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Title 50Chapter IISubchapter CPart 216Subpart D → §216.33


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 216—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS
Subpart D—Special Exceptions


§216.33   Permit application submission, review, and decision procedures.

(a) Application submission. Persons seeking a special exemption permit under this subpart must submit an application to the Office Director. The application must be signed by the applicant, and provide in a properly formatted manner all information necessary to process the application. Written instructions addressing information requirements and formatting may be obtained from the Office Director upon request.

(b) Applications to export living marine mammals. For applicants seeking a special exception permit to export living marine mammals, the application must:

(1) Be submitted through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Fauna and Flora management authority of the foreign government or, if different, the appropriate agency or agencies of the foreign government that exercises oversight over marine mammals.

(2) Include a certification from the foreign government that:

(i) The information set forth in the application is accurate;

(ii) The laws and regulations of the foreign governmentinvolved allow enforcement of the terms and conditions of the permit, and that the foreign government will enforce all terms and conditions; and

(iii) The foreign government involved will afford comity to any permit amendment, modification, suspension or revocation decision.

(c) Initial review. (1) NMFS will notify the applicant of receipt of the application.

(2) During the initial review, the Office Director will determine:

(i) Whether the application is complete.

(ii) Whether the proposed activity is for purposes authorized under this subpart.

(iii) If the proposed activity is for enhancement purposes, whether the species or stock identified in the application is in need of enhancement for its survival or recovery and whether the proposed activity will likely succeed in its objectives.

(iv) Whether the activities proposed are to be conducted consistent with the permit restrictions and permit specific conditions as described in §216.35 and §216.36(a).

(v) Whether sufficient information is included regarding the environmental impact of the proposed activity to enable the Office Director:

(A) To make an initial determination under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as to whether the proposed activity is categorically excluded from preparation of further environmental documentation, or whether the preparation of an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) is appropriate or necessary; and

(B) To prepare an EA or EIS if an initial determination is made by the Office Director that the activity proposed is not categorically excluded from such requirements.

(3) The Office Director may consult with the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission) and its Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals (Committee) in making these initial, and any subsequent, determinations.

(4) Incomplete applications will be returned with explanation. If the applicant fails to resubmit a complete application or correct the identified deficiencies within 60 days, the application will be deemed withdrawn. Applications that propose activities inconsistent with this subpart will be returned with explanation, and will not be considered further.

(d) Notice of receipt and application review. (1) Upon receipt of a valid, complete application, and the preparation of any NEPA documentation that has been determined initially to be required, the Office Director will publish a notice of receipt in the Federal Register. The notice will:

(i) Summarize the application, including:

(A) The purpose of the request;

(B) The species and number of marine mammals;

(C) The type and manner of special exception activity proposed;

(D) The location(s) in which the marine mammals will be taken, from which they will be imported, or to which they will be exported; and

(E) The requested period of the permit.

(ii) List where the application is available for review.

(iii) Invite interested parties to submit written comments concerning the application within 30 days of the date of the notice.

(iv) Include a NEPA statement that an initial determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an EA or EIS, that an EA was prepared resulting in a finding of no significant impact, or that a final EIS has been prepared and is available for review.

(2) The Office Director will forward a copy of the complete application to the Commission for comment. If no comments are received within 45 days (or such longer time as the Office Director may establish) the Office Director will consider the Commission to have no objection to issuing a permit.

(3) The Office Director may consult with any other person, institution, or agency concerning the application.

(4) Within 30 days of publication of the notice of receipt in the Federal Register, any interested party may submit written comments or may request a public hearing on the application.

(5) If the Office Director deems it advisable, the Office Director may hold a public hearing within 60 days of publication of the notice of receipt in the Federal Register. Notice of the date, time, and place of the public hearing will be published in the Federal Register not less than 15 days in advance of the public hearing. Any interested person may appear in person or through representatives and may submit any relevant material, data, views, or comments. A summary record of the hearing will be kept.

(6) The Office Director may extend the period during which any interested party may submit written comments. Notice of the extension must be published in the Federal Register within 60 days of publication of the notice of receipt in the Federal Register.

(7) If, after publishing a notice of receipt, the Office Director determines on the basis of new information that an EA or EIS must be prepared, the Office Director must deny the permit unless an EA is prepared with a finding of no significant impact. If a permit is denied under these circumstances the application may be resubmitted with information sufficient to prepare an EA or EIS, and will be processed as a new application.

(e) Issuance or denial procedures. (1) Within 30 days of the close of the public hearing or, if no public hearing is held, within 30 days of the close of the public comment period, the Office Director will issue or deny a special exception permit.

(2) The decision to issue or deny a permit will be based upon:

(i) All relevant issuance criteria set forth at §216.34;

(ii) All purpose-specific issuance criteria as appropriate set forth at §216.41, §216.42, and §216.43;

(iii) All comments received or views solicited on the permit application; and

(iv) Any other information or data that the Office Director deems relevant.

(3) If the permit is issued, upon receipt, the holder must date and sign the permit, and return a copy of the original to the Office Director. The permit shall be effective upon the permit holder's signing of the permit. In signing the permit, the holder:

(i) Agrees to abide by all terms and conditions set forth in the permit, and all restrictions and relevant regulations under this subpart; and

(ii) Acknowledges that the authority to conduct certain activities specified in the permit is conditional and subject to authorization by the Office Director.

(4) Notice of the decision of the Office Director shall be published in the Federal Register within 10 days after the date of permit issuance or denial and shall indicate where copies of the permit, if issued, may be reviewed or obtained. If the permit issued involves marine mammals listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA, the notice shall include a finding by the Office Director that the permit:

(i) Was applied for in good faith;

(ii) If exercised, will not operate to the disadvantage of such endangered or threatened species; and

(iii) Is consistent with the purposes and policy set forth in section 2 of the ESA.

(5) If the permit is denied, the Office Director shall provide the applicant with an explanation for the denial.

(6) Under the MMPA, the Office Director may issue a permit for scientific research before the end of the public comment period if delaying issuance could result in injury to a species, stock, or individual, or in loss of unique research opportunities. The Office Director also may waive the 30-day comment period required under the ESA in an emergency situation where the health or life of an endangered or threatened marine mammal is threatened and no reasonable alternative is available. If a permit is issued under these circumstances, notice of such issuance before the end of the comment period shall be published in the Federal Register within 10 days of issuance.

(7) The applicant or any party opposed to a permit may seek judicial review of the terms and conditions of such permit or of a decision to deny such permit. Review may be obtained by filing a petition for review with the appropriate U.S. District Court as provided for by law.

[61 FR 21935, May 10, 1996]

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