Draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan Within Eight-State Planning Area, 52754-52755 [2012-21498]

Download as PDF 52754 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 169 / Thursday, August 30, 2012 / Notices Tuesday, October 30, 2012 in Washington, DC. The theme for the 2012 East Coast Trade Symposium will be ‘‘Expanding 21st Century Global Partnerships.’’ The format of this year’s East Coast Symposium will be held with general sessions and breakout sessions. Discussions will be held regarding CBP’s role in international trade initiatives and partnerships. The agenda for the 2012 East Coast Trade Symposium and the keynote speakers will be announced at a later date on the CBP Web site (http:// www.cbp.gov). The registration fee is $151.00 per person. Interested parties are requested to register early, as space is limited. Registration will open to the public on or about Wednesday, August 29, 2012. All registrations must be made on-line at the CBP Web site (http:// www.cbp.gov) and will be confirmed with payment by credit card only. Due to the overwhelming interest to attend past symposiums, each company is requested to limit their company’s registrations to no more than three participants, in order to afford equal representation from all members of the international trade community. If a company exceeds the limitation, any additional names submitted for registration will automatically be placed on the waiting list. As an alternative to on-site attendance, access to live webcasting of the event will be available for a fee of $131.00. This includes the broadcast and historical access to recorded sessions for a period of time after the event. Hotel accommodations will be announced at a later date on the CBP Web site (http://www.cbp.gov). Dated: August 24, 2012. Mindy J. Wallace, Senior Management and Program Analyst, Office of Trade Relations. [FR Doc. 2012–21379 Filed 8–29–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–14–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES [FWS–R3–ES–2012–N179; FXES11120300000F2–123–FF03E00000] Draft Midwest Wind Energy MultiSpecies Habitat Conservation Plan Within Eight-State Planning Area Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent, request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), advise the SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:07 Aug 29, 2012 Jkt 226001 public that we, in coordination with our planning partners, intend to prepare the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The planning partners are currently considering for inclusion in the MSHCP certain species that are federally listed, as well as other species likely to become listed, within the eight-State planning area. Planning partners in this effort include the conservation agencies for the eight states, The Conservation Fund, and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). We provide this notice to (1) Describe the proposal; (2) advise other Federal and State agencies, potentially affected tribal interests, and the public of our intent to prepare the MSHCP; (3) seek public input, suggestions, and information on any issues pertaining to this planning process; (4) and to seek public input on what the permit area should be within the eight-State planning area. DATES: To ensure consideration, we request written comments on or before October 1, 2012. ADDRESSES: Send your comments or request information by any one of the following methods: U.S. Mail: Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amidon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437–1458; Facsimile: 612/713–5292 (Attn: Rick Amidon); or Email: midwestwindhcp@fws.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Amidon, (612) 713–5164. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) and its implementing regulations prohibit take of species listed as endangered or threatened. The definition of take under the ESA includes to ‘‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed species or to attempt to engage in such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). Section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1539) establishes a program whereby persons seeking to pursue activities that are otherwise legal, but could result in take of federally protected species, may receive an incidental take permit (ITP). Covered Land The planning area encompasses the Midwest Region of the Service and includes all or portions of the following eight States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The specific land that the MSHCP will cover (‘‘covered land or permit area’’) have yet to be determined PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and could be all or portions of the eight States. Once identified, the ‘‘covered land’’ will be the general locations where future ITPs could be issued under the MSHCP. Land not identified as ‘‘covered land’’ will not be eligible for an ITP under this planning effort; however, individual take authorizations could be developed for those areas outside of this planning effort. Covered Activities The activities proposed to be covered (‘‘covered activities’’) under the MSHCP include the siting, construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of wind energy facilities within all or portions of the eight-State planning area. Activities associated with the management of mitigation land would also be covered. We anticipate that this MSHCP will include new and existing small-scale wind energy facilities, such as singleturbine demonstration projects, as well as large, multi-turbine commercial wind facilities. Covered Species The planning partners are currently considering, for inclusion in the MSHCP, certain species that are federally listed or likely to become listed, and have the potential to be taken by wind energy facilities within the planning area. Those ‘‘covered species’’ include the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), the endangered gray bat (Myotis grisescens), the endangered piping plover (Charadrius melodus), the endangered interior least tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos), the endangered Kirtland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii), the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), the northern-long eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), and the eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii), all of which are species of concern. The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is also being considered as a ‘‘covered species,’’ but no decision has been made at this time. The final list of ‘‘covered species’’ may include all these species, a subset of these species, or additional species, based on the outcome of the planning process. The MSHCP will be multifaceted in addressing species protection, including, but not limited to, avoidance, minimization of take (e.g., through proven and defined best management practices), and mitigation to offset the impacts of take through potential habitat preservation, restoration, and enhancement. Future applicants seeking an ITP must also ensure that adequate funding for implementation, including biological and compliance monitoring, is provided. E:\FR\FM\30AUN1.SGM 30AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 169 / Thursday, August 30, 2012 / Notices Partners The eight State conservation agencies participating in the development of this MSHCP are the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. AWEA is a national trade association for the wind industry and is representing the interests of a group of wind energy companies in the development of this MSHCP. This consortium of companies is known as the Wind Energy Bat Action Team (WEBAT). Member companies at this time include Acciona Wind Energy; Akuo Energy USA; Apex Wind Energy; BP Wind Energy; Clipper Windpower Development Company, LLC; Duke Energy Renewables; EDP Renewables; Element Power; enXco; E.ON Climate & Renewables; EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc.; Iberdrola Renewables; Invenergy LLC; NextEra Energy Resources; Nordex USA; Tradewind Energy LLC; US Mainstream Renewable Power; and Wind Capital Group. The Conservation Fund is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with offices throughout the United States. The Conservation Fund would serve as the administrative agent on behalf of the States overseeing the development of the MSHCP and the accompanying environmental impact statement (EIS). Moreover, The Conservation Fund would develop a regional framework of conservation lands to be used as a decision support tool for the selection of appropriate mitigation options required for offsetting incidental take of the ‘‘covered species’’. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES MSHCP Structure In 2009, the eight States that make up the planning area submitted an application for and were awarded a grant under Section 6 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1535) to develop the MSHCP and an incidental take permitting program. The States’ grant application envisioned that the MSHCP would be developed as a template/umbrella MSHCP or as a programmatic MSHCP. Under the template approach, the Service would issue individual ITPs to applicants that agree to implement the MSHCP, whereas under the programmatic approach, each State agency would apply for and receive an ITP and would issue certificates of inclusion to wind VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:07 Aug 29, 2012 Jkt 226001 energy companies that agreed to implement the MSHCP at their facility. At this time it is anticipated that the issuance of individual ITPs would be the permitting approach under this MSHCP. Currently there are additional permit structure options being considered; however, under any permit structure, the MSHCP would meet all ITP issuance criteria found at 50 CFR 13.21, 17.22(b), and 17.32(b), and would be evaluated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 7 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1536). The partners envision that under any permit approach, no additional NEPA or Section 7 analysis would occur, and ‘‘No Surprises’’ assurances would apply to the MSHCP. Evaluation of the MSHCP and permitting program would include public review by all interested parties. In the event that the MSHCP might need to be amended in the future (e.g., to add a species or consider an activity not previously evaluated), further public review would occur. Public Comments The Service is requesting information and comment from interested government agencies, Native American Tribes, the scientific community, industry, or other interested parties concerning the planning process, our permitting approach, biological aspects of the interaction of wind facilities and species, scientific data that may help inform the MSHCP or monitoring of impacts, and any other information that interested parties would like to offer. Please note that comments merely stating support for, or opposition to, the MSHCP under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not provide information useful in determining relevant issues and impacts. The public will receive additional opportunity to provide comments on the draft EIS and draft MSHCP when they are completed. The Service will solicit comments by publishing notice in the Federal Register. You may submit your comments and supporting documentation by any of the methods described in ADDRESSES, above. National Environmental Policy Act The Service is responsible for ensuring NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) compliance during the MSHCP process. In compliance with NEPA, we have made an initial determination that the proposed issuance of ITPs under this planning effort will require the development of an EIS. A third-party contractor will be selected in the future to work with the Service and the planning partners to develop an EIS that PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52755 will satisfy all NEPA requirements. Subsequent notice will be provided when the planning process has progressed to the point where scoping under NEPA is appropriate. Dated: August 17, 2012. Terence J. Miller, Acting, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Midwest Region. [FR Doc. 2012–21498 Filed 8–29–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R4–ES–2012–N202; 40120–1112– 0000–F2] Programmatic Incidental Take Permit and Environmental Assessment for Development Activities, Perdido Key, Escambia County, FL Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Under the Endangered Species Act (Act), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the receipt and availability of a proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) and accompanying documents for private development projects and municipal infrastructure improvements (activities) regulated or authorized by the Escambia County Board of Commissioners (Applicant). The activities would result in take of six federally-listed species on Perdido Key in Escambia County, Florida. The HCP analyzes the take incidental to activities conducted or permitted by the Applicant. We invite public comments on these documents. DATES: We must receive any written comments at our Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) on or before October 29, 2012. ADDRESSES: Documents are available for public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Regional Office, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30345; or the Panama City Field Office, Fish and Wildlife Service, 1601 Balboa Avenue, Panama City, FL 32405. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Dell, Regional HCP Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 404–679– 7313; or Mr. Jon Hemming, Field Office Project Manager, at the Panama City Field Office (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 850–769–0552, ext. 238. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce the availability of the proposed HCP, accompanying SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30AUN1.SGM 30AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 169 (Thursday, August 30, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52754-52755]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-21498]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-ES-2012-N179; FXES11120300000F2-123-FF03E00000]


Draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan 
Within Eight-State Planning Area

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent, request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), advise the 
public that we, in coordination with our planning partners, intend to 
prepare the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan 
(MSHCP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The 
planning partners are currently considering for inclusion in the MSHCP 
certain species that are federally listed, as well as other species 
likely to become listed, within the eight-State planning area. Planning 
partners in this effort include the conservation agencies for the eight 
states, The Conservation Fund, and the American Wind Energy Association 
(AWEA). We provide this notice to (1) Describe the proposal; (2) advise 
other Federal and State agencies, potentially affected tribal 
interests, and the public of our intent to prepare the MSHCP; (3) seek 
public input, suggestions, and information on any issues pertaining to 
this planning process; (4) and to seek public input on what the permit 
area should be within the eight-State planning area.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we request written comments on or 
before October 1, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or request information by any one of the 
following methods:
    U.S. Mail: Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amidon, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 
990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458;
    Facsimile: 612/713-5292 (Attn: Rick Amidon); or
    Email: midwestwindhcp@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Amidon, (612) 713-5164.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) and 
its implementing regulations prohibit take of species listed as 
endangered or threatened. The definition of take under the ESA includes 
to ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect listed species or to attempt to engage in such conduct'' (16 
U.S.C. 1532(19)). Section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1539) establishes a 
program whereby persons seeking to pursue activities that are otherwise 
legal, but could result in take of federally protected species, may 
receive an incidental take permit (ITP).

Covered Land

    The planning area encompasses the Midwest Region of the Service and 
includes all or portions of the following eight States: Illinois, 
Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The 
specific land that the MSHCP will cover (``covered land or permit 
area'') have yet to be determined and could be all or portions of the 
eight States. Once identified, the ``covered land'' will be the general 
locations where future ITPs could be issued under the MSHCP. Land not 
identified as ``covered land'' will not be eligible for an ITP under 
this planning effort; however, individual take authorizations could be 
developed for those areas outside of this planning effort.

Covered Activities

    The activities proposed to be covered (``covered activities'') 
under the MSHCP include the siting, construction, operation, 
maintenance, and decommissioning of wind energy facilities within all 
or portions of the eight-State planning area. Activities associated 
with the management of mitigation land would also be covered. We 
anticipate that this MSHCP will include new and existing small-scale 
wind energy facilities, such as single-turbine demonstration projects, 
as well as large, multi-turbine commercial wind facilities.

Covered Species

    The planning partners are currently considering, for inclusion in 
the MSHCP, certain species that are federally listed or likely to 
become listed, and have the potential to be taken by wind energy 
facilities within the planning area. Those ``covered species'' include 
the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), the endangered gray bat 
(Myotis grisescens), the endangered piping plover (Charadrius melodus), 
the endangered interior least tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos), 
the endangered Kirtland's warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii), the little 
brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), the northern-long eared bat (Myotis 
septentrionalis), and the eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii), all 
of which are species of concern. The bald eagle (Haliaeetus 
leucocephalus) is also being considered as a ``covered species,'' but 
no decision has been made at this time. The final list of ``covered 
species'' may include all these species, a subset of these species, or 
additional species, based on the outcome of the planning process. The 
MSHCP will be multifaceted in addressing species protection, including, 
but not limited to, avoidance, minimization of take (e.g., through 
proven and defined best management practices), and mitigation to offset 
the impacts of take through potential habitat preservation, 
restoration, and enhancement. Future applicants seeking an ITP must 
also ensure that adequate funding for implementation, including 
biological and compliance monitoring, is provided.

[[Page 52755]]

Partners

    The eight State conservation agencies participating in the 
development of this MSHCP are the Illinois Department of Natural 
Resources, Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, Iowa Department of 
Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota 
Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, 
Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of 
Natural Resources.
    AWEA is a national trade association for the wind industry and is 
representing the interests of a group of wind energy companies in the 
development of this MSHCP. This consortium of companies is known as the 
Wind Energy Bat Action Team (WEBAT). Member companies at this time 
include Acciona Wind Energy; Akuo Energy USA; Apex Wind Energy; BP Wind 
Energy; Clipper Windpower Development Company, LLC; Duke Energy 
Renewables; EDP Renewables; Element Power; enXco; E.ON Climate & 
Renewables; EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc.; Iberdrola Renewables; 
Invenergy LLC; NextEra Energy Resources; Nordex USA; Tradewind Energy 
LLC; US Mainstream Renewable Power; and Wind Capital Group.
    The Conservation Fund is a nonprofit organization headquartered in 
Arlington, Virginia, with offices throughout the United States. The 
Conservation Fund would serve as the administrative agent on behalf of 
the States overseeing the development of the MSHCP and the accompanying 
environmental impact statement (EIS). Moreover, The Conservation Fund 
would develop a regional framework of conservation lands to be used as 
a decision support tool for the selection of appropriate mitigation 
options required for offsetting incidental take of the ``covered 
species''.

MSHCP Structure

    In 2009, the eight States that make up the planning area submitted 
an application for and were awarded a grant under Section 6 of the ESA 
(16 U.S.C. 1535) to develop the MSHCP and an incidental take permitting 
program. The States' grant application envisioned that the MSHCP would 
be developed as a template/umbrella MSHCP or as a programmatic MSHCP. 
Under the template approach, the Service would issue individual ITPs to 
applicants that agree to implement the MSHCP, whereas under the 
programmatic approach, each State agency would apply for and receive an 
ITP and would issue certificates of inclusion to wind energy companies 
that agreed to implement the MSHCP at their facility. At this time it 
is anticipated that the issuance of individual ITPs would be the 
permitting approach under this MSHCP. Currently there are additional 
permit structure options being considered; however, under any permit 
structure, the MSHCP would meet all ITP issuance criteria found at 50 
CFR 13.21, 17.22(b), and 17.32(b), and would be evaluated under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 7 of the ESA (16 
U.S.C. 1536). The partners envision that under any permit approach, no 
additional NEPA or Section 7 analysis would occur, and ``No Surprises'' 
assurances would apply to the MSHCP. Evaluation of the MSHCP and 
permitting program would include public review by all interested 
parties. In the event that the MSHCP might need to be amended in the 
future (e.g., to add a species or consider an activity not previously 
evaluated), further public review would occur.

Public Comments

    The Service is requesting information and comment from interested 
government agencies, Native American Tribes, the scientific community, 
industry, or other interested parties concerning the planning process, 
our permitting approach, biological aspects of the interaction of wind 
facilities and species, scientific data that may help inform the MSHCP 
or monitoring of impacts, and any other information that interested 
parties would like to offer.
    Please note that comments merely stating support for, or opposition 
to, the MSHCP under consideration without providing supporting 
information, although noted, will not provide information useful in 
determining relevant issues and impacts. The public will receive 
additional opportunity to provide comments on the draft EIS and draft 
MSHCP when they are completed. The Service will solicit comments by 
publishing notice in the Federal Register.
    You may submit your comments and supporting documentation by any of 
the methods described in ADDRESSES, above.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Service is responsible for ensuring NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.) compliance during the MSHCP process. In compliance with NEPA, we 
have made an initial determination that the proposed issuance of ITPs 
under this planning effort will require the development of an EIS. A 
third-party contractor will be selected in the future to work with the 
Service and the planning partners to develop an EIS that will satisfy 
all NEPA requirements. Subsequent notice will be provided when the 
planning process has progressed to the point where scoping under NEPA 
is appropriate.

    Dated: August 17, 2012.
Terence J. Miller,
Acting, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Midwest 
Region.
[FR Doc. 2012-21498 Filed 8-29-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P