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Endangered Species Act Section 7 Biological Opinion: Oil and Gas Sales 191 and 199 Cook Inlet, Alaska Planning Area; and Authorization of Small Takes Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act
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    This document constitutes the Biological Opinion (Opinion) by NMFS of the effect on listed species of proposed Oil and Gas Lease Sale 191 within the Cook Inlet, Alaska planning area of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), and of future incidental take authorizations issued by NMFS under section 101(a)(5) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA). This Opinion evaluates the impacts of leasing and exploration on Steller sea lions, fin whales and humpback whales, and determines whether the described actions may jeopardize their continued existence or adversely modify critical habitat of Steller sea lions. This Opinion incorporates much of the information presented within the Biological Evaluation/DEIS prepared by the Minerals Management Service, as well as pertinent research on matters related to oil exploration. Traditional knowledge and the observations of Native Alaskans were also considered in preparing this opinion, along with information gained through scientific research. This knowledge contributes, along with western science, to a more complete understanding of these issues. A reasonable assessment of potential effects can only be made by considering both these systems of knowledge.
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