Programmatic EIS and more details are available here.


The Importance of Seismic Surveys

Andy Radford, who works with the American Petroleum Institute, has written the following article.

“Commentary: Seismic surveys play significant role in offshore drilling

A decisive majority of American voters – 80 percent – support increased production of U.S. oil and natural gas, including 94 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of Independents and 71 percent of Democrats. Voters associate energy production with job creation, economic growth, energy security and lower energy costs, polling also shows.

NMFS Seeks Comment on Proposed IHA for LNG Plant in Massachusetts Bay

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a request from Excelerate Energy, L.P. and Tetra Tech, Inc. on behalf of the Northeast Gateway® Energy BridgeTM, L.P.  and Algonquin Gas Transmission, L.L.C. for an authorization to take small numbers of 14 species of marine mammals, by Level B harassment, incidental to operating, maintaining, and repairing a liquefied natural gas port and the Algonquin Pipeline Lateral facilities by NEG and Algonquin, in Massachusetts Bay.

Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS requests comments on its proposal to issue an authorization to NEG and Algonquin to incidentally take, by Level B harassment, small numbers of marine mammals during the specified activity for a period of one year.

IAGC and API Comment on GOM PEIS

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently published a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for oil and gas G & G activities in the Gulf of Mexico. The International Association of Geophysical Contractors and the American Petroleum Institute commented on this PEIS.

Click here for IAGC’s article on the PEIS and their comments.

IAGC Debunks Seismic Harm Claims

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors has issued a press release entitled:

Seismic Surveys Successfully Coexist with Tourism and Fisheries Despite Erroneous Claims.”

The first couple of paragraphs of IAGC’s press release explain:

Environmental activist groups have increasingly used misinformation targeting geophysical surveys in an effort to halt oil and gas exploration and development. One such example of their recent propaganda attempts to mislead the Belizean community to believe that seismic surveys are harmful to marine life and threaten fishing and tourism.  These allegations are simply false.

WORKSHOP: Estimating Marine Mammal Abundance from Line Transect Surveys

The workshop “Estimating Marine Mammal Abundance from Line Transect Surveys” will be held during the Latin American Society of Aquatic Mammal Experts meeting in Valparaiso, Chile on the 26th and 27th of November 2016.

The principal instructor will be Prof Philip Hammond (University of St Andrews) Click here to view his bio.

This workshop will introduce participants to the methods used to estimate the abundance of marine mammals, especially cetaceans. Methodology will be presented in a statistical framework but the focus will be on practical application of the methods and analysis of the data, and on understanding and dealing with potential biases that arise from applying the methodology in practice.

Course in Underwater Acoustics Modelling

The Danish Hydraulic Institute is running a course at the end of November 15-16, 2016, at DHIs in Hoersholm, Denmark, on Risk Assessment of Environmental Noise Impacts and Underwater Acoustics Modelling.

This course will train participants in numerical modelling and how to combine it with biological knowledge (noise from dredging, shipping, wind farm operations and oil and gas exploration and production, etc.). The course is aimed at regulators, environmental consultants, researchers and policy/ environmental professionals.

For further information and registration click here.