FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gordon Helm
The National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is seeking public comment on an application for a marine mammal incidental harassment authorization during repair of gas pipeline supports and pier pilings at the Carpinteria Oil and Gas Processing Facility in Carpinteria, Calif. The construction activity may disturb marine mammals in the area. As a result, the facility must obtain the authorization.
NOAA fisheries will consider the comments before making its determination on whether to grant the facility an authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The act allows the incidental disturbance of small numbers of marine mammals. NOAA fisheries must determine that the construction activities will have a negligible affect on the marine animals.
The potential for harassment will be reduced by incorporating mitigation measures. These measures include conducting repairs during daylight hours in a three-week period commencing before the harbor seal pupping period, and working on pilings closest to the seal haul-out site at the beginning of the project and only during low tides (when low numbers of seals are in the area). The proposed authorization also includes a requirement that harbor seal activities near the site be monitored each day that repair activities are underway.
NOAA will accept comments on the application and proposed authorization through October 12, 2001. Comments should be addressed to Donna Wieting, chief, Marine Mammal Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. A copy of the application and Federal Register notice may be obtained by contacting the same office.
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.
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