CRE Comments on National Marine Fisheries Service Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment on the Issuance of Incidental Take Authorizations in Cook Inlet, Alaska

CRE’s September 27, 2017 comments to NMFS criticized NMFS’ intended use of its Acoustic Guidance for the following and other reasons.

First, the Acoustic Guidance may not exist much longer. The Department of Commerce and NOAA are in the middle of a process to determine whether to rescind or revise the Guidance.

Second, OMB has not authorized an Information Collection Request (“ICR”) for the Acoustic Guidance. NMFS cannot force anyone to use the Acoustic Guidance, or penalize anyone for not using the Acoustic Guidance, without an OMB-approved ICR for it.

NMFS Proposes Southwest Pacific Ocean IHA for L-DEO

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a request from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to a marine geophysical survey in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS requests comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorization, and agency responses will be summarized in the notice of our final decision. Comments and information must be received by NMFS no later than October 26, 2017. Click here for more detail and relevant links.

Public Comments on Atlantic Seismic

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed authorizing seismic oil and gas exploration in the U.S. Atlantic.  Public comment on proposed Atlantic seismic is here.

Atlantic Seismic Is Safe

The Tidewater News published a guest editorial by Robert L. Bradley, the founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research. This editorial responds to opposition to oil and gas seismic off the Atlantic coast. The editorial explains that this opposition is unfounded because seismic has been demonstrated to be safe. The editorial includes the following statements:

“Seismic surveys are environmentally safe. In 2014, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management published their final Environmental Impact Statement on the issue. As their findings made clear, there ‘is no documented scientific evidence’ that air guns pose any harm to marine animals.

Fake Science, Marine Animals and Seismic Noise

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors published the following article on the IAGC website:

“Published on August 16, 2017
Andrew Long
Chief Scientist, Geoscience & Engineering at PGS | Geophysicist | Structural Geology

Regulation Streamlining Debated

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors published the following article on the IAGC website:

“Legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, who represents the northern parts of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, would make it easier for oil companies and coastal restoration projects to get environmental approval, but critics say it could harm to sea life.

Proponents of the bill say the Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act will cut away red tape and allow for much needed oil exploration and major projects to get off the ground despite concerns about seismic airgun technology.

NMFS Still Using Acoustic Guidance

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published  its intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment to analyze the environmental impacts of issuing annual incidental harassment 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, for the 2018 season; and its intent to continue an annual cycle for issuing MMPA IHAs in Cook Inlet such that companies planning to submit IHA applications for work to be conducted in Cook Inlet in 2018 do so by no later than October 1, 2017.

BOEM Seeks Comment on Seismic ICR

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is seeking public comment on BOEM’s collection of Information “BOEM-0327—Application for Permit to Conduct Geological or Geophysical Exploration for Mineral Resources of Scientific Research on the Outer Continental Shelf.” This form consists of the requirements for G&G activities requiring Permits and Notices, along with the application that the respondent submits to BOEM for approval, as well as a nonexclusive use agreement for scientific research, if applicable. The requirements portion of the form lets the respondents know the authority, requirements, along with other relevant information for the permit. This is one of Information Collection Requests that BOEM relies on regulate oil and gas seismic exploration offshore.