Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Air Force Launching of Space Launch Vehicles, Intercontinental Ballistic and Small Missiles, and Aircraft and Helicopter Operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, 46483-46484 [2018-19896]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 178 / Thursday, September 13, 2018 / Notices In the past, NMFS has made plans and annual reports from states available through the internet and plans to continue this practice. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE III. Data RIN 0648–XG331 OMB Control Number: 0648–0466. Form Number: None. Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a currently approved collection). Affected Public: Business or other forprofit organizations; State, local or tribal governments. Estimated Number of Respondents: 1. Estimated Time per Response: 2,500 hours to complete each agreement or plan that has the intention of making listing unnecessary; 320 hours to conduct monitoring for successful agreements; and 80 hours to prepare a report for successful agreements. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 2,820. Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $150 in recordkeeping/reporting costs. Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Air Force Launching of Space Launch Vehicles, Intercontinental Ballistic and Small Missiles, and Aircraft and Helicopter Operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Dated: September 10, 2018. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2018–19900 Filed 9–12–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:20 Sep 12, 2018 Jkt 244001 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of application for Letters of Authorization; request for comments and information. AGENCY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to launching space launch vehicles, intercontinental ballistic and small missiles, and aircraft and helicopter operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California, from March 27, 2019 through March 26, 2024. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing our receipt of the USAF’s request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals and inviting information, suggestions, and comments on the USAF’s application and request. DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than October 15, 2018. SUMMARY: Comments on the application should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to ITP.Carduner@noaa.gov. Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to the internet at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46483 permits/incidental/military.htm without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jordan Carduner, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. An electronic copy of the USAF’s application may be obtained online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental/military.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographic region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review. An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined ‘‘negligible impact’’ in 50 CFR 216.103 as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. The MMPA states that the term ‘‘take’’ means to harass, hunt, capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, E:\FR\FM\13SEN1.SGM 13SEN1 46484 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 178 / Thursday, September 13, 2018 / Notices migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment). The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. L. 108– 136) removed the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ limitations indicated above and amended the definition of ‘‘harassment’’ as it applies to a ‘‘military readiness activity’’ to read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): (i) Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A Harassment); or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered (Level B Harassment). daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Summary of Request On August 10, 2018, NMFS received an adequate and complete application from the USAF requesting a letter of authorization (LOA) for the take of six species of marine mammals (all pinnipeds), by Level B harassment only, incidental to launching space launch vehicles, intercontinental ballistic and small missiles, and aircraft and helicopter operations at VAFB. The USAF is requesting a 5-year LOA for these activities. These activities may result in the take of marine mammals as a result of noise or visual disturbance. Description of the Specified Activity VAFB supports launch activities for the USAF, Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and commercial entities. VAFB is the primary launch facility on the West Coast of the United States for placing commercial, government and military satellites into polar orbit on unmanned launch vehicles, and for the testing and evaluation of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and sub-orbital target and interceptor missiles. In addition to space vehicle and missile launch activities at VAFB, occasional helicopter and aircraft operations involve searchand-rescue, delivery of space vehicle components, launch mission support, security reconnaissance, and training flights. There are currently six active facilities at VAFB used to launch satellites into polar orbit. These facilities support launch programs for the Atlas V, Delta II, Delta IV, Falcon 9 and Minotaur rockets. A variety of small missiles are VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:20 Sep 12, 2018 Jkt 244001 also launched from various facilities at VAFB, including Minuteman III, an ICBM which is launched from underground silos. In addition, several types of interceptor and target vehicles are launched for the Missile Defense Agency, which develops various systems and elements, including the Ballistic Missile Defense System. The USAF anticipates that no more than 15 missile and 50 rocket launches would occur in any year, with total launch activities not exceeding 75 missile and 250 rocket launches over five years. All launch operations would occur at VAFB, potentially resulting in impacts to marine mammals at VAFB (as a result of launch noise and visual stimuli) and at the Northern Channel Islands (as a result of noise from sonic booms). A full description of the activities to be conducted by the USAF at VAFB, including descriptions of the space vehicles and missiles proposed for use, is provided in the USAF’s application. Information Solicited Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and comments concerning the USAF’s request (see ADDRESSES). NMFS will consider all information, suggestions, and comments related to the request during the development of proposed regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals by the USAF, if appropriate. Dated: September 7, 2018. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2018–19896 Filed 9–12–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XG460 Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public meeting (webinar). AGENCY: The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will hold a webinar, which is open to the public. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The webinar meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held via webinar. A public listening station is available at the Pacific Council office (address below). To attend the webinar (1) join the meeting by visiting this link https://www.gotomeeting.com/webinar, (2) enter the Webinar ID: 193–653–531, and (3) enter your name and email address (required). After logging in to the webinar, please (1) dial this TOLL number 1–213–929–4232 (not a toll-free number), (2) enter the attendee phone audio access code 380–095–597, and (3) enter the provided audio PIN after joining the webinar. You must enter this PIN for audio access. NOTE: We have disabled Mic/Speakers as an option and require all participants to use a telephone or cell phone to participate. Technical Information and system requirements: PC-based attendees are required to use Windows® 7, Vista, or XP; Mac®-based attendees are required to use Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer; Mobile attendees are required to use iPhone®, iPad®, AndroidTM phone or Android tablet (See the https:// www.gotomeeting.com/webinar/ipadiphone-android-webinar-apps). You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at Kris.Kleinschmidt@ noaa.gov or contact him at (503) 820– 2280, extension 411 for technical assistance. A public listening station will also be available at the Pacific Council office. Council address: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Kit Dahl, Pacific Council; telephone: (503) 820–2422. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the HMSMT webinar is to (1) prepare for the Council’s November 1– 8, 2018 meeting, (2) discuss analytical tasks to support the Council finalizing a range of alternatives for authorizing a fishery using deep-set buoy gear, and (3) discuss other topics related to the management of HMS fisheries. Although non-emergency issues not contained in the meeting agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this document and any issues arising after publication of this document that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of DATES: E:\FR\FM\13SEN1.SGM 13SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 178 (Thursday, September 13, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46483-46484]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-19896]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XG331


Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; 
Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Air Force Launching of Space 
Launch Vehicles, Intercontinental Ballistic and Small Missiles, and 
Aircraft and Helicopter Operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, 
California

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice; receipt of application for Letters of Authorization; 
request for comments and information.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for 
authorization to take marine mammals incidental to launching space 
launch vehicles, intercontinental ballistic and small missiles, and 
aircraft and helicopter operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), 
California, from March 27, 2019 through March 26, 2024. Pursuant to the 
Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing our receipt of 
the USAF's request for the development and implementation of 
regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals and 
inviting information, suggestions, and comments on the USAF's 
application and request.

DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than October 
15, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the application should be addressed to Jolie 
Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should 
be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and 
electronic comments should be sent to [email protected].
    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any 
other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the 
end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including 
all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments 
to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or 
Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted to the internet at 
www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/military.htm without change. 
All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily 
submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit 
confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected 
information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jordan Carduner, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. An electronic copy of the USAF's 
application may be obtained online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/military.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, 
please call the contact listed above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) 
direct the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to allow, upon request, 
the incidental, but not intentional taking of small numbers of marine 
mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than 
commercial fishing) within a specified geographic region if certain 
findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking 
is limited to harassment, notice of a proposed authorization is 
provided to the public for review.
    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS 
finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where 
relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements 
pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings 
are set forth.
    NMFS has defined ``negligible impact'' in 50 CFR 216.103 as an 
impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably 
expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the 
species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival.
    The MMPA states that the term ``take'' means to harass, hunt, 
capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine 
mammal.
    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the 
MMPA defines ``harassment'' as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or 
annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or 
marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the 
potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild 
by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not 
limited to,

[[Page 46484]]

migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level 
B harassment).
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-136) removed the ``small numbers'' and ``specified geographical 
region'' limitations indicated above and amended the definition of 
``harassment'' as it applies to a ``military readiness activity'' to 
read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): (i) Any act that 
injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or 
marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A Harassment); or (ii) Any act 
that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal 
stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, 
including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, 
feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are 
abandoned or significantly altered (Level B Harassment).

Summary of Request

    On August 10, 2018, NMFS received an adequate and complete 
application from the USAF requesting a letter of authorization (LOA) 
for the take of six species of marine mammals (all pinnipeds), by Level 
B harassment only, incidental to launching space launch vehicles, 
intercontinental ballistic and small missiles, and aircraft and 
helicopter operations at VAFB. The USAF is requesting a 5-year LOA for 
these activities. These activities may result in the take of marine 
mammals as a result of noise or visual disturbance.

Description of the Specified Activity

    VAFB supports launch activities for the USAF, Department of 
Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and commercial 
entities. VAFB is the primary launch facility on the West Coast of the 
United States for placing commercial, government and military 
satellites into polar orbit on unmanned launch vehicles, and for the 
testing and evaluation of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) 
and sub-orbital target and interceptor missiles. In addition to space 
vehicle and missile launch activities at VAFB, occasional helicopter 
and aircraft operations involve search-and-rescue, delivery of space 
vehicle components, launch mission support, security reconnaissance, 
and training flights.
    There are currently six active facilities at VAFB used to launch 
satellites into polar orbit. These facilities support launch programs 
for the Atlas V, Delta II, Delta IV, Falcon 9 and Minotaur rockets. A 
variety of small missiles are also launched from various facilities at 
VAFB, including Minuteman III, an ICBM which is launched from 
underground silos. In addition, several types of interceptor and target 
vehicles are launched for the Missile Defense Agency, which develops 
various systems and elements, including the Ballistic Missile Defense 
System.
    The USAF anticipates that no more than 15 missile and 50 rocket 
launches would occur in any year, with total launch activities not 
exceeding 75 missile and 250 rocket launches over five years. All 
launch operations would occur at VAFB, potentially resulting in impacts 
to marine mammals at VAFB (as a result of launch noise and visual 
stimuli) and at the Northern Channel Islands (as a result of noise from 
sonic booms). A full description of the activities to be conducted by 
the USAF at VAFB, including descriptions of the space vehicles and 
missiles proposed for use, is provided in the USAF's application.

Information Solicited

    Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and 
comments concerning the USAF's request (see ADDRESSES). NMFS will 
consider all information, suggestions, and comments related to the 
request during the development of proposed regulations governing the 
incidental taking of marine mammals by the USAF, if appropriate.

    Dated: September 7, 2018.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-19896 Filed 9-12-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P