OMB/OIRA Conclude Executive Order Review of GOM Take Rules for Oil and Gas Seismic

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB/OIRA) has been reviewing NOAA/NMFS’ draft  fnal Marine Mammal Act (MMPA) Take Rules for oil and gas geological surveys (oil and gas seismic) in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). OMB /OIRA’s review has been conducted under Presidential Executive Order 12866. OMB/OIRA concluded their review June 11, 2020, and issued a statement that states in part “Economically Significant: Yes” and  “COMPLETED ACTION: Withdrawn.”

These statements apply to the draft final GOM Take Rules, which cannot be published as Final Rules without OMB/OIRA approval under Executive Order  12866.

Louisiana Judge Grants latest GOM Take Rule Settlement Extension

The parties in the GOM Take Rule litigation in Louisiana Federal Court asked the judge to extend the case deadline extension for settlement discussions to June 10, 2020.  The judge has granted their request.

NMFS Seeks Comments on Proposed Navy LOAs for training and testing activities conducted in the Northwest Training and Testing Study Area

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has received a request from the U.S. Navy to take marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the Northwest Training and Testing Study Area. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue regulations and subsequent Letters of Authorization to the Navy to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS will consider public comments prior to issuing any final rule and making final decisions on the issuance of the requested LOAs. Agency responses to public comments will be provided in the notice of the final decision. Comments and information must be received no later than July 17, 2020.