NMFS and the Minerals Management Service (MMS) announce their intention to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). This PEIS is being prepared to assess the impacts of MMS’ annual authorizations under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to the U.S. oil and gas industry to conduct offshore geophysical seismic surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska, and NMFS’ authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to incidentally harass marine mammals while conducting those surveys. Publication of this notice begins the official scoping period that will help clarify previously identified issues and alternatives to be considered in the PEIS. The NMFS and MMS will consider comments received in response to this notice in determining the scope of the PEIS. The public will have additional opportunities to comment on the draft PEIS and any applications received under the MMPA as part of this action.
DATES: Written comments and information must be received no later than December 18, 2006.
To read the full Notice of Intent, click here.
A copy of MMS’ Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for seismic survey operations in Arctic Alaska waters for the 2006 open water season is available on-line at: http://www.mms.gov/alaska/ref/pealbe.htm.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kenneth R. Hollingshead, NMFS, 301– 713–2289, ext 128 or Jill Lewandowski, MMS at 703–787–1703.