Offshore Seismic Surveys: Additional Guidance Needed to Help Ensure Timely Reviews, Report to the Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 8MB]

This Government Accountability Office (GAO) report examines the seismic permitting process in relation to its impact on marine mammals. "Offshore seismic surveys provide federal agencies and other entities with a wide range of data, from research on fault zones to geology that may indicate the presence of oil and gas. Companies seeking to conduct such surveys to find oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) must obtain a permit from Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)--which oversees offshore oil and gas activities. [...] 'This report examines (1) BOEM's review process, the number of permit applications reviewed from 2011 through 2016, and its review time frames; and (2) the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) review process, the number of incidental take authorization applications reviewed from 2011 through 2016, and their review time frames, among other objectives. GAO [Government Accountability Office] reviewed laws and regulations and agency documents, analysed data on applications to BOEM, NMFS, and FWS, and interviewed agency officials."

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Government Accountability Office://www.gao.gov/
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