Liberte Environmental Associates

NOAA Fisheries Draft EIS
For the Effects on the Arctic Ocean from Oil and Gas Activities


NOAA's draft EIS on the Effects of Oil and Gas Activities in the Arctic Ocean is intended to address National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) concerns and has been in prepartion since February 2010.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Related Documents
In April 2007 NOAA and the Minerals Management Service (MMS now BOEMRE) released the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) for Seismic Surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Public comments on this 2007 DPEIS were substantial and NOAA/MMS withdrew the document in October 2009. NOAA Fisheries is now getting set to release its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Effects of Oil and Gas (O&G) Activities in the Arctic Ocean in the "Fall 2011". These oil and gas activities include waste discharges into the water column and sediments, atmospheric emissions, seismic surveys, exploratory drilling and other physical impacts. The focus of this discussion is NOAA Fisheries assessment of ecological effects resulting from waste disposal in the Arctic Ocean, specifically, in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska's north coastline.

Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) for Seismic Surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas (NOAA-MMS draft February 2007).
Chapters 1 through 7 of the DPEIS for Seismic Surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Chapter 8 - Tables and Figures of the DPEIS for Seismic Surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Chapter 8 - Tables and Figures (Continued) of the DPEIS for Seismic Surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion (BO) of the DPEIS for Seismic Surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Appendices of the DPEIS for Seismic Surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

NOAA Fisheries and MMS Notice of Withdrawal (74 FR 55539) of the Draft Programmatic EIS for Seismic Surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Published on October 28, 2009 and ending the ill-fated National Environmental Policy Act process.

NOAA Fisheries Notice of Intent (75 FR 6175) to Prepare the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Effects of Oil and Gas Activities in the Arctic Ocean. Published on February 18, 2010 and beginning the current National Environmental Policy Act process. The planned release date of the draft EIS has been revised to the "Fall 2011" period. It is going on two years since NOAA Fisheries announced its intent to prepare the draft EIS.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries website for its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Effects of Oil and Gas Activities in the Arctic Ocean contains additional information.

See LEA's Webpage on EPA's progress in renewing Arctic Permit AKG280000, which will become the NPDES general permits for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Ocean for the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea. Related documents for wastewater discharges into the Arctic Ocean are also available through this webpage.

See LEA's Webpage on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Arctic Ocean oil and gas environmental assessments, discharger exploration plans and related documents for the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

See LEA's Webpage on Shell Offshore Inc.'s Notice of Intent (NOI) to Discharge to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean at the Sivulliq N drill site. Conditions of the NOI are intended to be pursuant to EPA Arctic Permit AKG280000, which is the general permit for waste discharges into the Arctic Ocean related to oil and gas exploration.

Sea ice recession because of climate change is also a factor in oil and gas development in the Arctic Ocean. For additional information see Arctic sea ice reduction and sea ice recession.

Additional NOAA documents relating to Arctic Ocean ecology are:
NOAA's comments of September 9, 2009 on the MMS' Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015 . These comments, particularly the ones relating to oil spill frequency in the United States, were made prior to the BP oil spill (BPOS) that began in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010.

Fishery Management Plan for Fish Resources of the Arctic Management Area. This document was developed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) and published in August 2009. The NPFMC governs and develops plans to manage the marine environment pertaining to Alaska. The NPFMC writes rules for fishing in federal waters of the United States for approval by NOAA Fisheries, a.k.a., NMFS or the National Marine Fisheries Service. This is all brought to you by the Magnuson-Stevens Act of 1976.

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