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e-CFR data is current as of January 19, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter DPart 971Subpart B → §971.204

Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
Subpart B—Applications

§971.204   Environmental and use conflict analysis.

(a) Environmental information submission. The application must be supported by sufficient marine environmental information for the Administrator to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed mining activities, and to determine the appropriate permit TCRs based on environmental characteristics of the requested minesite. The Administrator may require the submission of additional data, in the event he determines that the basis for a suitable EIS, or a determination of appropriate TCRs, is not available.

(b)(1) In preparing the EIS, the Administrator will attempt to characterize the environment in such a way as to provide a basis for judging the potential for significant adverse effects or irreparable harm triggered by commercial mining (see subpart F). In compiling these data, the Administrator will utilize existing information including the relevant license EIS, additional exploration data acquired by the applicant, and other data in the public domain.

(2) The EIS must present adequate physical, chemical, and biological information for the permit area. If the permit area lies within the area of NOAA's Deep Ocean Mining Environmental Study (DOMES), the parameters listed in NOAA's Technical Guidance Document pertaining to the upper and lower water column should be included. Specifically, these parameters include:

(i) Upper water column—


Endangered species

Salinity, temperature, density


(ii) Lower water column and seafloor—


Suspended particulate matter dispersion

Sediment characteristics (mineralogy, particle size, shape and density, and water content)



(3) For a permit area outside the DOMES area, the applicant is encouraged to consult with NOAA at the earliest opportunity in order to determine the specific parameters to be measured based on the location and specific environmental characteristics of the permit area. The Administrator, in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and with the assistance of other appropriate Federal agencies, may determine that a programmatic EIS is required for any new area.

(c) The application must include a monitoring plan for test mining and at-sea commercial recovery activities which meets the objectives and requirements of §971.603.

(d) Use conflict analysis. The application must include information known to the applicant on other uses of the proposed mining area to support the Administrator's determination regarding potential use conflicts between commercial mining activities and those activities of other nations or of other U.S. citizens.

(e) Onshore information. Because of NEPA requirements, the Administrator must include in the EIS on the proposed permit the complete spectrum of activities resulting from the issuance of a permit. Therefore, onshore information including the location and operation of nodule processing facilities must be submitted with the application in accordance with the details in §971.606.

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