On December 8, 2014, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments with Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. These comments were on the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Environmental Management’s Information Collection Request under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The requested ICR covers information collection requirements for offshore oil and gas geological and geophysical Activities, including the use of seismic air guns. CRE’s comments made the following and other points.
CRE does not oppose this ICR because it only covers and authorizes current, time-tested monitoring and reporting requirements.
CRE filed these comments to inform OMB/OIRA that BOEM is planning an information collection that would significantly increase the burden of BOEM’s monitoring requirements for G&G activities, including seismic, in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service is cooperating with BOEM in developing these new monitoring requirements, which both Agencies refer to as the Long Term Monitoring Plan. BOEM has published a request for information on this LTMP.
CRE commented to BOEM on the LTMP. Attachment A to CRE’s ICR comments is a copy of CRE’s comments to BOEM on the LTMP.
The new burden and new requirements that would be imposed by the LTMP are not discussed in, covered or authorized by any approved or requested BOEM ICR, including the ICR that is currently before OMB/OIRA for review: BOEM ICR 1010–0151.
The LTMP’s new burden and requirements are not discussed in, covered or authorized by any approved or requested NMFS ICR.
Consequently, as pointed out in CRE’s attached comments to BOEM, the Agencies will have to develop and request a new ICR for public comment and OMB/OIRA review before they could implement the LTMP.
CRE’s attached LTMP comments to BOEM–and prior CRE submissions to OMB, BOEM and NMFS–demonstrate that seismic operations have no significant impact on marine mammals; and that the existing monitoring program is very extensive, protective, and in no need of replacement. Consequently, the heavy new burden that would be imposed by the LTMP could not be justified, and no ICR for the LTMP should be approved if and when BOEM and/or NMFS request one.
CRE will comment on that LTMP ICR if and when the Agencies request it.
At this point, CRE asks that OMB/OIRA issue Terms of Clearance for BOEM ICR 1010–0151 which state that OMB/OIRA “is only approving this ICR for current G&G monitoring and mitigation requirements in the Gulf of Mexico (http://www.boem.gov/2012-JOINT-G02/ ). This ICR does not authorize the Long Term Monitoring Plan (“LTMP”) discussed at 79 FR 66402, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-11-07/html/2014-26520.htm .”
Click here to read CRE’s comments to OMB/OIRA on BOEM’s requested ICR.