50 CFR § 18.122 - Procedure to obtain a Letter of Authorization (LOA).

§ 18.122 Procedure to obtain a Letter of Authorization (LOA).

(a) An applicant must be a U.S. citizen as defined in § 18.27(c) and among:

(1) Those entities specified in the request for this rule as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section;

(2) Any of their corporate affiliates; or

(3) Any of their respective contractors, subcontractors, partners, owners, co-lessees, designees, or successors-in-interest.

(b) The entities specified in the request are the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, which includes Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, BlueCrest Energy, Inc., Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc., Eni U.S. Operating Co. Inc., ExxonMobil Alaska Production Inc., Furie Operating Alaska, LLC, Glacier Oil and Gas Corporation, Hilcorp Alaska, LLC, Marathon Petroleum, Petro Star Inc., Repsol, and Shell Exploration and Production Company, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Energy Services, Oil Search (Alaska), LLC, and Qilak LNG, Inc.

(c) If an applicant proposes to conduct oil and gas industry exploration, development, and production in the Beaufort Sea ITR region described in § 18.120 that may cause the taking of Pacific walruses and/or polar bears and wants nonlethal incidental take authorization under the regulations in this subpart J, the applicant must request an LOA. The applicant must submit the request for authorization to the Service's Alaska Region Marine Mammals Management Office (see § 2.2 for address) at least 90 days prior to the start of the activity.

(d) The request for an LOA must comply with the requirements set forth in §§ 18.126 through 18.128 and must include the following information:

(1) A plan of operations that describes in detail the activity (e.g., type of project, methods, and types and numbers of equipment and personnel, etc.), the dates and duration of the activity, and the specific locations of and areas affected by the activity.

(2) A site-specific marine mammal monitoring and mitigation plan to monitor and mitigate the effects of the activity on Pacific walruses and polar bears.

(3) A site-specific Pacific walrus and polar bear safety, awareness, and interaction plan. The plan for each activity and location will detail the policies and procedures that will provide for the safety and awareness of personnel, avoid interactions with Pacific walruses and polar bears, and minimize impacts to these animals.

(4) A plan of cooperation to mitigate potential conflicts between the activity and subsistence hunting, where relevant. Applicants must provide documentation of communication with potentially affected subsistence communities along the Beaufort Sea coast (i.e., Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, and Utqigvik) and appropriate subsistence user organizations (i.e., the Alaska Nannut Co-Management Council, the Eskimo Walrus Commission, or North Slope Borough) to discuss the location, timing, and methods of activities and identify and mitigate any potential conflicts with subsistence walrus and polar bear hunting activities. Applicants must specifically inquire of relevant communities and organizations if the activity will interfere with the availability of Pacific walruses and/or polar bears for the subsistence use of those groups. Requests for an LOA must include documentation of all consultations with potentially affected user groups. Documentation must include a summary of any concerns identified by community members and hunter organizations and the applicant's responses to identified concerns.

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