ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE FROM 2002 TO THE PRESENT

From 2002 through the present, the Navy has prepared National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Executive Order 12114 (Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions) documentation to support permit applications under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and to provide new data and information. Prior to 2019, the Navy received a 5-year MMPA Rule and ESA Biological Opinion (BO) for global use of SURTASS LFA sonar and had to apply and be authorized annually for an ESA Incidental Take Statement (ITS) for all LFA sonar-equipped vessels and MMPA Letters of Authorization (LOAs) for each LFA-sonar equipped vessel. In 2019, the Navy was authorized with a 7-year MMPA Rule and LOA as well as a 7-year ESA BO and ITS for use of SURTASS LFA sonar in the western/central North Pacific and eastern Indian oceans on all LFA-sonar equipped vessels . See “Download” page for links to documents noted below.

2002 to 2007:

  • EIS/OEIS (January 2001) and ROD (July 2002); global operations
  • 1st MMPA Rule (July 2002): 2002 through 2007
  • 1st BO/ITS (May 2002): 2002 through 2007
    • Navy submits annual LOA and BO/ITS requests
  • Annual LOA for each LFA sonar vessel (RV Cory Chouest [2002 through 2007[ and USNS IMPECCABLE 2004 through 2007]): 2002 through 2007
  • Annual BO/ITSs for all LFA sonar vessels: 2002 through 2007

2007 to 2012:

  • 1st SEIS/SOEIS (April 2007) and ROD (August 2007); global operations
  • 2nd MMPA Rule (August 2007): 2007 through 2012
  • 2nd BO/ITS (August 2007): 2007 through 2012
    • Navy submits annual LOA and BO/ITS requests
  • Annual LOA for each LFA sonar vessel (2008: RV Cory Chouest and USNS IMPECCABLE; 2008 to 2010: USNS IMPECCABLE and USNS ABLE; 2010 to 2011: USNS IMPECCABLE, USNS ABLE, and USNS EFFECTIVE; 2011 to 2012: USNS IMPECCABLE, USNS ABLE, USNS EFFECTIVE, and USNS VICTORIOUS)

2012 to 2017:

  • 2nd SEIS/SOEIS (June 2012) and ROD (August 2012); global operations
  • 3rd MMPA Rule (August 2012): 2012 through 2017
  • 3rd BO/ITS (August 2012): 2012 through 2017
    • Navy submits annual LOA and BO/ITS requests
  • Annual LOA for each LFA sonar vessel (USNS IMPECCABLE, USNS ABLE, USNS EFFECTIVE, and USNS VICTORIOUS)
  • Annual BO/ITSs for all LFA sonar vessels: 2012 through 2017)

2015:

  • 3rd SEIS/SOEIS (January 2015): Limited purpose to remedy the NEPA deficiency identified in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Court’s March 28, 2014 amended summary judgment order; Hawaii

2017 to 2019:

  • 4th SEIS/SOEIS (June 2017); No ROD; global operations
  • National Defense MMPA Exemption (August 2017): 2017 to 2019 (USNS IMPECCABLE, USNS ABLE, USNS EFFECTIVE, and USNS VICTORIOUS)
  • 4th BO/ITS (August 2017): 2017 through 2022 for all LFA sonar vessels

2019 to 2026:

  • 5th SEIS/SOEIS (June 2019) and ROD (August 2019); western/central North Pacific and eastern Indian oceans
  • 4th MMPA Rule (August 2019): 2019 to 2026
  • LOA for all LFA-equipped sonar vessels (August 2019): 2019 to 2026
  • 5th BO/ITS (July 2019): 2019 through 2026/foreseeable future