Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Survey in the Atlantic Ocean

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 232 (Tuesday, December 3, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 232 (Tuesday, December 3, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66175-66176]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-26054]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
[RTID 0648-XR070]
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities;
Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Survey in the Atlantic
Ocean
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice; proposed revised incidental harassment authorization
(IHA); request for comments.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: On November 30, 2018, NMFS issued an IHA to ION GeoVentures,
pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). NMFS has received
a request, co-signed by officers from ION GeoVentures (ION) and GX
Technology Corporation (GXT), to administratively change the name of
the holder of the subject IHA from ION to GXT. No other changes are
proposed. NMFS is inviting comments on the proposed change.
DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than January
2, 2020.
ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief,
Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources,
National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to
1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments
should be sent to [email protected].
    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any
other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the
end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including
all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments
to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or
Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the
public record and will generally be posted online at
www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/incidental-take-authorization-oil-and-
gas-industry-geophysical-survey-
[[Page 66176]]
activity-atlantic without change. All personal identifying information
(e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be
publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or
otherwise sensitive or protected information.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Laws, Office of Protected
Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the original IHA,
change request, and other documents relevant to issuance of the
original IHA may be obtained online at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/incidental-take-authorization-oil-and-gas-industry-geophysical-survey-activity-atlantic. In case of problems accessing these documents,
please call the contact listed above.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Background
    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.)
direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to allow, upon
request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers
of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity
(other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region
if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if
the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed
authorization is provided to the public for review.
    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS
finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or
stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the
availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where
relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements
pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings
are set forth.
Summary of Request
    On November 30, 2018, NMFS issued an IHA to ION to take marine
mammals, by harassment, incidental to a proposed geophysical survey in
the Atlantic Ocean (83 FR 63268). NMFS subsequently received a written
request, co-signed by officers from both ION and GXT, to
administratively change the name of the IHA holder from ION to GXT.
This November 6, 2019, request states that GXT, a U.S. corporation, is
a wholly owned subsidiary of ION Exploration Productions (U.S.A.),
Inc., which, in turn, is wholly owned by ION Geophysical Corporation.
The request further states that ``ION GeoVentures'' is the name of a
business unit within ION Geophysical Corporation that performs a
specific business function for entities in the corporate structure of
ION Geophysical Corporation, including for GXT. According to the
request, however, GXT is the company that plans to carry out the
subject geophysical survey in the Atlantic Ocean and should have been
listed as the applicant. The request explains that inclusion of the
name ``ION GeoVentures'' on the original IHA request was an
unintentional clerical error. With the name change, GXT expressly
agrees to comply with the associated terms, conditions, stipulations,
and restrictions of the original IHA.
    Based on this request, we propose to revise the issued IHA by
correcting the name of the IHA holder to reflect GXT. No other changes
were requested. Written notification has not yet been received from the
IHA holder and, therefore, the IHA is not yet effective. The revised
IHA, if issued, would become effective upon notification from the IHA
holder, with an expiration date no later than November 30, 2020.
    There are no other changes to the issued IHA as described in the
December 7, 2018, Federal Register notice of a final IHA (83 FR 63268):
The specified activity; description of marine mammals in the area of
the specified activity; potential effects on marine mammals and their
habitat; mitigation and related monitoring used to implement
mitigation; reporting; estimated take by incidental harassment;
negligible impact and small numbers analyses and determinations; impact
on availability of affected species or stocks for subsistence uses and
the period of effectiveness remain unchanged and are herein
incorporated by reference.
Proposed Revisions to the IHA
    NMFS is proposing a change in the name of the holder of the IHA
from ``ION GeoVentures'' to ``GX Technology Corporation.''
Request for Public Comments
    NMFS invites comment on the proposed change in the name of the
holder of the IHA only. The scope of NMFS' decision and, therefore, the
scope of this solicitation for public comment, is limited to the
requested change. Comments that are not relevant to this decision will
not be considered. Please include with your comments any supporting
information to help inform our final decision on GXT's request.
    Dated: November 26, 2019.
Angela Somma,
Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-26054 Filed 12-2-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P