Feds 880 Days Overdue To Issue Permits To Look For Oil And Gas Off East Coast

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
Font Size:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is years late acting on applications from five companies to search for oil, gas and other minerals in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service pronounced Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) applications from the companies TGS, ION, WesternGeco, CGG & Spectrum as “final and complete” nearly three years ago in July 2015. Under federal law, the NOAA had 120 days to either grant or deny the IHAs. Monday was the 1,000 day mark without an answer from the agency.

IHAs allow companies to conduct seismic surveys, which use sound to find deposits of resources such as oil, to study the ocean floor without being punished for accidentally harming or killing marine mammals in the process. IHAs are a tool used under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to locate resource rich areas for companies to harvest while mitigating damage to less promising areas.

Another agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), is over 1,380 days since it began considering geological and geophysical studies to be done of the OCS in the Atlantic. BOEM cannot act, however, until NOAA Fisheries approves the IHA applications.

“The MMPA requires the agencies to make decisions on IHA applications within 120 days, yet it is now 1000 days later, and final decisions on the IHAs and BOEM’s geophysical permits are still pending,” International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) President Nikki Martin said in a statement. “This inexplicable delay represents a complete bureaucratic breakdown by federal agencies in what should be an otherwise straightforward process.”

Follow Tim Pearce on Twitter

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact