Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government


Minerals Management Service

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

AGENCY: Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.
ACTION: Notice of extension of an information collection (1010-0048).
SUMMARY: To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), we are inviting comments on a collection of information that we will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The information collection request (ICR) concerns the paperwork requirements in the regulations under 30 CFR 251, "Geological and Geophysical (GG) Explorations of the Outer Continental Shelf."
DATES: Submit written comments by January 6, 2003.
ADDRESSES: Mail or hand carry comments to the Department of the Interior; Minerals Management Service; Attention: Rules Processing Team, Mail Stop 4024, 381 Elden Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. If you wish to e-mail comments, the address "Information Collection 1010-0048" in your e-mail subject line and mark your message for return receipt. Include your name and return address in your message.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alexis London, Rules Processing Team, (703) 787-1600. You may also contact Alexis London to obtain a copy, at no cost, of the regulations that require the subject collection of information.

Title:30 CFR Part 251, Geological and Geophysical (GG) Explorations of the Outer Continental Shelf.

OMB Control Number:1010-0048.

Abstract:The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act, as amended (43 U.S.C. 1331et seq.and 43 U.S.C. 1801et seq.), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to prescribe rules and regulations to administer leasing of the OCS. Such rules and regulations will apply to all operations conducted under a lease. Operations on the OCS must preserve, protect, and develop oil and natural gas resources in a manner that is consistent with the need to make such resources available to meet the Nation's energy needs as rapidly as possible; to balance orderly energy resource development with protection of human, marine, and coastal environments; to ensure the public a fair and equitable return on the resources of the OCS; and to preserve and maintain free enterprise competition.

The OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1340) also states that “any person authorized by the Secretary may conduct geological and geophysical explorations in the [O]uter Continental Shelf, which do not interfere with or endanger actual operations under any lease maintained or granted pursuant to this OCS Lands Act, and which are not unduly harmful to aquatic life in such area.” The section further requires that permits to conduct such activities may only be issued if it is determined that the applicant is qualified; the activities are not polluting, hazardous, or unsafe; they do not interfere with other users of the area; and do not disturb a site, structure, or object of historical or archaeological significance. Applicants for permits are required to submit form MMS-327 to provide the information necessary to evaluate their qualifications.

Regulations at 30 CFR part 251 implement these statutory requirements. We use the information to ensure there is no environmental degradation, personal harm or unsafe operations and conditions, damage to historical or archaeological sites, or interference with other uses; to analyze and evaluate preliminary or planned drilling activities; to monitor progress and activities in the OCS; to acquire GG data and information collected under a Federal permit offshore; and to determine eligibility for reimbursement from the Government for certain costs. The information is necessary to determine if the applicants for permits or filers of notices meet the qualifications specified by the OCS Lands Act. The MMS uses information collected to understand the GG characteristics of oil-and-gas bearing physiographic regions of the OCS. It aids the Secretary in obtaining a proper balance among the potentials for environmental damage, the discovery of oil and gas, and adverse impacts on affected coastal States. Information from permittees is necessary to determine the propriety and amount of reimbursement.

We will protect information from respondents considered proprietary under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and its implementing regulations (43 CFR part 2) and under regulations at 30 CFR parts 250, 251, and 252. No items of a sensitive nature are collected. Responses are mandatory or required to obtain or retain a benefit.

Frequency:On occasion, annual; and as specified in permits.

Estimated Number and Description of Respondents:Approximately 150 Federal OCS permittees or notice filers.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden:The currently approved annual reporting burden for this collection is 8,109 hours. The following chart details the individual components and respective hour burden estimates of this ICR. In calculating the burdens, we assumed that respondents perform certain requirements in the normal course of their activities. We consider these to be usual and customary and took that into account in estimating the burden.

Burden Breakdown Citation 30 CFR 251 Reporting and recordkeeping requirement Hour burden 251.4(a), (b); 251.5(a), (b), (d); 251.6; Permit Forms Apply for permits (form MMS-327) to conduct GG exploration, including deep stratigraphic tests 6 251.4(b); 251.5(c), (d); 251.6 File notices to conduct scientific research activities, including notice to MMS prior to beginning and after concluding activities 6 251.6(b) 251.7(b)(5)(iii) Notify MMS if specific actions should occur; report archaeological resources. (No instances reported since 1982.) 1 251.7 Submit information on test drilling activities under a permit, including form MMS-123 burden included under 30 CFR 250 information collection approvals 251.7(c) Enter into agreement for group participation in test drilling, including publishing summary statement; provide MMS copy of notice/list of participants. (No agreements submitted since 1989.) 1 251.7(d) Submit bond on deep stratigraphic test—burden included under 30 CFR part 256 (1010-0006) 251.8(a) Request reimbursement for certain costs associated with MMS inspections. (No requests in many years. OCS Lands Act requires Government reimbursement.) 251.8(b), (c) Submit modifications to, and status/final reports on, activities conducted under a permit 8 251.9(c) Notify MMS to relinquish a permit 1/2 251.10(c) File appeals—burden included under 1010-0121 251.11; 251.12 Notify MMS and submit GG data/information collected under a permit and/or processed by permittees or 3rd parties, including reports, logs or charts, results, analyses, descriptions, etc 4 251.13 Request reimbursement for certain costs associated with reproducing data/info 20 251.14(a) Submit comments on MMS intent to disclose data/info. to the public 1 251.14(c)(2) Submit comments on MMS intent to disclose data/info. to an independent contractor/agent 1 251.14(c)(4) Contractor/agent submit written commitment not to sell, trade, license, or disclose data/info. without MMS consent 1 Part 251 General departure and alternative compliance requests not specifically covered elsewhere in part 251 regulations 2 Permit Forms Request extension of permit time period 1 Permit Forms Retain GG data/information for 10 years and make available to MMS upon request 1

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-Hour Cost” Burden:We have identified no cost burdens for this collection.

Public Disclosure Statement:The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501,et seq.) provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Until OMB approves a collection of information, you are not obligated to respond.

Comments:Before submitting an ICR to OMB, PRA section 3506(c)(2)(A) requires each agency ”* * * to provide notice * * * and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies concerning each proposed collection of information * * *”. Agencies must specifically solicit comments to: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the agency to perform its duties, including whether the information is useful; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Agencies must also estimate the “non-hour cost” burdens to respondents or recordkeepers resulting from the collection of information. Therefore, if you have costs to generate, maintain, and disclose this information, you should comment and provide your total capital and startup cost components or annual operation, maintenance, and purchase of service components. You should describe the methods you use to estimate major cost factors, including system and technology acquisition, expected useful life of capital equipment, discount rate(s), and the period over which you incur costs. Capital and startup costs include, among other items, computers and software you purchase to prepare for collecting information, monitoring, and record storage facilities. You should not include estimates for equipment or services purchased: (i) Before October 1, 1995; (ii) to comply with requirements not associated with the information collection; (iii) for reasons other than to provide information or keep records for the Government; or (iv) as part of customary and usual business or private practices.

We will summarize written responses to this notice and address them in our submission for OMB approval. As a result of your comments, we will make any necessary adjustments to the burden in our submission to OMB.

Public Comment Policy:Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the record a respondent's identity, as allowable by the law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

MMS Information Collection Clearance Officer:Jo Ann Lauterbach, (202) 208-7744.

Dated: October 30, 2002. John V. Mirabella, Acting Chief, Engineering and Operations Division.