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Soundings Archive

FWS Proposes Polar Bear and Pacific Walrus Take Rules
On March 11, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed regulations that would authorize the nonlethal, incidental, unintentional take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walruses during year-round oil and gas industry (Industry) exploration, development, and production operations in the Beaufort Sea and adjacent northern coast of Alaska. The regulations would be promulgated under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Industry operations for the covered period are similar to, and include all activities covered by the previous 5-year Beaufort Sea incidental take regulations that were effective from August 2, 2006, through August 2, 2011. FWS believes that the total expected takings of polar bears and Pacific walruses during oil and gas industry exploration, development, and production activities will have a negligible impact on these species and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of these species for subsistence use by Alaska Natives.

Comments on this proposed rule must be received by FWS by April 11, 2011.

The proposed rules are FWS' response to a petition submitted on April 22, 2009, by the Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA) on behalf of its members and other participating parties. The petition is available at: AOGA's application indicates that they request regulations that will be applicable to any company conducting oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities as described within the request. This includes members of AOGA and other parties planning to conduct oil and gas operations in the geographic region. Members of AOGA represented in the petition include:

    Alyeska Pipeline Service Company;
    Anadarko Petroleum Corporation;
    BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.;
    Chevron USA, Inc.;
    Eni Petroleum;
    ExxonMobil Production Company;
    Flint Hills Resources, Inc.;
    Marathon Oil Company;
    Pacific Energy Resources Ltd.;
    Petro-Canada (Alaska) Inc.;
    Petro Star Inc.;
    Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska, Inc.;
    Shell Exploration & Production Company;
    Statoil Hydro;
    Tesoro Alaska Company; and
    XTO Energy, Inc.
Other participating parties include ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc., CGG Veritas, Brooks Range Petroleum Corporation, and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Energy Services.
  • Click here to read FWS' Federal Register notice of LOA issuance
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