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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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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of Issuance.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service, or we), has 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. These letters of authorization stipulate conditions and methods that minimize impacts to polar bears and Pacific walrus from these activities.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Craig Perham at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marine Mammals Management Office, 1011 East Tudor Road, MS 341, Anchorage, AK 99503; (800) 362-5148 or (907) 786-3810.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On August 3, 2011, we published in the Federal Register a final rule (76 FR 47010) 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 is 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.

Each LOA stipulates conditions or methods that are specific to the activity and location. Holders of LOAs must use methods and conduct activities in a manner that minimizes to the greatest extent practicable adverse impacts on Pacific walrus and polar bears, their habitat, and on the availability of these marine mammals for subsistence purposes. Intentional take and lethal incidental take is prohibited.

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 LOAs to each of the following companies in the Beaufort Sea and adjacent northern coast of Alaska:

Beaufort Sea Letters of Authorization

CompanyActivityProjectDate issued
Alyeska Pipeline Service CompanyProductionTrans-Alaska Pipeline Operation & MaintenanceNovember 15, 2011.
Alyeska Pipeline Service CompanyProductionTrans-Alaska Pipeline Operation & MaintenanceDecember 11, 2012.
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BP Exploration Alaska, Inc.ExplorationSummer Seismic SurveyAugust 3, 2011.
BP Exploration Alaska, Inc.ProductionNorth Slope ProductionAugust 3, 2011.
BP Exploration Alaska, Inc.DevelopmentLiberty Development ProjectJanuary 10, 2012.
BP Exploration Alaska, Inc.DevelopmentRed Dog #1 Plug and Abandonment ProjectJanuary 10, 2012.
BP Exploration Alaska, Inc.ExplorationSimpson Lagoon Seismic SurveyJuly 16, 2012.
Brooks Range Petroleum CorporationExplorationNorth Tarn/Mustang Exploration ProgramNovember 20, 2011.
Brooks Range Petroleum CorporationExplorationTofcat Exploration ProgramFebruary 1, 2012.
Brooks Range Petroleum CorporationExplorationMustang Exploration ProgramJanuary 15, 2013.
CGGVeritasExplorationTabasco 3D Seismic SurveyNovember 30, 2011.
CGGVeritasExplorationGreat Bear 3D Seismic SurveyMarch 19, 2012.
CGGVeritasExplorationGreat Bear Winter 3D Seismic SurveyFebruary 1, 2013.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, IncProductionNorth Slope ProductionAugust, 3, 2011.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, IncExplorationHydrate Production Test, Ignik Sikumi I, Prudhoe Bay UnitDecember 1, 2011.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, IncDevelopmentHemi Springs Plug and Abandonment ProgramJanuary 15, 2012.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, IncDevelopmentNorth Staines River #1 Well InspectionMarch 19, 2012.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, IncDevelopmentGravel Borehole ProjectMarch 19, 2012.
ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.ExplorationWinter Exploration Drilling ProgramDecember 15, 2012.
Eni US Operating Co., Inc.DevelopmentNikaitchuq Development ProjectAugust 15, 2012.
ExxonMobil Production CompanyExplorationPrudhoe Bay Bathymetry & Noise Monitoring SurveyApril 1, 2012.
ExxonMobil Production CompanyDevelopmentPoint ThomsonFebruary 1, 2012.
ExxonMobil Production CompanyDevelopmentPoint ThomsonFebruary 1, 2013.
Great Bear Petroleum, LLCExplorationGreat Bear Exploration and Evaluation ProgramJanuary 19, 2012.
Ion GeophysicalExploration2D Seismic SurveyOctober 17, 2012.
North Slope BoroughDevelopmentGas Fields Well Drilling ProgramMay 1, 2012.
Olgoonik Fairweather, LLCExplorationBeaufort Sea Acoustic Monitoring Recorder Deployment and Retrieval ProjectJuly 15, 2012.
Olgoonik Fairweather, LLCExplorationMarine Fish Transboundary Cruise Environmental Studies ProgramSeptember 19, 2012.
Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska, Inc.ProductionNorth Slope ProductionAugust 3, 2011.
Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska, Inc.ExplorationNorth Slope Exploration ProgramOctober 17, 2011.
Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska, Inc.DevelopmentNuna Development ProgramApril 20, 2012.
Repsol E&P USA, Inc.ExplorationColville River Delta Winter DrillingDecember 7, 2011.
Repsol E&P USA, Inc.ExplorationColville River Delta Winter DrillingFebruary 7, 2013.
Savant Alaska, LLCDevelopmentBadami Unit Redevelopment ProjectApril 15, 2012.
Shell Offshore, Inc.ExplorationBeaufort Sea Ice Observation and On-Ice Argos Data Buoy Deployment ProgramJanuary 10, 2012.
Shell Offshore, Inc.ExplorationBeaufort Sea Open Water Marine Survey Program and Onshore Environmental Baseline Study Activities.June 4, 2012.
Shell Offshore, Inc.ExplorationCamden Bay OCS Exploration DrillingJune 4, 2012.
Shell Offshore, Inc.ExplorationBeaufort Sea Ice Observation and On-Ice Argos Data Buoy Deployment ProgramJanuary 1, 2013.

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 process under which we issue LOAs to applicants and the requirements that the holders of LOAs must follow is the same as described above for LOAs issued under 50 CFR 18, subpart J.

In accordance with section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA and our regulations at 50 CFR 18, subpart I, we issued LOAs to the following companies in the Chukchi Sea:

Chukchi Sea Letters of Authorization

CompanyActivityProjectDate issued
Olgoonik Fairweather, LLCExplorationChukchi Sea Baseline Environmental Studies ProgramJuly 15, 2012.
Shell Offshore, Inc.ExplorationChukchi Sea Ice Observation Flights ProgramJanuary 10, 2012.
Shell Offshore, Inc.ExplorationChukchi Sea Coastal Marine and Onshore Environmental Baseline StudyJune 4, 2012.
Shell Offshore, Inc.ExplorationChukchi Sea OCS Exploratory Drilling ProgramJune 4, 2012.
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Shell Offshore, Inc.ExplorationChukchi Sea Ice Observation Flights ProgramFebruary 1, 2013.
Start Signature

Dated: March 12, 2013.

Geoffrey Haskett,

Regional Director, Alaska Region.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2013-07339 Filed 3-28-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P