The Department of the Navy, with the National Marine Fisheries Service as a cooperating agency, is preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Supplemental Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS/SOEIS) for SURTASS LFA sonar in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Executive Order 12114. The SEIS/SOEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts associated with two action alternatives and a No-Action Alternative to the following resource areas: air quality, marine water resources, biological resources, and economic resources. The Final SEIS/SOEIS is expected to be released to the public in the summer of 2019.
As part of the environmental decision-making process, the Navy has submitted an application for rulemaking and a letter of authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to take marine mammals incidental to the use of SURTASS LFA sonar for training and testing activities in the western and central North Pacific and eastern Indian oceans. NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue regulations to govern the incidental taking of marine mammals by Level B harassment from August 2019 through August 2026. The comment period ends on April 1, 2019.
You may submit comments on the Proposed Rule, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2019-0014, by any of the following methods:
- Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0014, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
- Mail: Submit written comments to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Two documents accompany the Proposed Rule:
- Potential Marine Mammal Offshore Biologically Important Areas for SURTASS LFA Sonar: Marine Areas under Consideration
- Harbor Porpoise Desktop Study