Comment to OMB on BOEM ICR Affecting Marine Mammals and Offshore Oil

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is proposing to renew an information collection with revisions. Interested persons are invited to submit comments to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on or before April 30, 2018.

BOEM summarized this ICR as follows:

“The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act, as amended  (43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq. and 43 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to prescribe rules and regulations to  administer leasing of mineral resources on the OCS. Such rules and  regulations apply to all operations conducted under a lease, or unit.  The OCS Lands Act, at 43 U.S.C. 1340 and 1351, requires the holders of  OCS oil and gas or sulphur leases to submit exploration plans (EPs) and  development and production plans (DPPs) to the Secretary for approval  prior to commencing these activities. Also, as a Federal agency, we  have an affirmative duty to comply with the National Environmental  Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Compliance with the  ESA includes a substantive duty to carry out any agency action in a  manner that is not likely to jeopardize protected species, as well as a  procedural duty to consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife  Service (USFWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries) before engaging in a discretionary action  that may affect a protected species.

The regulations at 30 CFR part 550, subpart B, concern plans and  information that must be submitted to conduct activities on a lease or  unit, and are the subject of this collection. The collection also  covers the related Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs) that BOEM  issues to clarify or provide additional guidance on some aspects of our  regulations.                     BOEM geologists, geophysicists, and environmental scientists and  other Federal agencies (e.g., USFWS, NOAA Fisheries) analyze and  evaluate the information and data collected under Subpart B to ensure  that planned operations are safe; will not adversely affect the marine,  coastal, or human environment; and will conserve the resources of the  OCS. BOEM uses the information to make an informed decision on whether  to approve the proposed EP or DPP as submitted, or require plan  modifications. The affected States also review the information  collected to determine consistency with approved Coastal Zone  Management plans.

In 2016, BOEM published a final rule entitled, “Oil and Gas and  Sulfur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf–Requirements for  Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf.” This rule  finalized new regulations specific to activities conducted on the  Arctic OCS that modify 30 CFR part 550, subpart B. The new regulations  require operators to develop an Integrated Operations Plan (IOP) for  each exploratory program on the Arctic OCS, as well as to submit  additional planning information with the EPs. An additional 3,930  burden hours were approved as part of that rulemaking, and are included  in the burden table for this control number. The Secretary’s Order 3350  (May 1, 2017), which further implements the President’s Executive Order  entitled, “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy”  (82 FR 20815, May 3, 2017), directs BOEM to review the final rule. If  the Secretary decides that the final determination is to suspend,  revise, or rescind the rule, the related burden hours in this OMB  control number will be adjusted accordingly. “

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