BOEM Publication Focuses on Recent Atlantic Seismic Decision

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Science Notes that was recently released addresses questions surrounding BOEM’s Record of Decision providing a path forward for the submission and review of applications to conduct seismic activities in the Mid- and South Atlantic.

In an introductory section, BOEM Chief Environmental Officer William Brown aims to “clear up a few misconceptions” about BOEM’s Record of Decision, stating that “I believe that everyone benefits by getting the facts right.”  He went on to note BOEM’s legal responsibility to protect marine species and ecosystem from harm, as well as its previous actions to invest in protected species and noise-related research, provide marine mammal studies on topics such as seismic impacts on sperm whales, and conduct stakeholder workshops on acoustic impacts.

Brown noted that further steps that will be required before any seismic activity takes place include compliance with a series of protective measures and site-specific environmental reviews that will require intergovernmental coordination and consultation.  In addition, he added that for any marine mammal taking, applicants will be required to obtain a NOAA authorization based on a finding of no more than a negligible impact and no adverse effects on marine mammal species or stocks.