Biological Opinion on Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration Activities in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska and Authorization of Small Takes Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act
Analysis of oil and gas leasing and exploration by the U.S. Department of the lnterior, MMS, on the Outer Continental Shelf waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
This opinion is to provide an assessment of those actions on the continued existence of the bowhead whale, as well as to provide measures to conserve the species and mitigate impact. Federal oil and gas leasing consists of several stages, or increments; 1) leasing and exploration, 2) development, production, and transportation, and 3) abandonment. The MMS offers leases on the OCS through periodic sales. Exploration activities may occur prior to or after such sales, while later phases of leasing would all be post-lease actions. Various actions may be associated with each phases of the leasing process.
Action Agencies: Minerals Management Service and National Marine Fisheries Service