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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Non-Federal Oil and Gas Operations on National Wildlife Refuge System Lands

This document has a comment period that ends in 27 days. (10/15/2019) Submit a formal comment

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of information collection; request for comment.

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SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are proposing to renew an information collection.

DATES:

Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before October 15, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

Send written comments on this information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget's Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior by email at OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov; or via facsimile to (202) 395-5806. Please provide a copy of your comments to the Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: PRB/PERMA (JAO-1N), 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 (mail); or by email to Info_Coll@fws.gov. Please reference OMB Control Number 1018-0162 in the subject line of your comments.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

To request additional information about this ICR, contact Madonna L. Baucum, Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, by email at Info_Coll@fws.gov, or by telephone at (703) 358-2503. You may also view the ICR at http://www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format.

On April 16, 2019, we published a Federal Register notice soliciting comments on this collection of information for 60 days, ending on June 17, 2019 (84 FR 15628). We received the following comments in response to that notice:

Comment 1: Comment received via email from Andy Reyes on May 10, 2019. Mr. Reyes expressed support for the Service's rule at 50 CFR part 29, subpart D (29D rule), and its implementation.

Response to Comment 1: No action required.

Comment 2: Comment received via email from Susan E. Magee, on behalf of the State of Alaska, on May 29, 2019. The State of Alaska requests that Form 3-2469 state that it is not applicable in Alaska.

Response to Comment 2: The 29D rule specifically exempts Alaska, so there is no need to identify this on the form as it would add unnecessary additional language.

We are again soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of the Service; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Service enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Service minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Abstract: The authority of the Service to regulate non-Federal oil and gas operations on National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) lands is broadly derived from the Property Clause of the United States Constitution (Art. IV, Sec. 3), in carrying out the statutory mandates of the Secretary of the Interior, as delegated to the Service, to manage Federal lands and resources under the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act (NWRSAA), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act (NWRSIA; 16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.), and to specifically manage species within the NWRS under the provisions of numerous statutes, the most notable of which are the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA; 16 U.S.C. 715 et seq.), the Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (FWA; 15 U.S.C. 742f).

The Service's 29D rule provides for the continued exercise of non-Federal oil and gas rights while avoiding or minimizing unnecessary impacts to refuge resources and uses. Other land management agencies have regulations that address oil and gas development, including the Department of the Interior's National Park Service (NPS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. These agencies all require the submission of information similar to the information requested by the Service.

The collection of information is necessary for the Service to properly balance the exercise of non-Federal oil and gas rights within refuge boundaries with the Service's responsibility to protect wildlife and habitat, water quality and quantity, wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities, and the health and safety of employees and visitors on NWRS lands.

The information collected under the 29D rule identifies the owner and operator (the owner and operator can be the same) and details how the operator may access and develop oil and gas resources. It also identifies the steps the operator intends to take to minimize any adverse impacts of operations on refuge resource and uses. Operators do not submit information unless they wish to conduct oil and gas operations.

We use the information collected to do the following:

(1) Evaluate proposed operations;

(2) Ensure that all necessary mitigation measures are employed to protect refuge resources and values;

(3) Ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508) and the NWRSAA, as amended by the NWRSIA; and

(4) Specifically manage species within the NWRS under the provisions of numerous statutes, the most notable of which are the MBTA, the ESA, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661 et seq.), and the FWA.

Title of Collection: Non-Federal Oil and Gas Operations on National Wildlife Refuge System Lands, 50 CFR 29, Subpart D.

OMB Control Number: 1018-0162.

Form Number: FWS Form 3-2469.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Respondents/Affected Public: Businesses that conduct oil and gas exploration on national wildlife refuges.

Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.

Frequency of Collection: On occasion.

Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: None.Start Printed Page 48368

Activity/requirementEstimated number of annual responsesCompletion time per response (hours)Estimated total annual burden hours
Preexisting Operations (§ 29.61)40502,000
Temporary Access Permit Application (§ 29.71)3517595
Accessing Oil and Gas Rights from Non-Federal Surface Location (§ 29.80)515
Pre-application Meeting for Operations Permit (§ 29.91)45290
Operations Permit Application (§§ 29.94-29.97)451406,300
Financial Assurance (§§ 29.103(b), 29.150)45145
Identification of Wells and Related Facilities (§ 29.119(b))45290
Reporting (§ 29.121)
Third-Party Monitor Report (§ 29.121(b))300175,100
Notification—Injuries/Mortality to Fish and Wildlife and Threatened/Endangered Plants (§ 29.121(c))20120
Notification—Accidents involving Serious Injuries/Death and Fires/Spills (§ 29.121(d))20120
Written Report—Accidents Involving Serious Injuries/Deaths and Fires/Spills (§ 29.121(d))2016320
Report—Verify Compliance with Permits (§ 29.121(e))2404960
Notification—Chemical Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids uploaded to FracFocus (§ 29.121(f))515
Permit Modifications (§ 29.160(a))1016160
Change of Operator
Transferring Operator Notification (§ 29.170)208160
Acquiring Operator's Requirements for Wells Not Under a Service Permit (§ 29.171(a))1940760
Acquiring Operator's Acceptance of an Existing Permit (§ 29.171(b))188
Extension to Well Plugging (§ 29.181(a))
Application for Permit101401,400
Modification51680
Public Information (§ 29.210)
Affidavit in Support of Claim of Confidentiality (§ 29.210(c) and (d))111
Confidential Information (§ 29.210(e) and (f))111
Maintenance of Confidential Information (§ 29.210(h))111
Generic Chemical Name Disclosure (§ 29.210(i))111
Totals:93418,122

An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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Dated: September 10, 2019.

Madonna Baucum,

Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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[FR Doc. 2019-19853 Filed 9-12-19; 8:45 am]

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