[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 126 (Thursday, June 30, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38429-38430]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-16337]


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NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION


Notice of Availability of Final Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS/OEIS) for 
Marine Seismic Research Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) 
or Conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

AGENCY: National Science Foundation.

ACTION: Notice of availability of Final PEIS/OEIS for Marine Seismic 
Research Funded by NSF or Conducted by the USGS.

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SUMMARY: The Division of Ocean Sciences in the Directorate for 
Geosciences (GEO/OCE) has prepared the Final PEIS/OEIS (hereafter Final 
PEIS) as the lead agency with support from the cooperating agencies, 
USGS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
    The Final PEIS assesses the potential impacts of marine seismic 
research on the human and natural environment. Under the Proposed 
Action, a variety of acoustic sources used for research activities 
funded by NSF or conducted by the USGS would be operated from various 
research vessels operated by U.S. academic institutions or government 
agencies. The seismic acoustic sources would include various airgun 
configurations (particularly strings or arrays with as little as 2 to 
as many as 36 seismic airguns), as well as low-energy seismic and non-
seismic acoustic sources.
    The Final PEIS examines the potential impacts that may result from 
marine geophysical research using seismic surveys that are funded by 
NSF or conducted by the USGS in non-Arctic waters. The Proposed Action 
is for academic and U.S. government scientists in the U.S., and 
possible international collaborators, to conduct marine seismic 
research from research vessels operated by U.S. academic institutions 
and government agencies. The purpose of the Proposed Action is to fund 
the investigation of the geology and geophysics of the seafloor by 
collecting seismic reflection and refraction data that reveal the 
structure and stratigraphy of the crust and/or overlying sediment below 
the world's oceans. NSF has a continuing need to fund seismic surveys 
that enable scientists to collect data essential to understanding the 
complex Earth processes beneath the ocean floor. Two action 
alternatives and the No-Action Alternative were assessed.
    Please note that responses to all comments received (including all 
written comments and those provided through testimony at the public 
hearings) on the Draft PEIS (October 2010) are included in Appendix J 
of the Final PEIS. The transcripts of public hearings are also included 
in Appendix I. The Final PEIS reflects the changes made to the Draft 
PEIS based on the comments received. The Final PEIS is now available on 
the Internet at: http://www.nsf.gov/geo/oce/envcomp/ in Adobe[supreg] 
portable document format (pdf). The Final PEIS has also been 
distributed to interested Federal, state,

[[Page 38430]]

and local agencies, organizations, and individuals.

DATES: NSF will issue a record of decision (ROD) for the proposed 
marine geophysical scientific research using seismic surveys that are 
funded by NSF or conducted by the USGS following consideration of the 
entire administrative record for the proposed action, including the 
Final PEIS. The ROD will be issued in Fall 2011, or at least 30 days 
after the date of publication in the Federal Register of the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency's Notice of Availability of the Final 
PEIS. The Final PEIS is available on NSF's Web site at: http://www.nsf.gov/geo/oce/envcomp/index.jsp. Electronic copies of the Final 
PEIS are also available upon request from: Holly Smith, National 
Science Foundation, Division of Ocean Sciences, 4201 Wilson Blvd., 
Suite 725, Arlington, VA 22230. Telephone: (703) 292-8583. E-mail: 
nepacomments@nsf.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding the 
Final PEIS contact: Holly Smith, National Science Foundation, Division 
of Ocean Sciences, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 725, Arlington, VA 22230; 
telephone: (703) 292-8583; e-mail: nepacomments@nsf.gov.

    Dated: June 24, 2011.
Suzanne H. Plimpton,
Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.
[FR Doc. 2011-16337 Filed 6-29-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7555-01-P