Agency Information Collection Activities: Submitted for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Review; Comment Request, 67630-67633 [E6-19687]

Download as PDF 67630 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Notices refuge would also construct a fishing pier on the bayou and a canoe and kayak trail with access point. Staff would investigate opportunities for limited hunting possibilities. Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 105–57. Dated: October 11, 2006. Cynthia K. Dohner, Acting Regional Director. [FR Doc. 06–9343 Filed 11–21–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–M DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Minerals Management Service Agency Information Collection Activities: Submitted for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Review; Comment Request Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior. ACTION: Notice of revision of an information collection (1010–0154). pwalker on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), MMS is notifying the public that it has submitted to OMB an information collection request (ICR) to renew approval of the paperwork requirements under the Endangered Species Act Biological Opinions, issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries) and are titled: ‘‘Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs)— Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program; Vessel Strike Avoidance and Injured/Dead Protected Species Reporting; and, Marine Trash and Debris Awareness and Elimination.’’ This notice also provides the public a second opportunity to comment on the paperwork burden of these regulatory requirements. DATES: Submit written comments by December 22, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this information collection directly to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior via OMB e-mail: (OIRA_DOCKET@omb.eop.gov); or by fax (202) 395–6566; identify with (1010– 0154). Submit a copy of your comments to the Department of the Interior, MMS, via: VerDate Aug<31>2005 22:25 Nov 21, 2006 Jkt 211001 • Public Connect on-line commenting system, https://ocsconnect.mms.gov. Follow the instructions on the website for submitting comments. • E-mail MMS at rules.comments@mms.gov. Identify with Information Collection Number 1010– 0154 in the subject line. • Fax: 703–787–1093. Identify with Information Collection Number 1010– 0154. • Mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior; Minerals Management Service; Attention: Rules Processing Team (RPT); 381 Elden Street, MS–4024; Herndon, Virginia 20170–4817. Please reference ‘‘Information Collection 1010–0154’’ in your comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Blundon, Regulations and Standards Branch, (703) 787–1607. You may also contact Cheryl Blundon to obtain a copy, at no cost, of the NTLs that require the subject collection of information. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs)—Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program; Vessel Strike Avoidance and Injured/Dead Protected Species Reporting; and, Marine Trash and Debris Awareness and Elimination. OMB Control Number: 1010–0154. Abstract: The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act, as amended (43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq. and 43 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to prescribe rules and regulations to administer leasing of the OCS. Such rules and regulations will apply to all operations conducted under a lease. Operations on the OCS must preserve, protect, and develop oil and natural gas resources in a manner that is consistent with the need to make such resources available to meet the Nation’s energy needs as rapidly as possible; to balance orderly energy resource development with protection of human, marine, and coastal environments; to ensure the public a fair and equitable return on the resources of the OCS; and to preserve and maintain free enterprise competition. As a Federal agency, we have a continuing affirmative duty to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This includes a substantive duty to carry out any agency action in a manner that is not likely to jeopardize protected species as well as a procedural duty to consult with the FWS and NOAA Fisheries before engaging in a discretionary action that may affect a protected species. PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The MMS follows these procedural requirements by conducting formal consultations with FWS and NOAA Fisheries prior to lease sales. Consultations on OCS lease sales 181, 184, and the 5-year multisale (2002– 2007) program in the Central and Western Planning Areas of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) resulted in no-jeopardy biological opinions from the FWS and NOAA Fisheries. In their biological opinions, NOAA Fisheries determined that some activities associated with the proposed action (lease sale and related exploration, development, and production activities) may adversely affect (harm) sperm whales and sea turtles in the action area and that certain reasonable and prudent measures are necessary to minimize the potential for incidental take of these animals. To be exempt from the prohibitions of Section 9 of the ESA (which prohibits taking listed species), MMS must implement and enforce nondiscretionary terms and conditions. The ESA also requires monitoring and reporting. Monitoring programs resulting from ESA interagency consultations are designed to (1) detect adverse effects resulting from a proposed action, (2) assess the actual level of incidental take in comparison with the level of anticipated incidental take documented in the biological opinion, (3) detect when the level of anticipated take is exceeded, and (4) determine the effectiveness of reasonable and prudent alternatives and their implementing terms and conditions. To provide supplementary guidance and procedures, MMS issues Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs) on a regional or national basis. Regulation 30 CFR 250.103 allows MMS to issue NTLs to clarify, supplement, or provide more detail about certain requirements. To implement the nondiscretionary terms and conditions of these biological opinions, the MMS issued three NTLs, as follows (note that the NTL numbers were removed since they will be reissued after renewal): • Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program, • Vessel Strike Avoidance and Injured/Dead Protected Species Reporting, • Marine Trash and Debris Awareness and Elimination. It should be noted that it has now become common practice for OCS lessees and operators to subcontract the marine mammal observation and monitoring activities associated with the requirements of the Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program NTL. E:\FR\FM\22NON1.SGM 22NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Notices MMS has been working on rulemaking, 1010–AD10, to incorporate the requirements in the NTLs into our regulations. Once final rulemaking becomes effective, the burden hours for this collection will be consolidated into the primary collection of 30 CFR part 250 subpart B, 1010–0151. We will then submit to OMB a request to discontinue this collection. MMS will use the information collected to report annually to NOAA Fisheries the effectiveness of mitigation, any adverse effects of the proposed action, and any incidental take, in accordance with 50 CFR 402.14(i)(3). MMS engineers, geologists, geophysicists, environmental scientists, and other federal agencies (FWS, NOAA Fisheries, etc.) also will analyze the information and data collected under these NTLs to better evaluate the potential impacts to listed species and to plan operations in a manner that will further reduce and/or avoid adverse impacts to protected species on the OCS. We will protect information from respondents considered proprietary under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and its implementing regulations (43 CFR Part 2). No items of a sensitive nature are collected. Responses are mandatory. Frequency: On occasion, annually, and on the 1st and 15th of each month NTL title Reporting, posting, or recordkeeping requirement Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program. Submit to MMS observer training requirement materials and information. for the marine mammal observation reports. Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: Approximately 130 Federal OCS lessees and operators. Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping ‘‘Hour’’ Burden: The estimated annual ‘‘hour’’ burden for this information collection is a total of 1,002 hours. The following chart details the individual components and estimated hour burdens. In calculating the burdens, MMS assumed that respondents perform certain requirements in the normal course of their activities. MMS considers these to be usual and customary and took that into account in estimating the burden. 12 Training certification and recordkeeping 67631 Hour burden Average No. of annual responses Annual burden hours ⁄ hour .................. 24 reports × 4 vessels = 96. 48 12 ⁄ hour .................. 20 ............................. 10 If used, submit to MMS information on any passive acoustic monitoring system prior to placing it in service. 1 hour .................... 3 ............................... 3 Submit to MMS marine mammal observation report(s). (This includes observer duty and training and are the occasional activities done in-house and not subcontracted out.). 345 hours* ............. 2 reports .................. 690 Vessel Strike Avoidance and Injured/ Dead Protected Species Reporting. Submit injured/dead protected species report. 12 ⁄ hour .................. 2 reports .................. 1 Marine Trash and Debris Awareness and Elimination. Submit request for training video .......... 12 ⁄ hour .................. 100 requests ............ 50 Submit annual report to MMS on training process and certification. 12 ⁄ hour .................. 200 records ............. 100 Training recordkeeping ......................... 12 ⁄ hour .................. 200 records ............. 100 Post placards on vessels and structures. (Exempt from information collection burden because MMS is providing exact language for the trash and debris warning, similar to the ‘‘Surgeon General’s Warning’’ exemption.) pwalker on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES Total Hour Burden ....................................................................................................................................... Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping ‘‘Non-Hour Cost’’ Burden: We have identified three nonhour costs associated with this IC that were originally estimated as hour burdens. As previously explained, typically these activities are now subcontracted to other service companies with expertise in these areas. Therefore, in this submission we have significantly reduced the corresponding hours and put the majority of the costs associated with these requirements in the ‘‘non-hour cost’’ burden. To allow for the potential in-house reporting by lessees/operators, we have retained a VerDate Aug<31>2005 22:25 Nov 21, 2006 Jkt 211001 minimal hour burden in the hour burden table. It should be noted that the costs identified are associated with the NTL: Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program. • Observer training—8 hrs @ $37.50 hr = $300 × 72 observers = $21,600. • Submit observation report/form—1 hr @ $52 hr = $52 × 200 reports/forms = $10,400. • Observation duty—8 hrs × 3 observers = 24 × 4 vessels = 96 hrs × 365 days/yr = 35,040 hours × $52 hr = $1,822,080. PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 623 responses ......... 0 1,002 hrs Therefore, we estimate that the annual non-hour cost burden is $1,854,080. Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.) provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Until OMB approves a collection of information, you are not obligated to respond. Comments: Before submitting an ICR to OMB, PRA section 3506(c)(2)(A) requires each agency ‘‘* * * to provide notice * * * and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies concerning each proposed E:\FR\FM\22NON1.SGM 22NON1 pwalker on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES 67632 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Notices collection of information * * *’’ Agencies must specifically solicit comments to: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the agency to perform its duties, including whether the information is useful; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. To comply with the public consultation process, on May 10, 2006, we published a Federal Register notice (71 FR 27268) announcing that we would submit this ICR to OMB for approval. The notice provided the required 60-day comment period. In addition, § 250.199 also informs the public that they may comment at any time on the collections of information and provides the address to which they should send comments. We received several comments in response to these efforts. The following discusses the comments and MMS’s responses. Comment A: We request that the MMS demonstrate that the monitoring and reporting requirements of NTL 2004G01, Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program, have in fact been approved by OMB under the PRA. Response A: As a means to implement non-discretionary terms and conditions imposed by NOAA in their July 2002 biological opinion for Lease Sale 184 and subsequent Endangered Species Act section 7 consultations, MMS sought emergency information collection (IC) approval from OMB. OMB issued the emergency IC approval (OMB Control Number 1010–0154) on 3/26/2003, for 180 days with an expiration date of 9/ 30/2003. MMS issued NTL 2003-G08 ‘‘Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program’’ with an effective date of 6/5/2003. MMS then began the process of obtaining the standard 3-year OMB IC approval for the NTL. During that process, MMS expanded the scope of the NTL to cover additional marine mammals and water depths less than 200 meters in the Eastern Planning Area of the Gulf of Mexico. OMB IC approval for the NTL with revised scope was granted (1010– 0154) on 12/05/03. MMS reissued the NTL (after the effective date of the OMB IC approval) in 2004, with a 2004 NTL number, NTL 2004-G01 (which means the first NTL issued by the Gulf of VerDate Aug<31>2005 22:25 Nov 21, 2006 Jkt 211001 Mexico Regional Office in the year 2004). Comment B: We request that MMS demonstrate that there are no costs to comply with the monitoring and reporting requirements of NTL 2004– G01. Response B: The initial standard IC request for this NTL went out for public comment with a 60-day (68 FR 25905 May 14, 2003) and 30-day (68 FR 56313 September 30, 2003) Federal Register notice. In the standard IC request, MMS states ‘‘* * * Agencies must also estimate the ‘‘non-hour cost’’ burdens to respondents or recordkeepers resulting from the collection of information. Therefore, if you have costs to generate, maintain, and disclose this information, you should comment and provide your total capital and startup cost components or annual operations, maintenance, and purchase of service components * * *’’ MMS did receive a comment expressing concern about the possible costs associated with these NTLs. However, the commenter did not identify any specific non-hour cost estimates associated with the activities. Therefore, in the 2003 submission to OMB requesting a standard three-year extension of the emergency approval, MMS reported that we had not identified any non-hour cost burdens associated with the NTLs. OMB granted the three-year approval with the current December 31, 2006, expiration date. During this current 2006 renewal process, we again published the 60-day comment notice in the Federal Register (71 FR 27268, 5/10/2006). We received the above comment pertaining to the non-hour cost burdens. Based upon this comment, and the previous 2003 comment expressing concern over the costs associated with the requirements imposed by these NTLs, MMS has further investigated both the hour and non-hour cost burdens. Our findings revealed that lessees and operators now routinely subcontract the marine mammal observation and monitoring activities detailed in one of the NTLs. This results in ‘‘non-hour’’ cost burdens ($1,854,080) in the form of service contracts, rather than in-house company employees performing these duties with corresponding ‘‘hour’’ burden costs. Therefore, in this ICR we have adjusted all of our estimates accordingly for both the hour and non-hour cost burdens. Comment C: We request that MMS confirm our understanding that the proposed extension of OMB No. 1010– 0154 indicates that MMS does not intend or foresee any changes in the NTL 2004–G01 monitoring, reporting, and mitigation requirements. Any new requirements would require a new ICR, PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 would require a new public comment period, and would have to pass the practical utility test. Response C: After OMB renews this collection, MMS will reissue NTL 2004– G01 with no changes in requirements. Should MMS need to impose new requirements, MMS would seek OMB IC approval and provide notice for public comment. However, the NTL will be reissued with a current year NTL number (which will have either a 2006 or 2007 to signify the year that the NTL was issued, and a different G number, signifying the alphanumerical order of an NTL) and will display the new OMB approval expiration date and a revised PRA paragraph to reflect the reestimated IC hour and non-hour cost burdens. Comment D: One commenter posed a question concerning the validity of observers and their qualifications. Response D: This comment does not pertain to the information collection burden of the requirements. But, in response, it should be noted that all visual observers must have completed a protected species observer training course. MMS will not sanction particular trainers or training programs. Training is offered by independent entities. However, basic training criteria have been established and must be adhered to by any entity that offers observer training. Operators may utilize observers trained by third parties, may send crew for training conducted by third parties, or may develop their own training program. All training programs offering to fulfill the observer training requirement must: (1) Furnish to MMS, at the address listed in the NTL titled, Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program, a course information packet that includes the name and qualifications (i.e., experience, training completed, or educational background) of the instructor(s), the course outline or syllabus, and course reference material; (2) furnish each trainee with a document stating successful completion of the course; and (3) provide MMS with names, affiliations, and dates of course completion of trainees. The training course must include the following elements: overview of the MMPA and the ESA as they relate to seismic acquisition and protection of marine mammals and sea turtles in the GOM; overview of seismic acquisition operations in the GOM; overview of seismic mitigation measures (NTLs) and the protected species observer program in the GOM; discussion of the role and responsibilities of the protected species observer in the GOM, including the E:\FR\FM\22NON1.SGM 22NON1 pwalker on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Notices legal requirements (why you are here and what you do), professional behavior (code of conduct), integrity, authority of protected species observer to call for shut-down of seismic acquisition operations, assigned duties—what can/ cannot be asked of the observer, reporting of violations and coercion; identification of GOM marine mammals and sea turtles, with emphasis on whales; cues and search methods for locating marine mammals, especially whales, and sea turtles; data collection and reporting requirements—forms and reports to MMS on the 1st and 15th of each month, whale in exclusion zone/ shut-down report within 24 hours. If you wish to comment in response to this notice, you may send your comments to the offices listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. OMB has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove the information collection but may respond after 30 days. Therefore, to ensure maximum consideration, OMB should receive public comments by December 22, 2006. Public Comment Procedures: MMS’s practice is to make comments, including the names and addresses of respondents, available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the record a respondent’s identity, as allowable by the law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. In addition, you must present a rationale for withholding this information. This rationale must demonstrate that disclosure ‘‘would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.’’ Unsupported assertions will not meet this burden. In the absence of exceptional, documentable circumstances, this information will be released. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. Except for proprietary information, we will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. MMS Information Collection Clearance Officer: Arlene Bajusz (202) 208–7744. Dated: September 26, 2006. E.P. Danenberger, Chief Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs. [FR Doc. E6–19687 Filed 11–21–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–MR–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 22:25 Nov 21, 2006 Jkt 211001 67633 Web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Once on the PEPC Web site, select National Park Service ‘‘Catoctin Mountain Park’’ in order to access the DEIS. Bound copies of the Notice of Availability of the Draft DEIS will be available at the Catoctin White-tailed Deer Management Plan Mountain Park Visitor Center located at Environmental Impact Statement, the intersection of Maryland Route 77 Catoctin Mountain Park, MD and Park Central Road, at park headquarters located approximately 2 AGENCY: National Park Service, miles west of Thurmont on Maryland Department of the Interior. Route 77, and at public libraries in ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Frederick, Thurmont, Smithsburg, and Draft White-tailed Deer Management Hagerstown, Maryland. Plan/Environmental Impact Statement FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: for Catoctin Mountain Park. Donna Swauger, Environmental SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Protection Specialists, Catoctin Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Mountain Park, 6602 Foxville Road, National Park Service (NPS) announces Thurmont, Maryland 21788, (301) 416– the availability of the Draft White-tailed 0135. Deer Management Plan/Environmental SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The DEIS Impact Statement (DEIS) for Catoctin evaluates four alternatives for managing Mountain Park, Thurmont, Maryland. white-tailed deer in the park. The The purpose of the DEIS is to identify document describes and analyzes the a preferred white-tailed deer environmental impacts of three action management plan from a range of alternatives and the no-action alternatives that supports forest alternative. regeneration and provides for long-term Alternative A (no action) would protection, conservation, and restoration continue the existing deer management of native species and cultural resources. plan of limited fencing, use of repellents The DEIS evaluates four alternatives for in landscaped areas, monitoring, data managing white-tailed deer in the park. management, and research; no new deer The document describes and analyzes management actions would be the environmental impacts of three implemented. action alternatives and the no-action Alternative B would combine several alternative. When implemented, the non-lethal actions including large-scale plan will guide deer management exclosures (fencing), additional use of actions over the next 15 years. repellents in limited areas, and DATES: The NPS invites comments reproductive control of does to regarding the DEIS from the public. gradually reduce deer population in the Comments will be accepted for a period park. of 60 days from the date the Under Alternative C (NPS Preferred Environmental Protection Agency’s Alternative), qualified federal Notice of Availability is published in employees or contractors would directly the Federal Register. In addition, the reduce the deer population in the park NPS intends to conduct a public through sharpshooting and capture and meeting. Please check local newspapers, euthanasia, where appropriate. the park’s Web site, http://www.nps.gov/ Alternative D would combine actions cato, or contact the name listed below of Alternative C to directly reduce the to find out when and where the meeting deer population and reproductive will be held. A brochure has been control of does as under Alternative B prepared that describes the DEIS and to maintain population levels. provides information regarding the Comments will be analyzed and public meeting. responded to within the final WhiteThere are several ways to submit tailed Deer Management Plan/ comments. During the public meeting, Environmental Impact Statement. Our the NPS will accept written comments practice is to make comments, including as well as provide for verbal comments names, home addresses, home phone to be recorded. We encourage comments numbers and e-mail addresses of to be submitted electronically through respondents, available for public the NPS Planning, Environment, and review. Individual respondents may Public Comment (PEPC) Web site request that we withhold their names http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Written and/or home addresses, etc., but if you comments may also be submitted to: wish us to consider withholding this Superintendent, Catoctin Mountain information you must state this Park, 6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, prominently at the beginning of your Maryland, 21788. comments. In addition, you must present a rationale for withholding this ADDRESSES: The DEIS will be available information. This rationale must for public review online at the PEPC DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\22NON1.SGM 22NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 225 (Wednesday, November 22, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67630-67633]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-19687]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Minerals Management Service


Agency Information Collection Activities: Submitted for Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) Review; Comment Request

AGENCY: Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.

ACTION: Notice of revision of an information collection (1010-0154).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), MMS 
is notifying the public that it has submitted to OMB an information 
collection request (ICR) to renew approval of the paperwork 
requirements under the Endangered Species Act Biological Opinions, 
issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries) and are titled: 
``Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs)--Implementation of Seismic 
Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program; 
Vessel Strike Avoidance and Injured/Dead Protected Species Reporting; 
and, Marine Trash and Debris Awareness and Elimination.'' This notice 
also provides the public a second opportunity to comment on the 
paperwork burden of these regulatory requirements.

DATES: Submit written comments by December 22, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this information collection 
directly to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for 
the Department of the Interior via OMB e-mail: (OIRA--
DOCKET@omb.eop.gov); or by fax (202) 395-6566; identify with (1010-
0154).
    Submit a copy of your comments to the Department of the Interior, 
MMS, via:
     Public Connect on-line commenting system, https://
ocsconnect.mms.gov. Follow the instructions on the website for 
submitting comments.
     E-mail MMS at rules.comments@mms.gov. Identify with 
Information Collection Number 1010-0154 in the subject line.
     Fax: 703-787-1093. Identify with Information Collection 
Number 1010-0154.
     Mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the 
Interior; Minerals Management Service; Attention: Rules Processing Team 
(RPT); 381 Elden Street, MS-4024; Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Please 
reference ``Information Collection 1010-0154'' in your comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Blundon, Regulations and 
Standards Branch, (703) 787-1607. You may also contact Cheryl Blundon 
to obtain a copy, at no cost, of the NTLs that require the subject 
collection of information.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Title: Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs)--Implementation of 
Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer 
Program; Vessel Strike Avoidance and Injured/Dead Protected Species 
Reporting; and, Marine Trash and Debris Awareness and Elimination.
    OMB Control Number: 1010-0154.
    Abstract: The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act, as amended 
(43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq. and 43 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), authorizes the 
Secretary of the Interior to prescribe rules and regulations to 
administer leasing of the OCS. Such rules and regulations will apply to 
all operations conducted under a lease. Operations on the OCS must 
preserve, protect, and develop oil and natural gas resources in a 
manner that is consistent with the need to make such resources 
available to meet the Nation's energy needs as rapidly as possible; to 
balance orderly energy resource development with protection of human, 
marine, and coastal environments; to ensure the public a fair and 
equitable return on the resources of the OCS; and to preserve and 
maintain free enterprise competition.
    As a Federal agency, we have a continuing affirmative duty to 
comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This includes a 
substantive duty to carry out any agency action in a manner that is not 
likely to jeopardize protected species as well as a procedural duty to 
consult with the FWS and NOAA Fisheries before engaging in a 
discretionary action that may affect a protected species.
    The MMS follows these procedural requirements by conducting formal 
consultations with FWS and NOAA Fisheries prior to lease sales. 
Consultations on OCS lease sales 181, 184, and the 5-year multisale 
(2002-2007) program in the Central and Western Planning Areas of the 
Gulf of Mexico (GOM) resulted in no-jeopardy biological opinions from 
the FWS and NOAA Fisheries. In their biological opinions, NOAA 
Fisheries determined that some activities associated with the proposed 
action (lease sale and related exploration, development, and production 
activities) may adversely affect (harm) sperm whales and sea turtles in 
the action area and that certain reasonable and prudent measures are 
necessary to minimize the potential for incidental take of these 
animals. To be exempt from the prohibitions of Section 9 of the ESA 
(which prohibits taking listed species), MMS must implement and enforce 
nondiscretionary terms and conditions. The ESA also requires monitoring 
and reporting. Monitoring programs resulting from ESA interagency 
consultations are designed to (1) detect adverse effects resulting from 
a proposed action, (2) assess the actual level of incidental take in 
comparison with the level of anticipated incidental take documented in 
the biological opinion, (3) detect when the level of anticipated take 
is exceeded, and (4) determine the effectiveness of reasonable and 
prudent alternatives and their implementing terms and conditions.
    To provide supplementary guidance and procedures, MMS issues 
Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs) on a regional or national 
basis. Regulation 30 CFR 250.103 allows MMS to issue NTLs to clarify, 
supplement, or provide more detail about certain requirements. To 
implement the nondiscretionary terms and conditions of these biological 
opinions, the MMS issued three NTLs, as follows (note that the NTL 
numbers were removed since they will be reissued after renewal):
     Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and 
Protected Species Observer Program,
     Vessel Strike Avoidance and Injured/Dead Protected Species 
Reporting,
     Marine Trash and Debris Awareness and Elimination.
    It should be noted that it has now become common practice for OCS 
lessees and operators to subcontract the marine mammal observation and 
monitoring activities associated with the requirements of the Seismic 
Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program NTL.

[[Page 67631]]

    MMS has been working on rulemaking, 1010-AD10, to incorporate the 
requirements in the NTLs into our regulations. Once final rulemaking 
becomes effective, the burden hours for this collection will be 
consolidated into the primary collection of 30 CFR part 250 subpart B, 
1010-0151. We will then submit to OMB a request to discontinue this 
collection.
    MMS will use the information collected to report annually to NOAA 
Fisheries the effectiveness of mitigation, any adverse effects of the 
proposed action, and any incidental take, in accordance with 50 CFR 
402.14(i)(3). MMS engineers, geologists, geophysicists, environmental 
scientists, and other federal agencies (FWS, NOAA Fisheries, etc.) also 
will analyze the information and data collected under these NTLs to 
better evaluate the potential impacts to listed species and to plan 
operations in a manner that will further reduce and/or avoid adverse 
impacts to protected species on the OCS.
    We will protect information from respondents considered proprietary 
under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and its 
implementing regulations (43 CFR Part 2). No items of a sensitive 
nature are collected. Responses are mandatory.
    Frequency: On occasion, annually, and on the 1st and 15th of each 
month for the marine mammal observation reports.
    Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: Approximately 130 
Federal OCS lessees and operators.
    Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping ``Hour'' Burden: The 
estimated annual ``hour'' burden for this information collection is a 
total of 1,002 hours. The following chart details the individual 
components and estimated hour burdens. In calculating the burdens, MMS 
assumed that respondents perform certain requirements in the normal 
course of their activities. MMS considers these to be usual and 
customary and took that into account in estimating the burden.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Reporting, posting,
            NTL title                or recordkeeping       Hour burden         Average No. of     Annual burden
                                       requirement                             annual responses        hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Implementation of Seismic Survey   Submit to MMS        \1/2\ hour.........  24 reports x 4                   48
 Mitigation Measures and            observer training                         vessels = 96.
 Protected Species Observer         requirement
 Program.                           materials and
                                    information.
                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Training             \1/2\ hour.........  20.................              10
                                    certification and
                                    recordkeeping.
                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   If used, submit to   1 hour.............  3..................               3
                                    MMS information on
                                    any passive
                                    acoustic
                                    monitoring system
                                    prior to placing
                                    it in service.
                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Submit to MMS        345 hours*.........  2 reports..........             690
                                    marine mammal
                                    observation
                                    report(s). (This
                                    includes observer
                                    duty and training
                                    and are the
                                    occasional
                                    activities done in-
                                    house and not
                                    subcontracted
                                    out.).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vessel Strike Avoidance and        Submit injured/dead  \1/2\ hour.........  2 reports..........               1
 Injured/Dead Protected Species     protected species
 Reporting.                         report.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marine Trash and Debris Awareness  Submit request for   \1/2\ hour.........  100 requests.......              50
 and Elimination.                   training video.
                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Submit annual        \1/2\ hour.........  200 records........             100
                                    report to MMS on
                                    training process
                                    and certification.
                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Training             \1/2\ hour.........  200 records........             100
                                    recordkeeping.
                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Post placards on vessels and structures. (Exempt from                       0
                                    information collection burden because MMS is providing exact
                                    language for the trash and debris warning, similar to the
                                    ``Surgeon General's Warning'' exemption.)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Hour Burden..........................................................  623 responses......       1,002 hrs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping ``Non-Hour Cost'' Burden: We 
have identified three non-hour costs associated with this IC that were 
originally estimated as hour burdens. As previously explained, 
typically these activities are now subcontracted to other service 
companies with expertise in these areas. Therefore, in this submission 
we have significantly reduced the corresponding hours and put the 
majority of the costs associated with these requirements in the ``non-
hour cost'' burden. To allow for the potential in-house reporting by 
lessees/operators, we have retained a minimal hour burden in the hour 
burden table. It should be noted that the costs identified are 
associated with the NTL: Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation 
Measures and Protected Species Observer Program.
     Observer training--8 hrs @ $37.50 hr = $300 x 72 observers 
= $21,600.
     Submit observation report/form--1 hr @ $52 hr = $52 x 200 
reports/forms = $10,400.
     Observation duty--8 hrs x 3 observers = 24 x 4 vessels = 
96 hrs x 365 days/yr = 35,040 hours x $52 hr = $1,822,080.
    Therefore, we estimate that the annual non-hour cost burden is 
$1,854,080.
    Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.) 
provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of 
information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. 
Until OMB approves a collection of information, you are not obligated 
to respond.
    Comments: Before submitting an ICR to OMB, PRA section 
3506(c)(2)(A) requires each agency ``* * * to provide notice * * * and 
otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies 
concerning each proposed

[[Page 67632]]

collection of information * * *'' Agencies must specifically solicit 
comments to: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the agency to perform its duties, 
including whether the information is useful; (b) evaluate the accuracy 
of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of 
information; (c) enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden on the 
respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology.
    To comply with the public consultation process, on May 10, 2006, we 
published a Federal Register notice (71 FR 27268) announcing that we 
would submit this ICR to OMB for approval. The notice provided the 
required 60-day comment period. In addition, Sec.  250.199 also informs 
the public that they may comment at any time on the collections of 
information and provides the address to which they should send 
comments. We received several comments in response to these efforts. 
The following discusses the comments and MMS's responses.
    Comment A: We request that the MMS demonstrate that the monitoring 
and reporting requirements of NTL 2004-G01, Implementation of Seismic 
Survey Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program, have 
in fact been approved by OMB under the PRA.
    Response A: As a means to implement non-discretionary terms and 
conditions imposed by NOAA in their July 2002 biological opinion for 
Lease Sale 184 and subsequent Endangered Species Act section 7 
consultations, MMS sought emergency information collection (IC) 
approval from OMB. OMB issued the emergency IC approval (OMB Control 
Number 1010-0154) on 3/26/2003, for 180 days with an expiration date of 
9/30/2003. MMS issued NTL 2003-G08 ``Implementation of Seismic Survey 
Mitigation Measures and Protected Species Observer Program'' with an 
effective date of 6/5/2003. MMS then began the process of obtaining the 
standard 3-year OMB IC approval for the NTL. During that process, MMS 
expanded the scope of the NTL to cover additional marine mammals and 
water depths less than 200 meters in the Eastern Planning Area of the 
Gulf of Mexico. OMB IC approval for the NTL with revised scope was 
granted (1010-0154) on 12/05/03. MMS reissued the NTL (after the 
effective date of the OMB IC approval) in 2004, with a 2004 NTL number, 
NTL 2004-G01 (which means the first NTL issued by the Gulf of Mexico 
Regional Office in the year 2004).
    Comment B: We request that MMS demonstrate that there are no costs 
to comply with the monitoring and reporting requirements of NTL 2004-
G01.
    Response B: The initial standard IC request for this NTL went out 
for public comment with a 60-day (68 FR 25905 May 14, 2003) and 30-day 
(68 FR 56313 September 30, 2003) Federal Register notice. In the 
standard IC request, MMS states ``* * * Agencies must also estimate the 
``non-hour cost'' burdens to respondents or recordkeepers resulting 
from the collection of information. Therefore, if you have costs to 
generate, maintain, and disclose this information, you should comment 
and provide your total capital and startup cost components or annual 
operations, maintenance, and purchase of service components * * *'' MMS 
did receive a comment expressing concern about the possible costs 
associated with these NTLs. However, the commenter did not identify any 
specific non-hour cost estimates associated with the activities. 
Therefore, in the 2003 submission to OMB requesting a standard three-
year extension of the emergency approval, MMS reported that we had not 
identified any non-hour cost burdens associated with the NTLs. OMB 
granted the three-year approval with the current December 31, 2006, 
expiration date.
    During this current 2006 renewal process, we again published the 
60-day comment notice in the Federal Register (71 FR 27268, 5/10/2006). 
We received the above comment pertaining to the non-hour cost burdens. 
Based upon this comment, and the previous 2003 comment expressing 
concern over the costs associated with the requirements imposed by 
these NTLs, MMS has further investigated both the hour and non-hour 
cost burdens. Our findings revealed that lessees and operators now 
routinely subcontract the marine mammal observation and monitoring 
activities detailed in one of the NTLs. This results in ``non-hour'' 
cost burdens ($1,854,080) in the form of service contracts, rather than 
in-house company employees performing these duties with corresponding 
``hour'' burden costs. Therefore, in this ICR we have adjusted all of 
our estimates accordingly for both the hour and non-hour cost burdens.
    Comment C: We request that MMS confirm our understanding that the 
proposed extension of OMB No. 1010-0154 indicates that MMS does not 
intend or foresee any changes in the NTL 2004-G01 monitoring, 
reporting, and mitigation requirements. Any new requirements would 
require a new ICR, would require a new public comment period, and would 
have to pass the practical utility test.
    Response C: After OMB renews this collection, MMS will reissue NTL 
2004-G01 with no changes in requirements. Should MMS need to impose new 
requirements, MMS would seek OMB IC approval and provide notice for 
public comment. However, the NTL will be reissued with a current year 
NTL number (which will have either a 2006 or 2007 to signify the year 
that the NTL was issued, and a different G number, signifying the 
alphanumerical order of an NTL) and will display the new OMB approval 
expiration date and a revised PRA paragraph to reflect the re-estimated 
IC hour and non-hour cost burdens.
    Comment D: One commenter posed a question concerning the validity 
of observers and their qualifications.
    Response D: This comment does not pertain to the information 
collection burden of the requirements. But, in response, it should be 
noted that all visual observers must have completed a protected species 
observer training course. MMS will not sanction particular trainers or 
training programs. Training is offered by independent entities. 
However, basic training criteria have been established and must be 
adhered to by any entity that offers observer training. Operators may 
utilize observers trained by third parties, may send crew for training 
conducted by third parties, or may develop their own training program. 
All training programs offering to fulfill the observer training 
requirement must: (1) Furnish to MMS, at the address listed in the NTL 
titled, Implementation of Seismic Survey Mitigation Measures and 
Protected Species Observer Program, a course information packet that 
includes the name and qualifications (i.e., experience, training 
completed, or educational background) of the instructor(s), the course 
outline or syllabus, and course reference material; (2) furnish each 
trainee with a document stating successful completion of the course; 
and (3) provide MMS with names, affiliations, and dates of course 
completion of trainees. The training course must include the following 
elements: overview of the MMPA and the ESA as they relate to seismic 
acquisition and protection of marine mammals and sea turtles in the 
GOM; overview of seismic acquisition operations in the GOM; overview of 
seismic mitigation measures (NTLs) and the protected species observer 
program in the GOM; discussion of the role and responsibilities of the 
protected species observer in the GOM, including the

[[Page 67633]]

legal requirements (why you are here and what you do), professional 
behavior (code of conduct), integrity, authority of protected species 
observer to call for shut-down of seismic acquisition operations, 
assigned duties--what can/cannot be asked of the observer, reporting of 
violations and coercion; identification of GOM marine mammals and sea 
turtles, with emphasis on whales; cues and search methods for locating 
marine mammals, especially whales, and sea turtles; data collection and 
reporting requirements--forms and reports to MMS on the 1st and 15th of 
each month, whale in exclusion zone/shut-down report within 24 hours.
    If you wish to comment in response to this notice, you may send 
your comments to the offices listed under the ADDRESSES section of this 
notice. OMB has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove the information 
collection but may respond after 30 days. Therefore, to ensure maximum 
consideration, OMB should receive public comments by December 22, 2006.
    Public Comment Procedures: MMS's practice is to make comments, 
including the names and addresses of respondents, available for public 
review. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their 
address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent 
allowable by law. There may be circumstances in which we would withhold 
from the record a respondent's identity, as allowable by the law. If 
you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your comment. In addition, you must 
present a rationale for withholding this information. This rationale 
must demonstrate that disclosure ``would constitute an unwarranted 
invasion of privacy.'' Unsupported assertions will not meet this 
burden. In the absence of exceptional, documentable circumstances, this 
information will be released. However, we will not consider anonymous 
comments. Except for proprietary information, we will make all 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.
    MMS Information Collection Clearance Officer: Arlene Bajusz (202) 
208-7744.

    Dated: September 26, 2006.
E.P. Danenberger,
Chief Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs.
[FR Doc. E6-19687 Filed 11-21-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-MR-P