Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft Environmental Assessment; Alta East Wind Project, Kern County, California, 66032-66033 [2015-27240]

Download as PDF 66032 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 208 / Wednesday, October 28, 2015 / Notices who are highly interested and engaged in advocating youth preparedness and making a difference in their communities. This collection meets the requirements of 6 U.S.C. Sec. 742, National Preparedness, and Presidential Policy Directive—8 (PPD–8) which emphasize the need for involvement from all sectors of society in preparing for and responding to threats and hazards. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Collection of Information Title: Individual & Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) Annual Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) Application Form. Type of Information Collection: New information collection. OMB Number: 1660–NEW. FEMA Forms: FEMA Form 008–0–0– 24, FEMA Youth Preparedness Council Application Form. Abstract: FEMA Headquarters and regional staff review completed applications to select council members based on dedication to public service, efforts in making a difference in their community, and potential for expanding their impact as a national advocate for youth preparedness. Applicants for the YPC apply by downloading a PDF application from FEMA’s Web site and submit the application and related documents, including reference letters, to FEMA via the FEMA-YouthPrepareness-Council@fema.dhs.gov email address. One youth from each of the ten regions for which FEMA is divided is selected to serve as a council member. An additional 5 youths are selected for an at-large assignment. Affected Public: Individuals or households. Number of Respondents: 100. Number of Responses: 100. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 142 hours. Estimated Cost: The estimated annual cost to respondents for the hour burden is $0. There are no annual costs to respondents’ operations and maintenance costs for technical services. There are no annual start-up or capital costs. The cost to the Federal Government is $65,662.00. Comments Comments may be submitted as indicated in the ADDRESSES caption above. Comments are solicited to (a) evaluate whether the proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:16 Oct 27, 2015 Jkt 238001 the methodology and assumptions used; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. Dated: October 21, 2015. Richard W. Mattison, Records Management Program Chief, Mission Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2015–27476 Filed 10–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–46–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–MB–2015–N183; FF08M00000– FXMB12310800000–145] Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft Environmental Assessment; Alta East Wind Project, Kern County, California Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment. AGENCY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availably of a draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the issuance of a take permit for golden eagles pursuant to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act), in association with the operation of the Alta East Wind Project in Kern County, California. The DEA was prepared in response to an application from Alta Wind X, LLC (applicant), an affiliate of NRG Yield, Inc., for a 5-year programmatic take permit for golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) under the Eagle Act. The applicant would implement a conservation program to avoid, minimize, and compensate for the project’s impacts to eagles, as described in the applicant’s Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP). We invite public comment on the DEA, which evaluates alternatives for this permit decision. DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received on or before December 28, 2015. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may download copies of the DEA on the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/cno/ SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 conservation/MigratoryBirds/Eagle Permits.html. Alternatively, you may use one of the methods below to request a CD–ROM of the document. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more information by one of the following methods. • Email: fw8_eagle_nepa@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Alta East Eagle Permit draft EA Comments’’ in the subject line of the message. • U.S. Mail: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Regional Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W–2605, Sacramento, CA 95825. • Fax: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, 916–414–6486; Attn: Alta East Wind Project DEA Comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, at the address shown above or at (916) 414–6651 (telephone). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering an application under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668a–d; Eagle Act) for a programmatic golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) take permit from Alta Wind X, LLC (applicant), affiliate of NRG Yield, Inc., for a 5-year programmatic take permit for golden eagles. The applicant’s Alta East Wind Project is an existing, operational wind facility in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area (WRA) within Kern County, California. The application includes an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) as the foundation of the applicant’s permit application. The ECP and the project’s Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy describe actions taken and proposed future actions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on eagles, birds, and bats. We have prepared this DEA to evaluate the impacts of several alternatives associated with this permit application for compliance with our Eagle Act permitting regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 22.26, as well as impacts of implementation of the supporting ECP, which is included as an appendix to the DEA. Background The Eagle Act allows us to authorize bald eagle and golden eagle programmatic take (take that is recurring, is not caused solely by indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term in a location or locations that cannot be specifically identified). Such E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 208 / Wednesday, October 28, 2015 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES take must be incidental to actions that are otherwise lawful. The Eagle Act’s implementing regulations define ‘‘take’’ as to ‘‘pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest, or disturb’’ individuals, their nests and eggs (50 CFR 22.3); and ‘‘disturb’’ is further defined as ‘‘to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes . . . (1) injury to an eagle, . . .(2) a decrease in its productivity, . . . or (3) nest abandonment’’ (50 CFR 22.3). The Alta East Wind Project will result in recurring eagle mortalities over the life of the project, so the appropriate type of take permit is the programmatic permit under 50 CFR 22.26. We may consider issuance of programmatic eagle take permits if: (1) The incidental take is necessary to protect legitimate interests; (2) the take is compatible with the preservation standard of the Eagle Act—providing for stable or increasing breeding populations; (3) the take has been avoided and minimized to the degree achievable through implementation of Advanced Compensation Practices, and the remaining take is unavoidable; and (4) compensatory mitigation will be provided for any remaining take. The Service must determine that the direct and indirect effects of the take and required mitigation, together with the cumulative effects of other permitted take and additional factors affecting eagle populations, are compatible with the preservation of bald eagles and golden eagles. Applicant’s Proposal The permit applicant, Alta Wind X, LLC, is operating an approximately 150megawatt (MW) commercial windenergy facility in the Tehachapi WRA in Kern County, California. The recently constructed (December 2013) Alta East Wind Project was a new wind energy project on public (Bureau of Land Management) and private lands and was an expansion of Terra-Gen’s Alta Wind Energy Center. The Bureau of Land Management and Kern County permitted Alta Wind X, LLC to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission up to 51 wind turbine generators and related infrastructure on approximately 2,600 acres of public and private land in 2013. The applicant submitted an ECP on March 4, 2013, that was initially developed following recommendations provided by the Service and consistent with our January 2011 Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance (http:// www.fws.gov/windenergy/docs/ECP_ draft_guidance_2_10_final_clean_ omb.pdf). The Draft ECP was later VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:16 Oct 27, 2015 Jkt 238001 updated to follow our finalized guidance, Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance Module 1: Land-Based Wind Energy Version 2 (Service 2013) (ECP Guidance) (http://www.fws.gov/ migratorybirds/PDFs/Eagle%2 0Conservation%20Plan%20GuidanceModule%201.pdf). As recommended in the Service’s ECP Guidance, the applicant’s plan outlines avoidance and minimization measures, contains a risk assessment, includes experimental advanced conservation practices, and adaptive management. The applicant submitted the ECP as part of the permit application, and if we issue the permit following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, then the conservation commitments would become conditions of the permit. The Service independently evaluated the risk of eagle fatalities from project operations and compared that risk to the conservation measures to which the applicant has committed. This is an essential step in the Service’s evaluation of an application for a permit for programmatic take of eagles because issuing criteria require permitted take to comply with the Eagle Act’s preservation standard. The Service has interpreted this standard to require maintenance of stable or increasing breeding populations of eagles (74 FR 46836; September 11, 2009). In the DEA, we evaluate the risk and offsetting conservation measures, and the implications for direct, indirect, and cumulative effects under five alternatives. Next Steps The public process for the proposed Federal permit action will be completed after the public comment period, at which time we will evaluate the permit application and comments submitted thereupon to determine whether the application meets the permitting requirements under the Eagle Act, applicable regulations, and NEPA requirements. Upon completion of that evaluation, we will select our course of action. We will make the final permit decision no sooner than 30 days after the close of the public comment period. Public Comments We invite public comment on the proposed DEA. If you wish, you may submit comments by any one of the methods discussed above under ADDRESSES. Public Availability of Comments We will consider public comments on the DEA when making the final determination on NEPA compliance and PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 66033 permit issuance. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority We provide this notice under Section 668a of the Eagle Act (16 U.S.C. 668– 668c) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Alexandra Pitts, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest, Sacramento, California. [FR Doc. 2015–27240 Filed 10–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLIDT02000.L12200000.MA0000.241A.00 4500079363] Final Supplementary Rules for the Castle Rocks Land Use Plan Amendment Area, Idaho Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of final supplementary rules. AGENCY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is finalizing supplementary rules for all BLMadministered public lands within an approximately 400-acre area in Idaho known as Castle Rocks. The BLM addressed this area in the November 2013 Cassia Resource Management Plan (RMP) Amendment and Record of Decision (ROD). The Cassia RMP amendment made implementation-level decisions designed to conserve natural and cultural resources while providing for recreational opportunities. These supplementary rules will allow the BLM and law enforcement partners to enforce those decisions. DATES: These supplementary rules are effective on November 27, 2015. ADDRESSES: You may direct your inquiries to the Bureau of Land Management, Burley Field Office, 15 East 200 South, Burley, Idaho 83318. email: BLM_ID_BurleyOffice@blm.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dennis Thompson, Outdoor Recreation Planner, at 208–677–6664 or by email at SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 208 (Wednesday, October 28, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66032-66033]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-27240]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-MB-2015-N183; FF08M00000-FXMB12310800000-145]


Golden Eagles; Programmatic Take Permit Application; Draft 
Environmental Assessment; Alta East Wind Project, Kern County, 
California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availably of 
a draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) under the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) for the issuance of a take permit for golden eagles 
pursuant to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act), in 
association with the operation of the Alta East Wind Project in Kern 
County, California. The DEA was prepared in response to an application 
from Alta Wind X, LLC (applicant), an affiliate of NRG Yield, Inc., for 
a 5-year programmatic take permit for golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) 
under the Eagle Act. The applicant would implement a conservation 
program to avoid, minimize, and compensate for the project's impacts to 
eagles, as described in the applicant's Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP). 
We invite public comment on the DEA, which evaluates alternatives for 
this permit decision.

DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received on or 
before December 28, 2015.

ADDRESSES: 
    Obtaining Documents: You may download copies of the DEA on the 
Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/cno/conservation/MigratoryBirds/EaglePermits.html. Alternatively, you may use one of the methods below 
to request a CD-ROM of the document.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies 
or more information by one of the following methods.
     Email: fw8_eagle_nepa@fws.gov. Include ``Alta East Eagle 
Permit draft EA Comments'' in the subject line of the message.
     U.S. Mail: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Regional Office, 2800 
Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825.
     Fax: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird Program, 916-414-6486; 
Attn: Alta East Wind Project DEA Comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather Beeler, Migratory Bird 
Program, at the address shown above or at (916) 414-6651 (telephone).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering an application 
under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668a-d; Eagle 
Act) for a programmatic golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) take permit 
from Alta Wind X, LLC (applicant), affiliate of NRG Yield, Inc., for a 
5-year programmatic take permit for golden eagles. The applicant's Alta 
East Wind Project is an existing, operational wind facility in the 
Tehachapi Wind Resource Area (WRA) within Kern County, California. The 
application includes an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) as the foundation 
of the applicant's permit application. The ECP and the project's Bird 
and Bat Conservation Strategy describe actions taken and proposed 
future actions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on 
eagles, birds, and bats.
    We have prepared this DEA to evaluate the impacts of several 
alternatives associated with this permit application for compliance 
with our Eagle Act permitting regulations in the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 22.26, as well as impacts of implementation 
of the supporting ECP, which is included as an appendix to the DEA.

Background

    The Eagle Act allows us to authorize bald eagle and golden eagle 
programmatic take (take that is recurring, is not caused solely by 
indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term in a location or 
locations that cannot be specifically identified). Such

[[Page 66033]]

take must be incidental to actions that are otherwise lawful. The Eagle 
Act's implementing regulations define ``take'' as to ``pursue, shoot, 
shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest, 
or disturb'' individuals, their nests and eggs (50 CFR 22.3); and 
``disturb'' is further defined as ``to agitate or bother a bald or 
golden eagle to a degree that causes . . . (1) injury to an eagle, . . 
.(2) a decrease in its productivity, . . . or (3) nest abandonment'' 
(50 CFR 22.3). The Alta East Wind Project will result in recurring 
eagle mortalities over the life of the project, so the appropriate type 
of take permit is the programmatic permit under 50 CFR 22.26.
    We may consider issuance of programmatic eagle take permits if: (1) 
The incidental take is necessary to protect legitimate interests; (2) 
the take is compatible with the preservation standard of the Eagle 
Act--providing for stable or increasing breeding populations; (3) the 
take has been avoided and minimized to the degree achievable through 
implementation of Advanced Compensation Practices, and the remaining 
take is unavoidable; and (4) compensatory mitigation will be provided 
for any remaining take. The Service must determine that the direct and 
indirect effects of the take and required mitigation, together with the 
cumulative effects of other permitted take and additional factors 
affecting eagle populations, are compatible with the preservation of 
bald eagles and golden eagles.

Applicant's Proposal

    The permit applicant, Alta Wind X, LLC, is operating an 
approximately 150-megawatt (MW) commercial wind-energy facility in the 
Tehachapi WRA in Kern County, California. The recently constructed 
(December 2013) Alta East Wind Project was a new wind energy project on 
public (Bureau of Land Management) and private lands and was an 
expansion of Terra-Gen's Alta Wind Energy Center. The Bureau of Land 
Management and Kern County permitted Alta Wind X, LLC to construct, 
operate, maintain, and decommission up to 51 wind turbine generators 
and related infrastructure on approximately 2,600 acres of public and 
private land in 2013.
    The applicant submitted an ECP on March 4, 2013, that was initially 
developed following recommendations provided by the Service and 
consistent with our January 2011 Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance 
(http://www.fws.gov/windenergy/docs/ECP_draft_guidance_2_10_final_clean_omb.pdf). The Draft ECP was later 
updated to follow our finalized guidance, Eagle Conservation Plan 
Guidance Module 1: Land-Based Wind Energy Version 2 (Service 2013) (ECP 
Guidance) (http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/PDFs/Eagle%20Conservation%20Plan%20Guidance-Module%201.pdf).
    As recommended in the Service's ECP Guidance, the applicant's plan 
outlines avoidance and minimization measures, contains a risk 
assessment, includes experimental advanced conservation practices, and 
adaptive management. The applicant submitted the ECP as part of the 
permit application, and if we issue the permit following the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, then the conservation 
commitments would become conditions of the permit.
    The Service independently evaluated the risk of eagle fatalities 
from project operations and compared that risk to the conservation 
measures to which the applicant has committed. This is an essential 
step in the Service's evaluation of an application for a permit for 
programmatic take of eagles because issuing criteria require permitted 
take to comply with the Eagle Act's preservation standard. The Service 
has interpreted this standard to require maintenance of stable or 
increasing breeding populations of eagles (74 FR 46836; September 11, 
2009). In the DEA, we evaluate the risk and offsetting conservation 
measures, and the implications for direct, indirect, and cumulative 
effects under five alternatives.

Next Steps

    The public process for the proposed Federal permit action will be 
completed after the public comment period, at which time we will 
evaluate the permit application and comments submitted thereupon to 
determine whether the application meets the permitting requirements 
under the Eagle Act, applicable regulations, and NEPA requirements. 
Upon completion of that evaluation, we will select our course of 
action. We will make the final permit decision no sooner than 30 days 
after the close of the public comment period.

Public Comments

    We invite public comment on the proposed DEA. If you wish, you may 
submit comments by any one of the methods discussed above under 
ADDRESSES.

Public Availability of Comments

    We will consider public comments on the DEA when making the final 
determination on NEPA compliance and permit issuance. Before including 
your address, phone number, email address, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Authority

    We provide this notice under Section 668a of the Eagle Act (16 
U.S.C. 668-668c) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

Alexandra Pitts,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2015-27240 Filed 10-27-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P