FWS Proposes Changes  to Regulations Extending Endangered Species Prohibitions to Threatened Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to revise its regulations extending most of the prohibitions for activities involving endangered species to threatened species. For species already listed as a threatened species, the proposed regulations would not alter the applicable prohibitions. The proposed regulations would require the Service, pursuant to section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, to determine what, if any, protective regulations are appropriate for species that the Service in the future determines to be threatened.

FWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before September 24, 2018.

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FWS and NMFS Propose Changes to ESA  Section 7 Consultation Rules

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed to amend portions of their regulations that implement section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The Services are proposing these changes to improve and clarify the inter-agency consultation processes and make them more efficient and consistent. The Services will accept comments from all interested parties until September 24, 2018.

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A Library of Publications Which Demonstrate That NOAA Acoustic Models Have Not Been Calibrated And Do Not Produce Reproducible Outputs

NOAA is proposing a regulation dealing with takes in the Gulf of Mexico. The regulation is based on the output of models which have not been calibrated and do not produce reproducible results.

The use of such models is illegal under the Data Quality Act.

The Library contains:

(1) Acoustic Guidelines

Demonstrates that that  NOAA Acoustic Guidance only addresses 25% of the  datasets inherent in the regulation of seismic operations and at that, the least consequential of the said datasets.

(2) Models CREM 1

In January 2013 CRE presented to NOAA a report which concluded that:

U.S. Public Meeting Before IWC’s 67th Meeting

The U.S. public meting prior to the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission will be held August 7, 2018, at 9 a.m.  The meeting will be held at the Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring, MD 20910, in the Spring Room.

This meeting will address U.S. Positions.  Any U.S. citizen with an identifiable interest in U.S. whale conservation policy may participate, but NOAA reserves the authority inquire about the interests of any person who appears at the meeting and to determine the appropriateness of that person’s participation.

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Marine Protected Areas Advisory Committee Meets

The U.S. Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee will meet by teleconference on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time (2:00 pm to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time). Additional information can be found on the Committee’s webpage: http://marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov/fac.

Offshore Energy Is Good For Florida

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article on its website:

“Voters, beware. Florida faces a tough election season this year, with a lengthy ballot and multiple key federal, state and local positions up for grabs. Floridians will be inundated with information over the next few months, and it’s up to us to discern fact from fiction. We should support candidates who have Florida’s best interest in mind and will deliver on policy promises once in office.

CEQ Extends NEPA Rules Comment Period

On June 20, 2018, the Council on Environmental Quality published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking titled‘‘Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.’’ The CEQ is extending the comment period on the ANPRM, which was scheduled to close on July 20, 2018,for 31 days until August 20, 2018. The CEQ is making this change in response to public requests for an extension of the comment period.

Comments should be submittedon or before August 20, 2018.

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Third JIP Program Review Meeting

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission described this JIP meeting as follows:

“The Joint Industry Programme on Sound and Marine Life is currently in its third research phase. In each phase, the JIP participants have sponsored a Programme review. The first review was held in Houston in 2008, the second in Washington DC in 2012. The third Programme Review meeting is to be held from 9th to 14th September 2018 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This meeting is being held in cooperation with the conference on the Effects of Sound in the Ocean on Marine mammals (ESOMM) being organised by TNO.

“Seismic Surveys & Marine Mammals Joint IOGP/IAGC position paper”

The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers and the International Association of Geophysical Contractors have produced the following position paper:

“The oil and gas and geophysical industries are committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner. This requires thorough attention to the potential impacts on the marine environment, including sounds generated by upstream activity.

This paper focuses on the sound introduced into the marine environment as a result of marine seismic surveys. It discusses potential interactions with marine life, how widely adopted mitigation measures can reduce impact to marine life and how research efforts contribute to improving understanding of effective techniques to avoid any potential negative effects of sound on marine life.”