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Soundings Archive

FWS Seeks Public Comment on Polar Bear and Walrus ICR for the Chukchi, Beaufort and Alaskan Coast
On July 19, 2010, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service published a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on an Information Collection Request relating to the effects of oil and gas activities on marine mammals in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea and the adjacent coast of Alaska. After receiving and reviewing public comment, FWS will send the ICR to OMB with whatever revisions are made in response to comment. OMB will then review the ICR and decide whether to approve it under the Paperwork Reduction Act. FWS cannot force anyone to provide the information covered by the ICR until and unless OMB approves the ICR and issues it a control number under the PRA. There will likely be another public comment period during OMB's review of the ICR.

The current ICR for oil and gas activities in the Beaufort, Chukchi and adjacent Alaskan coast expires November 30, 2010. The ICR now open for comment replaces, rather than extends the current ICR. Like the current ICR, the proposed new ICR is intended to cover information that FWS believes is necessary to develop and enforce oil and gas "Take" mitigation provisions. FWS believes that these mitigation provisions are necessary to protect polar bears and walruses under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

FWS' Federal Register notice briefly describes the information covered by the ICR. It also provides FWS' view of the burden that this ICR would impose on respondents. FWS' notice also requests public comment on the following issues:

"Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, including whether or not the information will have practical utility; The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of information;

Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents."
FWS must receive any comments on the ICR by September 20, 2010.
  • Click here to read FWS' Federal Register notice seeking comment

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