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Endangered Species Act Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion Office of Naval Research (ONR) Arctic Research Activities 2018-2021 and Associated Proposed Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska
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    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)), requires Federal agencies to ensure that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. When a Federal agency’s action “may affect” a protected species, that agency is required to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), depending upon the endangered species, threatened species, or designated critical habitat that may be affected by the action (50 CFR 402.14(a)). Federal agencies may fulfill this general requirement informally if they conclude that an action may affect, but “is not likely to adversely affect” endangered species, threatened species, or designated critical habitat, and NMFS or the USFWS concurs with that conclusion (50 CFR 402.14(b)).
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