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Notice

Letters of Authorization To Take Marine Mammals

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of issuance.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA), we, the Fish and Wildlife Service, have issued letters of authorization for the nonlethal take of polar bears and Pacific walrus incidental to oil and gas industry exploration, development, and production activities in the Beaufort Sea and the adjacent northern coast of Alaska and incidental to oil and gas industry exploration activities in the Chukchi Sea and the adjacent western coast of Alaska.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Craig Perham at the Fish and Wildlife Service, Marine Mammals Management Office, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503; (800) 362-5148 or (907) 786-3810.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On August 2, 2006, we published in the Federal Register a final rule (71 FR 43926) establishing regulations that allow us to authorize the nonlethal, incidental, unintentional take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walrus during year-round oil and gas industry exploration, development, and production activities in the Beaufort Sea and adjacent northern coast of Alaska. The rule established subpart J in part 18 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and was effective until August 2, 2011. New regulations were issued on August 3, 2011 (76 FR 47010), effective through August 3, 2016. The rule prescribed a process under which we issue Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to applicants conducting activities as described under the provisions of the regulations. In accordance with section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) and our regulations at 50 CFR 18, subpart J, we issued an LOA to each of the following companies in the Beaufort Sea and adjacent northern coast of Alaska:

Beaufort Sea Letters of Authorization

CompanyActivityProjectDate issued
BP Exploration Alaska, IncDevelopmentLiberty Development ProjectJanuary 20, 2011.
BP Exploration Alaska, IncDevelopmentRed Dog #1 Plug and Abandonment ProjectJanuary 20, 2011.
Brooks Range Petroleum CorporationExplorationNorth Tarn Exploration ProgramJanuary 1, 2011.
Brooks Range Petroleum CorporationExplorationNorth Tarn Summer Clean Up and Field StudiesJuly 22, 2011.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, IncExplorationHydrate Production Test, Ignik Sikumi I, Prudhoe Bay UnitJanuary 3, 2011.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, IncExplorationWest Kuparuk 3D Seismic Exploration ProgramJanuary 3, 2011.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, IncDevelopmentPuviaq #1 Plug and Abandonment ProgramJanuary 10, 2011.
Eni US Operating Co., IncDevelopmentNikaitchuq Development ProgramMay 15, 2011.
ExxonMobil Production CompanyDevelopmentPoint ThomsonFebruary 1, 2011.
ExxonMobil Production CompanyExplorationSeafloor Sediment Sampling ProgramJuly 11, 2011.
FEX L.PDevelopmentPlug and Abandonment Project, Aklaqyaaq #1, Aklaq #2, and Aklaq #6 WellsJanuary 10, 2011.
Marsh Creek, LLCDevelopmentCorrective Action Activities, Umiat Test Well No. 9February 11, 2011.
North Slope BoroughDevelopmentGas Fields Well Drilling ProgramApril 15, 2011.
Olgoonik Fairweather, LLCExplorationBeaufort Sea Acoustic Monitoring Recorder Deployment and Retrieval ProjectJuly 15, 2011.
Olgoonik Fairweather, LLCExplorationCentral Beaufort Sea Fisheries Cruise Environmental Studies ProgramJuly 15, 2011.
Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska, IncDevelopmentNuna Pre-Development ProjectApril 15, 2011.
Savant Alaska, LLCDevelopmentBadami Unit Redevelopment ProjectFebruary 7, 2011.
Shell Offshore, IncDevelopmentBeaufort Sea Ice Observation and On-Ice Argos Data Buoy Deployment ProgramJanuary 10, 2011.
Shell Offshore, IncExplorationBeaufort Sea Open Water Marine Survey Program and Onshore Environmental Baseline Study ActivitiesJune 10, 2011.
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On June 11, 2008, we published in the Federal Register a final rule (73 FR 33212) establishing regulations that allow us to authorize the nonlethal, incidental, unintentional take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walrus during year-round oil and gas industry exploration activities in the Chukchi Sea and adjacent western coast of Alaska. The rule established subpart I of 50 CFR part 18 and is effective until June 11, 2013. The rule prescribed a process under which we issue LOAs to applicants conducting activities as described under the provisions of the regulations. In accordance with section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA and our regulations at 50 CFR 18, subpart I, we issued an LOA to the following companies in the Chukchi Sea:

Chukchi Sea Letters of Authorization

CompanyActivityProjectDate issued
Shell Offshore, IncExplorationChukchi Sea Ice Observation Flights ProgramJanuary 10, 2011.
Shell Offshore, IncExplorationChukchi Sea Coastal Marine and Onshore Environmental Baseline StudyMay 15, 2011.
Shell Offshore, IncExplorationChukchi Sea Baseline Environmental Studies ProgramJuly 29, 2011.
Statoil USA E&P, IncExplorationChukchi Sea Shallow Hazards Survey ProjectJune 20, 2011.
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Dated: October 5, 2011.

E. LaVerne Smith,

Acting Regional Director, Alaska Region.

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[FR Doc. 2011-28739 Filed 11-4-11; 8:45 am]

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