Proposed Oil & Gas Coalition Multi-State Habitat Conservation Plan for Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, 85250-85254 [2016-28336]

Download as PDF 85250 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 227 / Friday, November 25, 2016 / Notices Dated: November 17, 2016. Brian P. Fitzmaurice, Director, Division of Community Assistance, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs. TITLE V, FEDERAL SURPLUS PROPERTY PROGRAM FEDERAL REGISTER REPORT FOR 11/25/2016 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Suitable/Available Properties Building Alabama 4735; RPUID: 186113 Fort Rucker Ft. Rucker AL 36362 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640006 Status: Unutilized Comments: off-site removal only; no future agency need; 106 sq. ft.; relocation difficult due to type; 48+ months vacant; contact Army for accessibility and conditions. Colorado 09301 Fort Carson Ft. Carson CO 80913 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640001 Status: Underutilized Comments: off-site removal only; 2,680 sq. ft.; relocation extremely difficult due to size/type; Administrative; 2+ months vacant; maintenance/repair needed; contact Army for more info. Louisiana 00426; RPUID: 190313 Fort Polk Ft. Polk LA 71459 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640002 Status: Underutilized Comments: off-site removal only; no future agency need; 3,083 sq. ft.; relocation extremely difficult due to size/type; lodging; poor conditions; contact Army for more info. 00425; RPUID: 292914 Fort Polk Ft. Polk LA 71459 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640003 Status: Underutilized Comments: off-site removal only; no future agency need; 960 sq. ft.; relocation difficult due to type; lodging; poor conditions; contact Army for more info. 03603; RPUID: 293084 Fort Polk Ft. Polk LA 71459 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640004 Status: Underutilized Comments: off-site removal only; no future agency need; 1,932 sq. ft.; relocation difficult due to size/type; admin. office; contact Army for more info. 03602; RPUID: 293083 Fort Polk Ft. Polk LA 71459 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640005 Status: Underutilized Comments: off-site removal only; no future agency need; 1,932 sq. ft.; relocation VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Nov 23, 2016 Jkt 241001 difficult due to size/type; poor conditions; contact Army for more info. Minnesota 2 Buildings Rusk County Veterans Memorial Ladysmith MN 54848 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640010 Status: Excess Directions: DY001–16,257 sq. ft. (225300); DY002–2,280 sq. ft. (225301) Comments: off-site removal only; relocation extremely difficult due to size/type; fair/ poor conditions; contact Army for more info. on a specific property listed above. Virginia 1201; RPUID: 572697 Fort A.P. Hill Ft. A.P. Hill VA 22427 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640008 Status: Underutilized Comments: off-site removal only; no future agency need; relocation extremely difficult due to size/type; airfield ops. bldg.; fair/ poor conditions; contact Army for more info. Wisconsin 5 Buildings Milwaukee USARC/AMSA #49 Milwaukee WI 53218 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640011 Status: Unutilized Directions: 00312–3,216 sq. ft. (968290); 00308–14,903 sq. ft. (968288); 00307–9,657 sq. ft. (968287); 00316–54 sq. ft. (587956); 00314–136 sq. ft. (621067) Comments: off-site removal only; no future agency need; relocation extremely difficult for some due to size/type; poor conditions; contact Army for more info. on a specific property listed above. Unsuitable Properties Building Nevada 10139; RPUID: 330786 Hawthorne Army Depot Hawthorne NV 89415 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640007 Status: Unutilized Comments: public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising national security. Reasons: Secured Area North Carolina 9 Buildings Fort Bragg Ft Bragg NC 28310 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640013 Status: Unutilized Directions: M1650–306646; M1750–298672; M2148–296765; 13151–608821; 86606– 577995; 87006–604470; A2875–576093; D2612–600085; H5748–620204 Comments: public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising national security. Reasons: Secured Area PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Oklahoma 2 Buildings Hwy 9 East & Hwy 9 North Stigler OK 74462 Landholding Agency: COE Property Number: 31201640017 Status: Unutilized Directions: NLC01; NLNC06 Comments: documented deficiencies: significant damage to structures; clear threat to physical safety. Reasons: Extensive deterioration Tennessee 5 Buildings Fort Campbell Ft. Campbell TN 42223 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640014 Status: Unutilized Directions: 00712–610380; 03710–587231; A7156–617910; 00176–567327; 00711– 606990 Comments: public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising national security. Reasons: Secured Area Texas Building 11107 Biggs Army Airfield Flight line Fort Bliss TX 79916 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640012 Status: Excess Comments: public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising national security. Reasons: Secured Area Vermont 2 Buildings Ethan Allen AFB Colchester VT 05446 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201640009 Status: Underutilized Directions: 02415 (370592); 02425 (370594) Comments: documented deficiencies: holes in roof; cracks in walls; mostly likely to collapse; unsound foundation; clear threat to physical safety. Reasons: Extensive deterioration [FR Doc. 2016–28133 Filed 11–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2016–0135; FXES11120500000–167–FF05E00000] Proposed Oil & Gas Coalition MultiState Habitat Conservation Plan for Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement; notice of public scoping meetings; request for comments. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\25NON1.SGM 25NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 227 / Friday, November 25, 2016 / Notices We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce our intent to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for proposed issuance of an incidental take permit (ITP) under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the draft Oil & Gas Coalition Multi-State Habitat Conservation Plan (O&G HCP). The O&G HCP is being developed to streamline environmental permitting and compliance with the ESA for nine companies in conjunction with their respective midstream and upstream oil and gas exploration, production, and maintenance activities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia over a 50-year period. We announce a public scoping period during which we invite input regarding development of the draft EIS, which will evaluate the impacts to the human environment associated with issuance of an ITP and implementation of the O&G HCP, and alternatives. We will hold public informational meetings and request comments during this public scoping period. DATES: Comment submission: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before December 27, 2016. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. Public meetings: The Service will host five public information and scoping meetings, as well as an informational webinar. Information about the scoping meetings and webinar is provided below in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION under Scoping Meetings and also on the Service’s project Web page: www.fws.gov/northeast/ ecologicalservices/hcp/oghcp.html. Please note that the scoping meetings will be hosted by the Service in an open house format from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with a presentation provided from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R5–ES–2016–0135, 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–2016– 0135, Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Nov 23, 2016 Jkt 241001 Pike, ABHC–PPM; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. At the scoping meetings: You will have the opportunity to submit comments either electronically or in hard copy format at five public scoping meetings. The addresses for the meetings are set forth below in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION under Scoping Meetings. Comment forms and a computer station will be available for use at the meeting venues. We request that you send comments by only one of the methods described above. We will post all information received in the docket 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: Pamela R. Shellenberger, by mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 110 Radnor Rd, Suite 101, State College, PA 16801, or by telephone at (814) 234–4090, extension 7459. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. The O&G HCP is being developed by a coalition of nine companies (collectively called ‘‘the companies’’) that individually conduct upstream and/or midstream oil and gas activities within the three-State plan area. The coalition members are: Antero Resources Corporation; Ascent Resources, LLC; Chesapeake Energy Corporation; EnLink Midstream L.P.; EQT Corporation; MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P., MPLX L.P., and Marathon Petroleum Corporation (all part of same corporate enterprise); Rice Energy, Inc.; Southwestern Energy Company; and The Williams Companies, Inc. The companies, which will be co-permittees, intend to seek ITP coverage because their respective oil and gas exploration, production, and maintenance activities have the potential to incidentally take species that are known to occur in the three-State plan area and that are protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Therefore, the companies’ ITP application will include a draft HCP that addresses these activities. The companies have indicated that they intend to request ITP coverage for five bat species: The endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), the threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), the eastern smallfooted bat (Myotis leibii), and the tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 85251 We publish this notice under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4231 et seq.), its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR 1501.7, 1506.6, and 1508.22 and the Department of the Interior’s NEPA implementing regulations at 43 CFR 46.235, and pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA. We intend to prepare a draft EIS to evaluate the impacts to the human environment associated with the companies’ anticipated permit application and draft O&G HCP and several alternatives. In advance of receiving the companies’ ITP application, the Service is providing this notice to request information from other agencies, Tribes, and the public on the scope of the Service’s review as well as issues to consider in the NEPA analysis. The primary purpose of the scoping process is to allow the public, Tribes, and other agencies to provide input to the Service for development of the draft EIS by identifying important issues and alternatives related to the Service’s proposed action (issuance of an ITP based on the companies’ anticipated application and draft O&G HCP). Project Summary The companies’ draft HCP is being prepared to streamline environmental permitting and compliance with the ESA in conjunction with their respective midstream and upstream oil and gas exploration, production, and maintenance activities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The geographic extent of the companies’ activities within the three-State O&G HCP plan area over the requested 50year permit term will in part be informed by predictive modeling. Midstream and upstream oil and gas exploration, production, and maintenance activities will potentially affect covered species (see Covered Species, below) in the plan area. A model of the proposed covered activities will be used to estimate potential impacts to the covered species by overlaying the predicted covered activity implementation (including the type and location of infrastructure build-out) on the covered species’ habitats. The draft HCP will include measures to ensure that impacts from incidental take of covered species and impacts to those species’ habitats associated with the covered activities (see Covered Activities, below) will be minimized and mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. E:\FR\FM\25NON1.SGM 25NON1 85252 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 227 / Friday, November 25, 2016 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Background Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered under section 4 (16 U.S.C. 1538, 1533, respectively). The ESA implementing regulations extend, under certain circumstances, the prohibition of take to threatened species (50 CFR 17.31). Under section 3 of the ESA, the term ‘‘take’’ means to ‘‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1532 (19)). The term ‘‘harm’’ is defined by regulation as an act which actually kills or injures wildlife. Such act may include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). The term ‘‘harass’’ is defined in the regulations as an intentional or negligent act or omission which creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavioral patterns which include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Secretary of the Interior may issue permits to authorize ‘‘incidental take’’ of listed species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Service regulations governing permits for endangered species and threatened species, respectively, appear at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32. Section 10(a)(2)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing an ITP to a nonFederal entity for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met: • The taking will be incidental; • The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking; • The applicant will develop an HCP and ensure that adequate funding for the plan will be provided; • The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and • The applicant will carry out any other measures that the Secretary may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. Plan Area The companies’ oil and gas development activities will be conducted within a three-State plan area of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. This plan area was developed to ensure that the natural resources that VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Nov 23, 2016 Jkt 241001 might be affected by covered activities can be adequately assessed at a regional scale and that sufficient mitigation opportunities are available. The companies intend that any resulting permit will cover their activities wherever they may occur within the three-State area, though the draft plan may identify a subset of that area where certain activities may or may not occur. Covered Activities The companies intend to develop an HCP to address their oil and gas exploration, production, and maintenance activities that will occur in the plan area over a proposed 50-year ITP term. Their specific midstream and upstream oil and gas activities that are proposed for coverage in the HCP include the following: • Upstream (Well) Development Activities: D Development activities, including those associated with access roads, staging areas, and seismic operations, as well as geophysical exploration, which includes surveying/staking, land/tree clearing, explosives use, boring, and vehicle traffic. D Well field development activities, including those associated with production wells, well pads, drilling rigs, pump/well heads, reserve pits, storage tanks, fuel tanks, water tanks, electric equipment, drilling pipe storage, water wells, waterlines, surface water intakes, disposal wells, water impoundments, borrow pits, reserve pits, electric distribution lines, and communication towers. D Construction activities associated with well pads, ancillary features, and onsite components, including but not limited to surveying/staking; land/tree clearing; grading; stormwater and erosion and sediment control; wetland, stream, and sensitive area mitigation/ protection; trenching/boring; surface water pumping; spoil/debris placement; vegetation pile placement, vehicle traffic, drilling/well pad development and completion activities; and office, control, utility, storage, and maintenance structure construction or placement incidental to specific projects. D Production and operations activities, including those related to access roads, production, gas flaring, vehicle traffic, post-construction stormwater management, maintenance of well pads and ancillary features and components (supporting infrastructure installation, repair and replacement, equipment upgrades, inspections and repairs, workovers and recompletions, minor amounts of soil disturbance, PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 vegetation maintenance, road maintenance, etc.). D Decommissioning and reclamation activities, including those associated with vehicle traffic, land/tree clearing, land excavation/backfilling, vegetation restoration, and well plugging. • Midstream (Pipeline) Development Activities D Construction of gathering, transmission, and distribution pipelines and associated activities, including but not limited to access road construction, staging area establishment, pipe storage/ laydown area establishment, stream and water crossing construction, road boring, surveying/staking, land/tree clearing, stormwater and erosion and sediment control, grading, trenching/ boring, stockpiling, pipeline assembly, trench backfilling, vehicle traffic, revegetation, and surface impact reclamation. D Construction of surface features, including but not limited to access roads, staging areas, and storage yards; booster, compressor, and pump stations and related facilities; meter stations; mainline valves; pig launcher/receiver facilities; regular facilities; facilities to process, refine, stabilize, and store natural gas and/or other hydrocarbons; communication towers; electric distribution lines; electric substations; capacitor stations; transformer stations; office/control/utility/storage/ maintenance structures incidental to specific projects; parking areas; cathodic protection facilities; and storage tanks. D Operation and maintenance of pipeline and surface facilities and related activities, including but not limited to vehicle traffic, equipment upgrades, inspections and repairs/ replacements, leak detection, pigging, painting, minor amounts of soil disturbance, vegetation maintenance to preserve the right of way, road maintenance, and odor reduction. D Installation of new culverts/ditches, gas flaring, blow downs, and hydrostatic testing and discharge. D Decommissioning and reclamation of pipeline and surface facilities and related activities, including but not limited to vehicle traffic, land excavation/backfilling, and vegetative restoration. Covered Species The companies intend to seek incidental take coverage for five species of bats: The Indiana bat, northern longeared bat, little brown bat, eastern small-footed bat, and tri-colored bat. The Indiana bat is listed as an endangered species, and the northern long-eared bat is listed as threatened under the ESA. A rule issued under E:\FR\FM\25NON1.SGM 25NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 227 / Friday, November 25, 2016 / Notices section 4(d) of the ESA for northern long-eared bats (81 FR 1900, January 14, 2016) prohibits certain actions that do not include the incidental take of northern long-eared bats resulting from most otherwise lawful activities, including take due to the removal of habitat and disturbance from human activities, and intentional take caused by human activities in most areas. The companies anticipate that they may include northern long-eared bats in the O&G HCP, so that the species could be covered under the ITP should the section 4(d) rule be rescinded or amended or if the species were to be uplisted to endangered under the ESA during the permit term. The little brown bat, eastern small-footed bat, and tricolored bat are included as covered species under the HCP so that the species are addressed in the event that any or all were to be listed under the ESA within the term of the proposed permit. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Permit Term The companies anticipate requesting a 50-year ITP term. Their reasoning for their request includes the following: Oil and gas infrastructure has a long production and economic life; the extensive oil and gas resources in the plan area are expected to be developed over the long term; preliminary information indicates that ongoing operations and maintenance and decommissioning may result in incidental take after facility construction; and facility construction schedules are responsive to dynamic market pressures. The Service will determine the permit term consistent with applicable legal requirements. Environmental Impact Statement The NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to determine if the actions may significantly affect the human environment. Based on 40 CFR 1508.27 and 1508.8, we have determined that the proposed action (i.e., issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit (ITP) to the companies for implementation of the proposed O&G HCP) may have significant effects on the human environment. Therefore, before deciding whether to issue an ITP to the companies, the Service intends to prepare an EIS to analyze the impacts associated with that action and alternatives to it. We will first develop a draft EIS, which will be subject to public review, before finalizing the EIS and making a permit decision. The draft EIS will consider the impacts of the proposed action on the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Nov 23, 2016 Jkt 241001 human environment. The draft EIS will also include analysis of a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action. Alternatives to be analyzed in the draft EIS may include, but are not limited to, measures such as: Variations in the permit term or permit structure; the quantity of take permitted; the amount, location, and/or type of conservation, monitoring, or mitigation provided in the O&G HCP; the scope of covered activities; or a combination of these factors. Additionally, a no-action alternative (i.e., no permit issuance) will be evaluated in the draft EIS. The draft EIS will identify and describe direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the human environment, which may include biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, water resources, socioeconomics, climate, and other environmental resources that could occur with the implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. Following scoping for the draft EIS, and after receipt of the companies’ permit application, including the proposed O&G HCP, the Service will publish a notice of availability, which will request comments on the application and on the Service’s draft EIS. Public Comments We request data, comments, information, and suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, Tribes, industry, and any other interested party regarding the scope of our NEPA analysis, and impacts to the human environment resulting from the proposed action and alternatives. We will consider these comments when developing the draft EIS. We particularly seek comments on the following: (1) Aspects of the human environment that warrant examination (e.g., biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, water resources, socioeconomics, climate, and other environmental resources, etc.) and any baseline information that could inform the analyses. (2) Information concerning the range, distribution, population size, and population trends concerning the covered species in the plan area. (3) Additional biological information concerning the covered species or other federally listed species that occur in the plan area. (4) Direct, indirect, and/or cumulative impacts that implementation of the proposed action (i.e., covered activities) will have on the covered species or other federally listed species. PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 85253 (5) Information about measures that can be implemented to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to the covered species. (6) Other possible alternatives to the proposed action that the Service should consider. (7) Whether there are connected, similar, or reasonably foreseeable cumulative actions (i.e., current or planned activities) and their potential impacts on covered species or other federally listed species in the plan area. (8) The presence of archaeological sites, buildings and structures, historic events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic preservation concerns within the plan area that are required to be considered in project planning by the National Historic Preservation Act. (9) Any other environmental issues that should be considered with regard to the proposed HCP and potential permit issuance. You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. The Service will post all public comments and information received electronically or via hardcopy in the docket 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. Scoping Meetings The purpose of the scoping meetings will be to provide the public with information regarding the anticipated application, draft HCP, and the Service’s permitting process, and its associated environmental review. The Service will provide information on the scope of issues and alternatives that may be initially considered. The companies’ HCP contractor will also be available to answer questions about the draft HCP under development. Written comments will be accepted at the meeting. Comments can also be submitted by methods listed in ADDRESSES. Once the draft EIS and draft HCP are complete and made available for review, there will be additional opportunity for public comment on the content of these E:\FR\FM\25NON1.SGM 25NON1 85254 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 227 / Friday, November 25, 2016 / Notices documents through an additional public comment period. The scoping meetings will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time at the following locations on the following dates: 1. Chartiers Township Community Center (Banquet Room; 2013 Community Center Drive, Houston, PA 15342) on Monday, December 12, 2016. 2. Southgate Hotel (Banquet Rooms 1 and 2; 2248 Southgate Parkway, Cambridge, OH 43725) on Tuesday, December 13, 2016. 3. Beni Kedem Temple (Ballroom; 100 Quarrier Street, Charleston, WV 25301) on Wednesday, December 14, 2016. 4. Village Square Conference Center (Ballroom A; Rt. 19 South/1489 Milford Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301) on Thursday, December 15, 2016. 5. Genetti Hotel (Washington Room; 200 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA 17701) on Friday, December 16, 2016. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Registration and log-in information for the webinar is available on the Service’s project Web page: www.fws.gov/northeast/ ecologicalservices/hcp/oghcp.html. Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate in the public meetings should contact Pam Shellenberger at 814–234–4090, extension 7459, as soon as possible. To allow sufficient time to process requests, please call at least 1 week before the public meetings. Information regarding this proposed action is available in alternative formats upon request. Applicant TE38856A ........ asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Application No. Skelly & Loy, Inc .......... VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Nov 23, 2016 Dated: November 15, 2016. Paul Phifer, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Northeast Region. [FR Doc. 2016–28336 Filed 11–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R3–ES–2016–N190; FXES11130300000–178–FF03E00000] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Permit Applications Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on the following applications for a permit to conduct activities intended to enhance the survival of endangered or threatened species. Federal law prohibits certain activities with endangered species unless a permit is obtained. DATES: We must receive any written comments on or before December 27, 2016. ADDRESSES: Send written comments by U.S. mail to the Regional Director, Attn: Carlita Payne, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437–1458; or by electronic mail to permitsR3ES@fws.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carlita Payne, (612) 713–5343. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et Species PO 00000 Applications Available for Review and Comment We invite local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies and the public to comment on the following applications. Please refer to the permit number when you submit comments. Documents and other information the applicants have submitted with the applications are available for review, subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) and Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). Permit Applications Proposed activities in the following permit requests are for the recovery and enhancement of survival of the species in the wild. Location Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), Virginia big eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus). Jkt 241001 seq.), prohibits certain activities with endangered and threatened species unless the activities are specifically authorized by a Federal permit. The ESA and our implementing regulations in part 17 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provide for the issuance of such permits and require that we invite public comment before issuing permits for activities involving endangered species. A permit granted by us under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA authorizes the permittee to conduct activities with U.S. endangered or threatened species for scientific purposes, enhancement of propagation or survival, or interstate commerce (the latter only in the event that it facilitates scientific purposes or enhancement of propagation or survival). Our regulations implementing section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA for these permits are found at 50 CFR 17.22 for endangered wildlife species, 50 CFR 17.32 for threatened wildlife species, 50 CFR 17.62 for endangered plant species, and 50 CFR 17.72 for threatened plant species. Activity Type of take Permit action Rangewide ................... Conduct presence/absence surveys, document habitat use, conduct population monitoring, evaluate impacts. Capture, handle, radiotag, release. Amend, renew. Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\25NON1.SGM 25NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 227 (Friday, November 25, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 85250-85254]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-28336]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2016-0135; FXES11120500000-167-FF05E00000]


Proposed Oil & Gas Coalition Multi-State Habitat Conservation 
Plan for Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement; 
notice of public scoping meetings; request for comments.

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[[Page 85251]]

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce our 
intent to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for 
proposed issuance of an incidental take permit (ITP) under section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the draft Oil & Gas 
Coalition Multi-State Habitat Conservation Plan (O&G HCP). The O&G HCP 
is being developed to streamline environmental permitting and 
compliance with the ESA for nine companies in conjunction with their 
respective midstream and upstream oil and gas exploration, production, 
and maintenance activities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia 
over a 50-year period. We announce a public scoping period during which 
we invite input regarding development of the draft EIS, which will 
evaluate the impacts to the human environment associated with issuance 
of an ITP and implementation of the O&G HCP, and alternatives. We will 
hold public informational meetings and request comments during this 
public scoping period.

DATES: Comment submission: We will accept comments received or 
postmarked on or before December 27, 2016. Comments submitted 
electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) 
must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date.
    Public meetings: The Service will host five public information and 
scoping meetings, as well as an informational webinar. Information 
about the scoping meetings and webinar is provided below in 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION under Scoping Meetings and also on the 
Service's project Web page: www.fws.gov/northeast/ecologicalservices/hcp/oghcp.html. Please note that the scoping meetings will be hosted by 
the Service in an open house format from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern 
Time, with a presentation provided from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by one of the following 
methods:
    Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at: 
http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R5-ES-2016-
0135, 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-2016-0135, Division of Policy, 
Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 
5275 Leesburg Pike, ABHC-PPM; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    At the scoping meetings: You will have the opportunity to submit 
comments either electronically or in hard copy format at five public 
scoping meetings. The addresses for the meetings are set forth below in 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION under Scoping Meetings. Comment forms and a 
computer station will be available for use at the meeting venues.
    We request that you send comments by only one of the methods 
described above. We will post all information received in the docket 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: Pamela R. Shellenberger, by mail at 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 110 Radnor Rd, Suite 101, State 
College, PA 16801, or by telephone at (814) 234-4090, extension 7459. 
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the 
Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The O&G HCP is being developed by a 
coalition of nine companies (collectively called ``the companies'') 
that individually conduct upstream and/or midstream oil and gas 
activities within the three-State plan area. The coalition members are: 
Antero Resources Corporation; Ascent Resources, LLC; Chesapeake Energy 
Corporation; EnLink Midstream L.P.; EQT Corporation; MarkWest Energy 
Partners, L.P., MPLX L.P., and Marathon Petroleum Corporation (all part 
of same corporate enterprise); Rice Energy, Inc.; Southwestern Energy 
Company; and The Williams Companies, Inc. The companies, which will be 
co-permittees, intend to seek ITP coverage because their respective oil 
and gas exploration, production, and maintenance activities have the 
potential to incidentally take species that are known to occur in the 
three-State plan area and that are protected by the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Therefore, the 
companies' ITP application will include a draft HCP that addresses 
these activities. The companies have indicated that they intend to 
request ITP coverage for five bat species: The endangered Indiana bat 
(Myotis sodalis), the threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis 
septentrionalis), the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), the eastern 
small-footed bat (Myotis leibii), and the tri-colored bat (Perimyotis 
subflavus).
    We publish this notice under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4231 et 
seq.), its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations 
at 40 CFR 1501.7, 1506.6, and 1508.22 and the Department of the 
Interior's NEPA implementing regulations at 43 CFR 46.235, and pursuant 
to section 10(c) of the ESA. We intend to prepare a draft EIS to 
evaluate the impacts to the human environment associated with the 
companies' anticipated permit application and draft O&G HCP and several 
alternatives. In advance of receiving the companies' ITP application, 
the Service is providing this notice to request information from other 
agencies, Tribes, and the public on the scope of the Service's review 
as well as issues to consider in the NEPA analysis. The primary purpose 
of the scoping process is to allow the public, Tribes, and other 
agencies to provide input to the Service for development of the draft 
EIS by identifying important issues and alternatives related to the 
Service's proposed action (issuance of an ITP based on the companies' 
anticipated application and draft O&G HCP).

Project Summary

    The companies' draft HCP is being prepared to streamline 
environmental permitting and compliance with the ESA in conjunction 
with their respective midstream and upstream oil and gas exploration, 
production, and maintenance activities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West 
Virginia. The geographic extent of the companies' activities within the 
three-State O&G HCP plan area over the requested 50-year permit term 
will in part be informed by predictive modeling.
    Midstream and upstream oil and gas exploration, production, and 
maintenance activities will potentially affect covered species (see 
Covered Species, below) in the plan area. A model of the proposed 
covered activities will be used to estimate potential impacts to the 
covered species by overlaying the predicted covered activity 
implementation (including the type and location of infrastructure 
build-out) on the covered species' habitats. The draft HCP will include 
measures to ensure that impacts from incidental take of covered species 
and impacts to those species' habitats associated with the covered 
activities (see Covered Activities, below) will be minimized and 
mitigated to the maximum extent practicable.

[[Page 85252]]

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ``take'' of fish and wildlife 
species listed as endangered under section 4 (16 U.S.C. 1538, 1533, 
respectively). The ESA implementing regulations extend, under certain 
circumstances, the prohibition of take to threatened species (50 CFR 
17.31). Under section 3 of the ESA, the term ``take'' means to 
``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1532 
(19)). The term ``harm'' is defined by regulation as an act which 
actually kills or injures wildlife. Such act may include significant 
habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures 
wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, 
including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). The term 
``harass'' is defined in the regulations as an intentional or negligent 
act or omission which creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by 
annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal 
behavioral patterns which include, but are not limited to, breeding, 
feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3).
    Pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Secretary of the 
Interior may issue permits to authorize ``incidental take'' of listed 
species. ``Incidental take'' is defined by the ESA as take that is 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful 
activity. Service regulations governing permits for endangered species 
and threatened species, respectively, appear at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32. 
Section 10(a)(2)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing an ITP 
to a non-Federal entity for the take of endangered and threatened 
species, provided the following criteria are met:
     The taking will be incidental;
     The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, 
minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking;
     The applicant will develop an HCP and ensure that adequate 
funding for the plan will be provided;
     The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of 
survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and
     The applicant will carry out any other measures that the 
Secretary may require as being necessary or appropriate for the 
purposes of the HCP.

Plan Area

    The companies' oil and gas development activities will be conducted 
within a three-State plan area of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West 
Virginia. This plan area was developed to ensure that the natural 
resources that might be affected by covered activities can be 
adequately assessed at a regional scale and that sufficient mitigation 
opportunities are available. The companies intend that any resulting 
permit will cover their activities wherever they may occur within the 
three-State area, though the draft plan may identify a subset of that 
area where certain activities may or may not occur.

Covered Activities

    The companies intend to develop an HCP to address their oil and gas 
exploration, production, and maintenance activities that will occur in 
the plan area over a proposed 50-year ITP term. Their specific 
midstream and upstream oil and gas activities that are proposed for 
coverage in the HCP include the following:
     Upstream (Well) Development Activities:
    [ssquf] Development activities, including those associated with 
access roads, staging areas, and seismic operations, as well as 
geophysical exploration, which includes surveying/staking, land/tree 
clearing, explosives use, boring, and vehicle traffic.
    [ssquf] Well field development activities, including those 
associated with production wells, well pads, drilling rigs, pump/well 
heads, reserve pits, storage tanks, fuel tanks, water tanks, electric 
equipment, drilling pipe storage, water wells, waterlines, surface 
water intakes, disposal wells, water impoundments, borrow pits, reserve 
pits, electric distribution lines, and communication towers.
    [ssquf] Construction activities associated with well pads, 
ancillary features, and onsite components, including but not limited to 
surveying/staking; land/tree clearing; grading; stormwater and erosion 
and sediment control; wetland, stream, and sensitive area mitigation/
protection; trenching/boring; surface water pumping; spoil/debris 
placement; vegetation pile placement, vehicle traffic, drilling/well 
pad development and completion activities; and office, control, 
utility, storage, and maintenance structure construction or placement 
incidental to specific projects.
    [ssquf] Production and operations activities, including those 
related to access roads, production, gas flaring, vehicle traffic, 
post-construction stormwater management, maintenance of well pads and 
ancillary features and components (supporting infrastructure 
installation, repair and replacement, equipment upgrades, inspections 
and repairs, workovers and recompletions, minor amounts of soil 
disturbance, vegetation maintenance, road maintenance, etc.).
    [ssquf] Decommissioning and reclamation activities, including those 
associated with vehicle traffic, land/tree clearing, land excavation/
backfilling, vegetation restoration, and well plugging.
     Midstream (Pipeline) Development Activities
    [ssquf] Construction of gathering, transmission, and distribution 
pipelines and associated activities, including but not limited to 
access road construction, staging area establishment, pipe storage/
laydown area establishment, stream and water crossing construction, 
road boring, surveying/staking, land/tree clearing, stormwater and 
erosion and sediment control, grading, trenching/boring, stockpiling, 
pipeline assembly, trench backfilling, vehicle traffic, revegetation, 
and surface impact reclamation.
    [ssquf] Construction of surface features, including but not limited 
to access roads, staging areas, and storage yards; booster, compressor, 
and pump stations and related facilities; meter stations; mainline 
valves; pig launcher/receiver facilities; regular facilities; 
facilities to process, refine, stabilize, and store natural gas and/or 
other hydrocarbons; communication towers; electric distribution lines; 
electric substations; capacitor stations; transformer stations; office/
control/utility/storage/maintenance structures incidental to specific 
projects; parking areas; cathodic protection facilities; and storage 
tanks.
    [ssquf] Operation and maintenance of pipeline and surface 
facilities and related activities, including but not limited to vehicle 
traffic, equipment upgrades, inspections and repairs/replacements, leak 
detection, pigging, painting, minor amounts of soil disturbance, 
vegetation maintenance to preserve the right of way, road maintenance, 
and odor reduction.
    [ssquf] Installation of new culverts/ditches, gas flaring, blow 
downs, and hydrostatic testing and discharge.
    [ssquf] Decommissioning and reclamation of pipeline and surface 
facilities and related activities, including but not limited to vehicle 
traffic, land excavation/backfilling, and vegetative restoration.

Covered Species

    The companies intend to seek incidental take coverage for five 
species of bats: The Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, little brown 
bat, eastern small-footed bat, and tri-colored bat. The Indiana bat is 
listed as an endangered species, and the northern long-eared bat is 
listed as threatened under the ESA. A rule issued under

[[Page 85253]]

section 4(d) of the ESA for northern long-eared bats (81 FR 1900, 
January 14, 2016) prohibits certain actions that do not include the 
incidental take of northern long-eared bats resulting from most 
otherwise lawful activities, including take due to the removal of 
habitat and disturbance from human activities, and intentional take 
caused by human activities in most areas. The companies anticipate that 
they may include northern long-eared bats in the O&G HCP, so that the 
species could be covered under the ITP should the section 4(d) rule be 
rescinded or amended or if the species were to be uplisted to 
endangered under the ESA during the permit term. The little brown bat, 
eastern small-footed bat, and tri-colored bat are included as covered 
species under the HCP so that the species are addressed in the event 
that any or all were to be listed under the ESA within the term of the 
proposed permit.

Permit Term

    The companies anticipate requesting a 50-year ITP term. Their 
reasoning for their request includes the following: Oil and gas 
infrastructure has a long production and economic life; the extensive 
oil and gas resources in the plan area are expected to be developed 
over the long term; preliminary information indicates that ongoing 
operations and maintenance and decommissioning may result in incidental 
take after facility construction; and facility construction schedules 
are responsive to dynamic market pressures. The Service will determine 
the permit term consistent with applicable legal requirements.

Environmental Impact Statement

    The NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies 
conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to 
determine if the actions may significantly affect the human 
environment. Based on 40 CFR 1508.27 and 1508.8, we have determined 
that the proposed action (i.e., issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) 
permit (ITP) to the companies for implementation of the proposed O&G 
HCP) may have significant effects on the human environment. Therefore, 
before deciding whether to issue an ITP to the companies, the Service 
intends to prepare an EIS to analyze the impacts associated with that 
action and alternatives to it. We will first develop a draft EIS, which 
will be subject to public review, before finalizing the EIS and making 
a permit decision.
    The draft EIS will consider the impacts of the proposed action on 
the human environment. The draft EIS will also include analysis of a 
reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action. Alternatives 
to be analyzed in the draft EIS may include, but are not limited to, 
measures such as: Variations in the permit term or permit structure; 
the quantity of take permitted; the amount, location, and/or type of 
conservation, monitoring, or mitigation provided in the O&G HCP; the 
scope of covered activities; or a combination of these factors. 
Additionally, a no-action alternative (i.e., no permit issuance) will 
be evaluated in the draft EIS.
    The draft EIS will identify and describe direct, indirect, and 
cumulative impacts on the human environment, which may include 
biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, water 
resources, socioeconomics, climate, and other environmental resources 
that could occur with the implementation of the proposed action and 
alternatives. Following scoping for the draft EIS, and after receipt of 
the companies' permit application, including the proposed O&G HCP, the 
Service will publish a notice of availability, which will request 
comments on the application and on the Service's draft EIS.

Public Comments

    We request data, comments, information, and suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, Tribes, industry, and any other interested party regarding 
the scope of our NEPA analysis, and impacts to the human environment 
resulting from the proposed action and alternatives. We will consider 
these comments when developing the draft EIS. We particularly seek 
comments on the following:
    (1) Aspects of the human environment that warrant examination 
(e.g., biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, 
water resources, socioeconomics, climate, and other environmental 
resources, etc.) and any baseline information that could inform the 
analyses.
    (2) Information concerning the range, distribution, population 
size, and population trends concerning the covered species in the plan 
area.
    (3) Additional biological information concerning the covered 
species or other federally listed species that occur in the plan area.
    (4) Direct, indirect, and/or cumulative impacts that implementation 
of the proposed action (i.e., covered activities) will have on the 
covered species or other federally listed species.
    (5) Information about measures that can be implemented to avoid, 
minimize, and mitigate impacts to the covered species.
    (6) Other possible alternatives to the proposed action that the 
Service should consider.
    (7) Whether there are connected, similar, or reasonably foreseeable 
cumulative actions (i.e., current or planned activities) and their 
potential impacts on covered species or other federally listed species 
in the plan area.
    (8) The presence of archaeological sites, buildings and structures, 
historic events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic 
preservation concerns within the plan area that are required to be 
considered in project planning by the National Historic Preservation 
Act.
    (9) Any other environmental issues that should be considered with 
regard to the proposed HCP and potential permit issuance.
    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in ADDRESSES.
    The Service will post all public comments and information received 
electronically or via hardcopy in the docket 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.

Scoping Meetings

    The purpose of the scoping meetings will be to provide the public 
with information regarding the anticipated application, draft HCP, and 
the Service's permitting process, and its associated environmental 
review. The Service will provide information on the scope of issues and 
alternatives that may be initially considered. The companies' HCP 
contractor will also be available to answer questions about the draft 
HCP under development. Written comments will be accepted at the 
meeting. Comments can also be submitted by methods listed in ADDRESSES. 
Once the draft EIS and draft HCP are complete and made available for 
review, there will be additional opportunity for public comment on the 
content of these

[[Page 85254]]

documents through an additional public comment period.
    The scoping meetings will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern 
Time at the following locations on the following dates:
    1. Chartiers Township Community Center (Banquet Room; 2013 
Community Center Drive, Houston, PA 15342) on Monday, December 12, 
2016.
    2. Southgate Hotel (Banquet Rooms 1 and 2; 2248 Southgate Parkway, 
Cambridge, OH 43725) on Tuesday, December 13, 2016.
    3. Beni Kedem Temple (Ballroom; 100 Quarrier Street, Charleston, WV 
25301) on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.
    4. Village Square Conference Center (Ballroom A; Rt. 19 South/1489 
Milford Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301) on Thursday, December 15, 2016.
    5. Genetti Hotel (Washington Room; 200 West Fourth Street, 
Williamsport, PA 17701) on Friday, December 16, 2016.
    The webinar will be held on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, at 6:00 
p.m. Eastern Time. Registration and log-in information for the webinar 
is available on the Service's project Web page: www.fws.gov/northeast/ecologicalservices/hcp/oghcp.html.
    Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate 
in the public meetings should contact Pam Shellenberger at 814-234-
4090, extension 7459, as soon as possible. To allow sufficient time to 
process requests, please call at least 1 week before the public 
meetings. Information regarding this proposed action is available in 
alternative formats upon request.

    Dated: November 15, 2016.
Paul Phifer,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Northeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2016-28336 Filed 11-23-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P