Early Scoping for an Anticipated Application for Incidental Take Permit and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan; North Allegheny Wind Facility, 68690-68692 [2014-27255]

Download as PDF tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 68690 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 222 / Tuesday, November 18, 2014 / Notices Claes Fornell International (CFI) Group and the ACSI organization to offer the methodology to Federal Agencies. The CFI Group, a leader in customer satisfaction and customer experience management, offers a comprehensive model that quantifies the effects of quality improvements on citizen satisfaction. The CFI Group has developed the methodology and licenses it to the ACSI organization which produces the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for different economic sectors and as an annual benchmark for customer service in the U.S. Government. The ACSI was introduced in 1994 by Professor Claes Fornell under the auspices of the University of Michigan, the American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the CFI Group. In 2008, the ACSI became an independent organization that continues to monitor and benchmark customer satisfaction across more than 200 companies and many U.S. Federal Agencies. The ACSI is the only cross-agency methodology for obtaining comparable measures of customer satisfaction with Federal Government programs and/or services. Along with other economic objectives—such as employment and growth—the quality of output (goods and services) is a part of measuring living standards. The ACSI’s ultimate purpose is to help improve the quality of goods and services available to American citizens. ACSI surveys conducted by the Federal Consulting Group are completely subject to the Privacy Act 1074, Public Law 93–579, December 31, 1974 (5 U.S.C. 522a). The agency information collection is an integral part of conducting an ACSI survey. The contractor will not be authorized to release any agency information upon completion of the survey without first obtaining permission from the Federal Consulting Group and the participating agency. In no case shall any new system of records containing privacy information be developed by the Federal Consulting Group, participating agencies, or the contractor collecting the data. In addition, participating Federal agencies may only provide information used to randomly select respondents from among established systems of records provided for such routine uses. There is no other agency or organization which is able to provide the information that is accessible through the surveying approach used in this information collection. Further, the information will enable Federal Agencies to determine customer satisfaction metrics with discrimination capability across variables. Thus, this VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Nov 17, 2014 Jkt 235001 information collection will assist Federal Agencies in improving their customer service in a targeted manner which will make best use of resources to improve service to the public. This survey asks no questions of a sensitive nature, such as sexual behavior and attitudes, religious beliefs, and other matters that are commonly considered private. Current Actions: Proposed renewal of collection of information. Type of Review: Renewal. Affected Public: Individuals and Households, Businesses and Organizations, State, Local or Tribal Government. Estimated Number of Respondents: Participation by Federal agencies in the ACSI is expected to vary as new customer segment measures are added or deleted. However, based on historical records, projected average estimates for the next three years are as follows: Average Expected Annual Number of Customer Satisfaction Surveys: 100. Respondents: 80,000. Annual responses: 80,000. Frequency of Response: Once per survey. Average minutes per response: 12.0. Burden hours: 16,000 hours. Request for Comments: Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; to develop, acquire, install and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; to train personnel and to be able to respond to a collection of information, to search PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 data sources, to complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information. All written comments will be available for public inspection by appointment with the Federal Consulting Group at the contact information given in the Addresses section. The comments, with names and addresses, will be available for public view during regular business hours. If you wish us to withhold your personal information, you must prominently state at the beginning of your comment what personal information you want us to withhold. We will honor your request to extent allowable by law. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget control number. Dated: November 10, 2014. Jessica Reed, Director, Federal Consulting Group. [FR Doc. 2014–27223 Filed 11–17–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4334–12–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R5–ES–2014–0047; FXES11120500000] Early Scoping for an Anticipated Application for Incidental Take Permit and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan; North Allegheny Wind Facility Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of initiation of scoping. AGENCY: Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce our intent to prepare a NEPA document for an anticipated Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application and associated draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) from the North Allegheny Wind, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke Energy Generating Services (or Duke Energy Renewables) for operation of their wind facility within occupied habitat of the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) and the federally listed endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). The northern long-eared bat has recently been proposed for listing as endangered under the ESA. Wind turbine operation has the potential to incidentally take Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats. Therefore, Duke Energy SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 222 / Tuesday, November 18, 2014 / Notices Renewables is developing an ITP application and HCP to address this activity. In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the Service is providing this notice to request information from other agencies, tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before December 18, 2014. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: Electronically: Go to http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2014–0047, which is the docket number for this notice. Click on the appropriate link to locate this document and submit a comment. By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2014– 0047; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We request that you send comments by only the methods described above. We will post all information received on the Web site at: http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section below for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lora Zimmerman, by mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 315 South Allen Street, Suite 322, State College, PA 16801, or by telephone at 814–234– 4090, extension 233. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce our intent to prepare a NEPA document for a pending ITP application and associated draft HCP from Duke Energy Renewables. Duke Energy Renewables currently owns and operates the North Allegheny Wind Project, a utility-scale wind generation facility in Blair and Cambria Counties, Pennsylvania. A map depicting the wind facility on the landscape can be viewed on the Service’s Pennsylvania Field Office Web page; http:// www.fws.gov/northeast/pafo//pdf/ NAW_LocationMap_100914.pdf . The facility consists of 35 2-megawatt turbines, a network of electrical VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Nov 17, 2014 Jkt 235001 collector lines, and access roads. The facility is situated in predominantly forested lands that harbor the federally listed endangered Indiana bat and the proposed endangered northern longeared bat. Construction of the facility was completed in 2008, and commercial operation began in September 2009. Take of one Indiana bat occurred in September 2011. As a result, the company has been operating at a cut in speed we believe that will avoid further take while permit materials are being developed and final decisions are made. As indicated above, wind turbine operation has the potential to incidentally take Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats. Therefore, Duke Energy Renewables is developing an ITP application and HCP to address these activities. In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the Service is providing this notice to request information from other agencies, Tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP. We believe we can proceed with an Environmental Assessment (EA), with the caveat that we will use it to evaluate, in conjunction with the public comments, whether any significant impacts would require further analysis in an Environmental Impact Statement. Request for Information We request data, comments, information, and suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this notice. We will consider all comments we receive in complying with the requirements of NEPA and in the development of the HCP and ITP. We seek comments particularly related to: (1) Information concerning the biology, range, distribution, population size, and population trends of Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats, and other federally listed species that occur in Pennsylvania that could be affected by proposed covered activities; (2) Relevant data and information concerning wind turbine operation and bat interactions; and (3) Any other issues relating to the human environment and potential impacts that we should consider with regard to the covered activities and potential ITP issuance (e.g., cultural and historical resources, migratory birds, etc). You may submit your comments and materials considering this notice by one PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68691 of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. Background Indiana bats are listed as an endangered species under the ESA. The population decline of this species has historically been attributed to habitat loss and degradation of both winter hibernation habitat (hibernacula) and summer roosting habitat, human disturbance during hibernation, and possibly pesticides. A more recent threat to Indiana bats has been the emergence of white-nose syndrome (WNS), an infectious fungal disease that has led to significant population declines in some parts of the species’ range, including the northeastern and southeastern United States. The range of the Indiana bat includes much of the eastern United States, including Pennsylvania. Winter habitat for the Indiana bat includes caves and mines that support high humidity and cool-but-stable temperatures. In the summer, Indiana bats roost in trees (dead, dying, or alive) with exfoliating bark, cracks, crevices, and/or hollows. During summer, males roost alone or in small groups, while females and their offspring can roost in larger groups. Indiana bats forage for insects in and along the edges of forested areas and wooded stream corridors. Northern long-eared bats have recently been proposed for listing as endangered under the ESA. WNS is the predominant threat to the species, though other threats may include impacts to hibernacula and summer habitat, and disturbance of hibernating bats. Northern long-eared bats have been abundant in the eastern United States and are often captured in summer mist nets surveys and detected during acoustic surveys. Northern long-eared bats are known to use forested habitats throughout Pennsylvania. Similar to Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats generally hibernate in caves and mines during the winter. During the summer, the bats roost in live or dead trees, though they are also known to use human-made structures such as barns, sheds, and bat boxes. Bats are known to be killed in significant numbers by utility-scale wind turbines in the eastern United States. Bats have very low reproductive rates, with females of most species typically producing only one offspring per year. Fatalities resulting from wind facilities are considered to be additive to baseline fatalities, that is, they are fatalities above and beyond that which would be expected to occur due to baseline ecological and biological factors, such as old age, predation, and E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 68692 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 222 / Tuesday, November 18, 2014 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES climatic extremes. Furthermore, with respect to Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats, the additive mortality from wind facilities is expected to exacerbate population declines that have resulted from WNS. The Federal action that will be analyzed through NEPA will be the potential issuance of an ITP to allow incidental take of Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats from wind turbines that will be described in the HCP. The HCP will incorporate avoidance, minimization, mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures aimed at addressing the impact of the covered activities to Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats. A description of the covered lands is currently under development for the HCP, but will likely include the 35 turbines, turbine pads, electric lines, and access roads. The covered activities in the HCP are anticipated to include turbine operation, maintenance activities, decommissioning, and mitigation actions that have the potential to result in incidental take of Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats. Because curtailment of operating turbines is the only method presently known to effectively reduce bat fatalities due to wind turbine operation, this will likely be the primary minimization measure employed. The permit term is under development but is likely to be coextensive with the predicted operating life of the turbines, generally between 20–30 years. The NEPA analysis will assess the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the proposed Federal action on the human environment, comprehensively interpreted to include the natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment. It will also analyze several alternatives to the proposed Federal action, to include no action, and other reasonable courses of action. Relevant information provided in response to this notice will aid in developing the draft HCP and NEPA analysis. Next Steps In this phase of the project, we are seeking information to assist development of the NEPA analysis and the draft HCP. We will then develop a draft NEPA document based on the ITP application, Applicant’s draft HCP, any associated documents, and public comments received through this early scoping effort. We will then publish a notice of availability for the draft NEPA document and draft HCP and seek additional public comment before completing our final analysis to determine whether to issue an ITP. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Nov 17, 2014 Jkt 235001 Public Comments The Service invites the public to provide comments that will assist our NEPA analysis during this 30-day public comment period (see DATES). You may submit comments by one of the methods shown under ADDRESSES. Public Availability of Comments We will post all public comments and information received electronically or via hardcopy at http://regulations.gov. All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and will be available to the public. Before including your address, phone number, electronic mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—will be publicly available. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority This notice is provided pursuant to NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22). Dated: October 27, 2014. Paul Phifer, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Northeast Region. [FR Doc. 2014–27255 Filed 11–17–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R4–ES–2014–N182; 40120–1112– 0000–F2] Amendment of a Joint Programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances and Safe Harbor Agreement, Upper Little Red River Watershed, Arkansas Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Under the Endangered Species Act, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the receipt and availability of a revised joint Safe Harbor Agreement and Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (revised agreement) and accompanying documents for establishing a programmatic enrollment of willing landowners by the parties to SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the revised agreement: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office (parties). The revised agreement analyzes effects of conservation measures and certain land uses on two endangered species—the yellowcheek darter (Etheostoma moorei), a fish, and rabbitsfoot (Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica), a mussel—in the Upper Little Red River Watershed, northcentral Arkansas, so that these listed species, as well as 19 candidate and other unlisted species, might be added to those already covered by the existing enhancement of survival permits. We invite public comments on these documents. DATES: We must receive any written comments at our Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) on or before December 18, 2014. 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 at the Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office, Fish and Wildlife Service, 1500 Museum Road, Suite 105, Conway, AR 72032. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Michael Harris, At-Risk Species Coordinator, at the Regional Office (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 404–679–7066; or Mr. Chris Davidson, Endangered Species Coordinator, at the Arkansas Field Office (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 501–513–4481. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce the availability of the revised Agreement, which incorporates the yellowcheek darter, rabbitsfoot, and 19 State species of concern. The yellowcheek darter and rabbitsfoot became federally listed after the original enhancement of survival permits were issued in February 2007. The yellowcheek darter was originally covered by the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances, but would now be transferred under the Safe Harbor Agreement. The Service previously advertised (71 FR 53129), and issued enhancement of survival permits, TE138910 (Safe Harbor) and TE138911 (Candidate Conservation) as 30-year enhancement of survival permits covering the speckled pocketbook (Lampsilis streckeri) and yellowcheek darter, respectively. The parties request amendment of the enhancement of survival permits, for their remaining terms, under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 222 (Tuesday, November 18, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68690-68692]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-27255]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-ES-2014-0047; FXES11120500000]


Early Scoping for an Anticipated Application for Incidental Take 
Permit and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan; North Allegheny Wind 
Facility

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of initiation of scoping.

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

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce our intent to prepare a NEPA document for an 
anticipated Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application and associated 
draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) from the North Allegheny Wind, 
LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke Energy Generating Services (or 
Duke Energy Renewables) for operation of their wind facility within 
occupied habitat of the northern long-eared bat (Myotis 
septentrionalis) and the federally listed endangered Indiana bat 
(Myotis sodalis). The northern long-eared bat has recently been 
proposed for listing as endangered under the ESA. Wind turbine 
operation has the potential to incidentally take Indiana bats and 
northern long-eared bats. Therefore, Duke Energy

[[Page 68691]]

Renewables is developing an ITP application and HCP to address this 
activity.
    In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the 
Service is providing this notice to request information from other 
agencies, tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and 
issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
December 18, 2014. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on the closing date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by one of the following 
methods:
    Electronically: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2014-0047, 
which is the docket number for this notice. Click on the appropriate 
link to locate this document and submit a comment.
    By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R5-ES-2014-0047; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 
Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We request that you send comments by only the methods described 
above. We will post all information received on the Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section 
below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lora Zimmerman, by mail at U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 315 South Allen Street, Suite 322, State College, 
PA 16801, or by telephone at 814-234-4090, extension 233.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce our intent to prepare a NEPA 
document for a pending ITP application and associated draft HCP from 
Duke Energy Renewables. Duke Energy Renewables currently owns and 
operates the North Allegheny Wind Project, a utility-scale wind 
generation facility in Blair and Cambria Counties, Pennsylvania. A map 
depicting the wind facility on the landscape can be viewed on the 
Service's Pennsylvania Field Office Web page; http://www.fws.gov/northeast/pafo//pdf/NAW_LocationMap_100914.pdf . The facility consists 
of 35 2-megawatt turbines, a network of electrical collector lines, and 
access roads. The facility is situated in predominantly forested lands 
that harbor the federally listed endangered Indiana bat and the 
proposed endangered northern long-eared bat. Construction of the 
facility was completed in 2008, and commercial operation began in 
September 2009. Take of one Indiana bat occurred in September 2011. As 
a result, the company has been operating at a cut in speed we believe 
that will avoid further take while permit materials are being developed 
and final decisions are made. As indicated above, wind turbine 
operation has the potential to incidentally take Indiana bats and 
northern long-eared bats. Therefore, Duke Energy Renewables is 
developing an ITP application and HCP to address these activities.
    In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the 
Service is providing this notice to request information from other 
agencies, Tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and 
issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP. 
We believe we can proceed with an Environmental Assessment (EA), with 
the caveat that we will use it to evaluate, in conjunction with the 
public comments, whether any significant impacts would require further 
analysis in an Environmental Impact Statement.

Request for Information

    We request data, comments, information, and suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this 
notice. We will consider all comments we receive in complying with the 
requirements of NEPA and in the development of the HCP and ITP.
    We seek comments particularly related to:
    (1) Information concerning the biology, range, distribution, 
population size, and population trends of Indiana bats, northern long-
eared bats, and other federally listed species that occur in 
Pennsylvania that could be affected by proposed covered activities;
    (2) Relevant data and information concerning wind turbine operation 
and bat interactions; and
    (3) Any other issues relating to the human environment and 
potential impacts that we should consider with regard to the covered 
activities and potential ITP issuance (e.g., cultural and historical 
resources, migratory birds, etc).
    You may submit your comments and materials considering this notice 
by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section.

Background

    Indiana bats are listed as an endangered species under the ESA. The 
population decline of this species has historically been attributed to 
habitat loss and degradation of both winter hibernation habitat 
(hibernacula) and summer roosting habitat, human disturbance during 
hibernation, and possibly pesticides. A more recent threat to Indiana 
bats has been the emergence of white-nose syndrome (WNS), an infectious 
fungal disease that has led to significant population declines in some 
parts of the species' range, including the northeastern and 
southeastern United States.
    The range of the Indiana bat includes much of the eastern United 
States, including Pennsylvania. Winter habitat for the Indiana bat 
includes caves and mines that support high humidity and cool-but-stable 
temperatures. In the summer, Indiana bats roost in trees (dead, dying, 
or alive) with exfoliating bark, cracks, crevices, and/or hollows. 
During summer, males roost alone or in small groups, while females and 
their offspring can roost in larger groups. Indiana bats forage for 
insects in and along the edges of forested areas and wooded stream 
corridors.
    Northern long-eared bats have recently been proposed for listing as 
endangered under the ESA. WNS is the predominant threat to the species, 
though other threats may include impacts to hibernacula and summer 
habitat, and disturbance of hibernating bats. Northern long-eared bats 
have been abundant in the eastern United States and are often captured 
in summer mist nets surveys and detected during acoustic surveys. 
Northern long-eared bats are known to use forested habitats throughout 
Pennsylvania. Similar to Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats 
generally hibernate in caves and mines during the winter. During the 
summer, the bats roost in live or dead trees, though they are also 
known to use human-made structures such as barns, sheds, and bat boxes.
    Bats are known to be killed in significant numbers by utility-scale 
wind turbines in the eastern United States. Bats have very low 
reproductive rates, with females of most species typically producing 
only one offspring per year. Fatalities resulting from wind facilities 
are considered to be additive to baseline fatalities, that is, they are 
fatalities above and beyond that which would be expected to occur due 
to baseline ecological and biological factors, such as old age, 
predation, and

[[Page 68692]]

climatic extremes. Furthermore, with respect to Indiana bats and 
northern long-eared bats, the additive mortality from wind facilities 
is expected to exacerbate population declines that have resulted from 
WNS.
    The Federal action that will be analyzed through NEPA will be the 
potential issuance of an ITP to allow incidental take of Indiana bats 
and northern long-eared bats from wind turbines that will be described 
in the HCP. The HCP will incorporate avoidance, minimization, 
mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures aimed at addressing the 
impact of the covered activities to Indiana bats and northern long-
eared bats. A description of the covered lands is currently under 
development for the HCP, but will likely include the 35 turbines, 
turbine pads, electric lines, and access roads. The covered activities 
in the HCP are anticipated to include turbine operation, maintenance 
activities, decommissioning, and mitigation actions that have the 
potential to result in incidental take of Indiana bats and northern 
long-eared bats. Because curtailment of operating turbines is the only 
method presently known to effectively reduce bat fatalities due to wind 
turbine operation, this will likely be the primary minimization measure 
employed. The permit term is under development but is likely to be 
coextensive with the predicted operating life of the turbines, 
generally between 20-30 years.
    The NEPA analysis will assess the direct, indirect, and cumulative 
impacts of the proposed Federal action on the human environment, 
comprehensively interpreted to include the natural and physical 
environment and the relationship of people with that environment. It 
will also analyze several alternatives to the proposed Federal action, 
to include no action, and other reasonable courses of action. Relevant 
information provided in response to this notice will aid in developing 
the draft HCP and NEPA analysis.

Next Steps

    In this phase of the project, we are seeking information to assist 
development of the NEPA analysis and the draft HCP. We will then 
develop a draft NEPA document based on the ITP application, Applicant's 
draft HCP, any associated documents, and public comments received 
through this early scoping effort. We will then publish a notice of 
availability for the draft NEPA document and draft HCP and seek 
additional public comment before completing our final analysis to 
determine whether to issue an ITP.

Public Comments

    The Service invites the public to provide comments that will assist 
our NEPA analysis during this 30-day public comment period (see DATES). 
You may submit comments by one of the methods shown under ADDRESSES.

Public Availability of Comments

    We will post all public comments and information received 
electronically or via hardcopy at http://regulations.gov. All comments 
received, including names and addresses, will become part of the 
administrative record and will be available to the public. Before 
including your address, phone number, electronic mail address, or other 
personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware 
that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--will be publicly available. If you submit a hardcopy 
comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request 
at the top of your document that we withhold this information from 
public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do 
so.

Authority

    This notice is provided pursuant to NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1501.7 
and 1508.22).

    Dated: October 27, 2014.
Paul Phifer,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Northeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2014-27255 Filed 11-17-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P