Comment on Vandenberg AFB IHA Application

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a request from the U.S. Air Force for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to launching space launch vehicles, intercontinental ballistic and small missiles, and aircraft and helicopter operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base from March 2019 to March 2024. As required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS is proposing regulations to govern that take, and requests comments on the proposed regulations. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested incidental take regulations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of NMFS’ decision.

Caving on Offshore Drilling: America Last

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the above titled article on the IAGC website. This article begins as follows:

“A liberal judge just blocked one of President Trump’s most important reforms — one designed to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and keep our pump prices low.

Soon after taking office, President Trump opened America’s offshore territories to oil and gas exploration. And despite the current shutdown, the Interior Department has continued to issue permits for seismic surveying, the first step in locating those deep-sea energy reserves.

“Needed — Oil and Gas Atlantic Seismic Surveys”

The above-titled article was written by J. Winston Porter and posted on Energy.  It reads as follows:

“There is no credible way to address offshore drilling in the Atlantic without conducting seismic tests to see how much oil and natural gas lie beneath the Outer Continental Shelf. That is why the National Marine Fisheries Service has approved a plan to map the ocean floor off the coast, from Delaware to Florida.

“Great Australian Bight seismic testing gets green light from regulator”

 ABC News Australia posted the above-titled article, which reads in part as follows article:

“Oil and gas testing is set to take place in the Great Australian Bight this year, after the national petroleum regulator granted permission to exploration company PGS.

Environmental groups have slammed the decision to allow seismic testing near Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln, while the tuna industry has questioned whether it is even likely to go ahead.

Seismic testing involves firing sound waves into the ocean floor to detect the presence of oil or gas reserves.

NGOs Challenges Atlantic Seismic IHAs

On December 11, 2018, several environmental and conservation groups filed a complaint against the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and Wilber Ross, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is NMFS’ parent agency.  This complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.  It challenges five Incidental Harassment Authorizations for oil and gas seismic and other exploratory operations in the Atlantic Ocean. NMFS recently issued these IHAs under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”).  The plaintiffs allege that NMFS violated the MMPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act when NMFS issued these permits.

“East Coast governors wrong to oppose Trump’s plan for seismic testing in Atlantic”

The International Association of Geophysical contractors recently posted the above-titled article by Robert W. Chase on one of IAGC’s websites. This article begins as follows:

“If you care about our nation’s economy and jobs, now is not the time to oppose seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean. Yet that is precisely what several East Coast governors have done in an effort to block oil and natural gas exploration and production on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

BOEM Notices Intent to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for GOM Lease Sales

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has published notice of BOEM’s intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. This SEIS is expected to be used to inform the decisions for each of the two proposed oil and gas lease sales scheduled in 2020 and the subsequent lease sales through 2022 that are comprised of the Gulf of Mexico Western and Central Planning Areas, and a small portion of the Eastern Planning Area not subject to Congressional moratorium. These planning areas are located off the States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. There is no public comment period for BOEM’s notice.

48th Annual IAGC Conference

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors has announced that its 48th Annual Conference–Accelerating Exploration, Expanding Energy Possibilities—will be held on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 7:00 AM – 6:30 PM CST, at the Hilton Westchase, 9999 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 770422.

Click here for more details and relevant links.