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Seas, Alaska; and Authorization of Small Takes Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act
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  • Description:
    This opinion will address oil and gas leasing and exploration by the U.S. Department ofthe lnterior, MMS, on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) waters ofthe Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Its purpose is to provide an assessment of those actions on the continued existence ofthe bowhead whale, as well as to provide measures to conserve the species and mitigate impact. Federal oil and gas leasing consists ofseveral 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.
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