On January 7-9, 2014, a Sound Exposure Modeling Workshop was held in Washington, D.C. This Workshop focused on marine mammal exposure to sounds from oil and gas seismic in the Gulf of Mexico (“GOM”). Representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) attended the Workshop. They provided the following schedule for development and publication of rules under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”) governing takes of marine mammals from oil and gas seismic in the GOM:
February/March, 2014. BOEM publishes a Request for Proposal for Modeling GOM Takes.
Late 2014. BOEM submits to NMFS an amended application for GOM Take rules. There will be an opportunity for public comment on the amended application.
Late 2014/early 2015. BOEM/NMFS publish a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the rules. There will be an opportunity for public comment on the draft EIS.
Sometime in 2015: NMFS publishes proposed rules. There will be an opportunity for public comment on the proposed rules.
By end of 2015. NMFS publishes final rules.