NMFS Issues Another IHA for Alaskan Seismic
CRE previously reported that the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a controversial Incidental Harassment Authorization for seismic oil and gas exploration in Alaskan seas. This IHA is issued to Statoil USA E&P, Inc., for a seismic survey program in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. See the Statoil article.
CRE has also issued another controversial IHA for Alaskan seismic. This one is to Shell Offshore Inc. to take, by harassment, small numbers of 8 species of marine mammals incidental to a marine survey program. The program includes site clearance and shallow hazards, ice gouge, and strudel scour surveys in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska, during the 2010 Arctic open water season. Like the Statoil IHA, the Shell IHA is issued n accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Also like the Statoil IHA, NMFS received many comments on its proposal to grant the Shell IHA. Commenters included the Marine Mammal Commission; the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission; the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope; the North Slope Borough Office of the Mayor; and Alaska Wilderness League, Audubon Alaska, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council,
Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Sierra Club, and World Wildlife Fund; and a letter from Dr. David E. Bain, a contract scientist for NMFS.
Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice of the Shell IHA, and NMFS' response to comments on the IHA