ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The public has 45 days to submit a comment to the feds on a draft environmental impact statement on Arctic oil and gas exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration released a draft of the statement on Thursday.
NOAA said the EIS describes how offshore oil and gas activities could affect marine mammals and the Alaska Native communities that depend on subsistence, and that the statement also examines measures to lessen the impact.
"We know how important marine mammals are to healthy Arctic ecosystems and the people who depend on them for food and cultural traditions," said Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service.
A number of measures are included in the draft, such as closing areas to exploration during whale migration and feeding and during traditional whale and seal hunts.