Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement for Eagle Take Permits for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Phase I Wind Energy Project, 89133-89135 [2016-29333]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 237 / Friday, December 9, 2016 / Notices Asset Management and Portfolio Oversight, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410, telephone (202) 708–3730 (this is not a toll free number) for copies of the proposed forms and other available information. Copies of available documents submitted to OMB may be obtained from Ms. Pollard. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice informs the public that HUD is seeking approval from OMB for the information collection described in Section A. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES A. Overview of Information Collection Title of Information Collection: Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities—Project Rental Assistance (811 PRA) Program. OMB Approval Number: 2502–0608. Type of Request: Revision of currently approved collection. Form Numbers: SF–424, SF–424 Supplement, SF–LLL, HUD–2880, HUD–424CB, HUD–2993, HUD–2990, HUD–96011, HUD–2994–A, HUD– 96010, HUD–92235, HUD–92236, HUD– 92237, HUD–92238, HUD–92240, HUD– 92239, HUD–92241, HUD–92243, HUD– 93205. Description of the need for the information and proposed use: The collection of this information is necessary to the Department to assist HUD in determining applicant eligibility and capacity to award and administer the HUD PRA funds within statutory and program criteria. A thorough evaluation of an applicant’s submission is necessary to protect the Government’s financial interest. Respondents (i.e. affected public): State, Local or Tribal Government, Notfor-profit institutions, Business or other for-profit. Estimated Number of Respondents: 5,020. Estimated Number of Responses: 5,065. Frequency of Response: On occasion. Average Hours per Response: Varies from 30 minutes to 40 hours. Total Estimated Burden: 24,833.05. B. Solicitation of Public Comment This notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected parties concerning the collection of information described in Section A on the following: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Dec 08, 2016 Jkt 241001 (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond; including through the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. HUD encourages interested parties to submit comment in response to these questions. Authority: Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35. Dated: December 1, 2016. Genger Charles, Senior Policy Advisor for Housing—Federal Housing Commissioner. [FR Doc. 2016–29449 Filed 12–8–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R6–MB–2016–N205; FF06M00000– XXX–FRMB48720660090] Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement for Eagle Take Permits for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Phase I Wind Energy Project Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, in response to an application from Power Company of Wyoming (PCW) for eagle take permits (ETPs) pursuant to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) and its implementing regulations. PCW has applied for standard and programmatic ETPs for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Phase I Wind Energy Project in Carbon County, Wyoming. The final EIS is now available for review. DATES: The final EIS is available for public review for 30 days, after which we will issue a record of decision. ADDRESSES: Copies of the final EIS, as well as the permit application and the supporting eagle conservation plan, are available for review at the Carbon County Library System at 215 West Buffalo Street, Rawlins, Wyoming; the Saratoga Public Library at 503 West Elm Street, Saratoga, Wyoming; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Wyoming Ecological Services Office at 5353 Yellowstone Road, Suite 308A, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 89133 Cheyenne, Wyoming (contact Nathan Darnall to coordinate access, at nathan_ darnall@fws.gov or 307–772–2374 ext. 246); and the USFWS Region 6 Office at 134 South Union Boulevard, Lakewood, Colorado (contact Louise Galiher to coordinate access, at louise_galiher@ fws.gov or 303–236–8677). These documents are also available electronically on the USFWS Web site at https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/ wind/ChokecherrySierraMadre/ index.html. You may contact us regarding the final EIS via the following methods: • Email: CCSM_EIS@fws.gov. • U.S. Mail: Chokecherry and Sierra Madre EIS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prairie Region, Attention: Louise Galiher, P.O. Box 25486 DFC, Denver, CO 80225. • Hand-Delivery/Courier: Chokecherry and Sierra Madre EIS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MountainPrairie Region, Attention: Louise Galiher, 134 Union Blvd., Lakewood, CO 80228. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Louise Galiher, at 303–236–8677 (phone) or louise_galiher@fws.gov (email); or Clint Riley, at 303–236–5231 (phone) or clint_riley@fws.gov (email). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339 to contact the above individuals. The Federal Relay Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for you to leave a message or question with the above individuals. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), in response to an application from Power Company of Wyoming (PCW) for eagle take permits (ETPs) pursuant to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), (16 U.S.C. 668–668c) and its implementing regulations. PCW has applied for standard and programmatic ETPs for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre (CCSM) Phase I Wind Energy Project in Carbon County, Wyoming. The final EIS is now available for review. Public Coordination The notice of intent to prepare an EIS for this project was published in the Federal Register on December 4, 2013 (78 FR 72926). Two public scoping meetings for the USFWS EIS were held, on December 16 and 17, 2013, in conjunction with Bureau of Land E:\FR\FM\09DEN1.SGM 09DEN1 89134 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 237 / Friday, December 9, 2016 / Notices Management (BLM) scoping meetings for an environmental assessment (EA) of the Phase I CCSM Project. A draft EIS was prepared and a notice of availability of the draft EIS was published in the Federal Register on April 29, 2016 (81 FR 25688), opening a 60-day comment period. The comment period was subsequently reopened for 2 weeks after it was discovered that a hyphen replaced an underscore in the public comment email address in several outreach materials. The draft EIS provided discussion of the potential impacts of the proposed action and an analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action. Two public comment meetings for the draft EIS were held, on June 6 and 7, 2016. The alternatives analyzed in the draft EIS were carried forward for full analysis in the final EIS. Agencies, tribes, organizations, and interested parties provided comments on the draft EIS via mail, email, and public meetings. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Background Information A. Migratory Birds and Eagle Protections. Raptors and most other birds in the United States are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703–711). The President’s Executive Order 13186 directs agencies to consider migratory birds in environmental planning by avoiding or minimizing to the extent practicable adverse impacts on migratory bird resources when conducting agency actions, and by ensuring environmental analyses of Federal actions as required by NEPA or other established environmental review processes. Bald eagles and golden eagles are provided further protection under BGEPA, which prohibits anyone without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior from ‘‘taking’’ eagles, including their parts, nests, or eggs. An ETP authorizes the take of live eagles and their eggs where the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, a human activity or project that is otherwise a lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for bald and golden eagles can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 22.26. The Service is in the process of finalizing revisions to these regulations. However, because PCW’s application has already been submitted, it is governed by the existing regulations. The proposed new regulations, if finalized, would authorize this course of action, i.e., the new regulations would allow the Service to issue eagle take permits to PCW under the currently applicable regulations. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Dec 08, 2016 Jkt 241001 ETPs authorize the take of eagles where the take is compatible with the preservation of eagles; where it is necessary to protect an interest in a particular locality; where it is associated with, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity; and where take is unavoidable. The Service will issue permits for such take only after an applicant has committed to undertake all practicable measures to avoid and minimize such take and mitigate anticipated take to the maximum extent achievable to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. Standard ETPs authorize eagle take in an identifiable timeframe and location. Programmatic ETPs authorize eagle take that is recurring and not within a specific, identifiable timeframe and/or location. Standard and programmatic ETPs may be issued for a period of up to 5 years. B. Power Company of Wyoming Application. As proposed by PCW, the CCSM Phase I Project will consist of approximately 500 wind turbines, a haul road, a quarry to supply materials for road construction, access roads, a rail distribution facility, underground and overhead electrical and communication lines, laydown areas, operation and maintenance facilities, and other supporting infrastructure needed for Phase I to become fully operational. PCW has applied for a standard ETP for disturbance related to construction of CCSM Phase I wind turbines and infrastructure components, and a programmatic ETP for operation of the CCSM Phase I Project. The applicant has prepared an ECP identifying measures it intends to undertake to avoid, minimize, and compensate for potential impacts to bald and golden eagles. To help meet requirements of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the applicant has also prepared a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy (BBCS) containing measures the applicant proposes to implement to avoid or minimize impacts of the project on other migratory birds. The Service has considered the information presented in the ECP and BBCS in our analysis of environmental impacts in the final EIS. C. The BLM’s NEPA Review. The CCSM Phase I Project would be situated in an area of alternating sections of private, State, and Federal lands that are administered by the BLM. In 2012, the BLM completed a final EIS (FEIS) to evaluate whether the project area would be acceptable for development of a wind facility in a manner compatible with applicable Federal laws. On October 9, 2012, BLM published a record of decision (ROD) determining that the portions of the area for which PCW PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 seeks right-of-way grants ‘‘are suitable for wind energy development and associated facilities.’’ As explained in the ROD, the BLM’s decision does not authorize development of the wind energy project; rather, it allows BLM to accept and evaluate future right-of-way applications subject to the requirements of all future wind energy development described therein (ROD at 6–1). PCW has since submitted to the BLM site-specific plans of development from which the BLM is developing sitespecific tiered EAs. In 2014, the BLM published a final EA 1, which analyzes major components of project infrastructure, including the haul road, rail facility, and rock quarry. On March 9, 2016, BLM published EA 2, which analyzes the wind turbines and pads, access roads, laydown areas, electrical and communication lines, and a construction camp. The Service has incorporated by reference information from the BLM FEIS, ROD, EA1, and EA2 into our environmental analysis in the final EIS in order to avoid redundancy and unnecessary paperwork. Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations authorize incorporation by reference (40 CFR 1502.21, CEQ 40 Most Asked Questions #30; see also 43 CFR 46.135). Alternatives In the final EIS, the Service analyzed the proposed action alternative, the proposed action with different mitigation, an alternative to issue ETPs for Phase I of Sierra Madre Wind Development Area only, and the noaction alternative. The Service identified the proposed action as the preferred alternative. Alternative 1: Proposed Action. Alternative 1 is for the Service to issue ETPs for the construction of the Phase I wind turbines and infrastructure components and for the operation of the Phase I CCSM project, based on the ETP applications submitted by PCW. The proposed action includes avoidance and minimization measures, best management practices, and compensatory mitigation described in detail in the EIS and in PCW’s application and ECP. PCW has proposed to retrofit high-risk power poles as compensatory mitigation, thereby reducing eagle mortality from electrocution. Alternative 2: Proposed Action with Different Mitigation. Under Alternative 2, the Service would issue ETPs for the construction and operation of the Phase I CCSM Project as under Alternative 1, but would require PCW to implement a different form of compensatory E:\FR\FM\09DEN1.SGM 09DEN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 237 / Friday, December 9, 2016 / Notices mitigation than proposed in its ETP applications. We are considering mitigation of older wind facilities, lead abatement, carcass removal, carcass avoidance, wind conservation easements, habitat enhancement (focusing on prey habitat), and rehabilitation of injured eagles as possible alternative forms of compensatory mitigation. Alternative 3: Issue ETPs for Phase I of Sierra Madre Wind Development Area Only. The Service received numerous comments during the scoping process requesting that we examine a different development scenario from that proposed by PCW. However, to issue an ETP, we must analyze a specific project and ECP to determine if it meets the requirements for an ETP. Alternative 3 represents an example of a different development scenario PCW could present in a new application if the Service were to determine that the Phase I CCSM Project would meet all the criteria for issuing an ETP, but not at the scale proposed. Alternative 3 is for the Service to issue ETPs for the construction of Phase I infrastructure and the construction and operation of wind turbines only in the Sierra Madre Wind Development Area (WDA) (298 turbines total). This alternative includes avoidance and minimization measures, best management practices, and compensatory mitigation described in PCW’s application as they apply to the Sierra Madre WDA. Alternative 4: No Action. Under Alternative 4, the Service would deny PCW standard and programmatic ETPs for construction and operation of the Phase I CCSM Project. In addition to being a potential outcome of the permit review process, analysis of the No Action alternative is required by CEQ regulation (40 CFR 1502.14) and provides a baseline against which to compare the environmental impacts of the proposed action and other reasonable alternatives. ETPs are not required in order for PCW to construct and operate the project; therefore, if we deny the ETPs, PCW may choose to construct and operate the Phase I CCSM Project without ETPs and without adhering to an ECP. Alternative 4 analyzes both a ‘‘No Build’’ scenario and a ‘‘Build Without ETPs’’ scenario. This final EIS further incorporates information received during the public comment period for the draft EIS, and finalizes the analyses and conclusions in the document. National Environmental Policy Act Compliance Our decision on whether to issue standard and programmatic ETPs to VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Dec 08, 2016 Jkt 241001 PCW triggers compliance with NEPA. NEPA requires the Service to analyze the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the CCSM Phase I project before we make our decision, and to make our analysis available to the public. We have prepared the final EIS to inform the public of our proposed permit action, alternatives to that action, the environmental impacts of the alternatives, and measures to minimize adverse environmental effects. Public Availability of Submissions Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your correspondence, you should be aware that your entire correspondence— including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us to withhold your personal identifying information for public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments and materials received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the offices where the comments are being submitted. Authorities This notice is published in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969; the CEQ’s regulations for implementing NEPA, 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508; and the Department of the Interior’s NEPA regulations, 43 CFR part 46. Stephen A. Smith, Acting Regional Director, Mountain-Prairie Region [FR Doc. 2016–29333 Filed 12–8–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2016–N170; FXES11120100000–167–FF01E00000] Draft Environmental Impact Statement; Amendment to the 1997 Washington State Department of Natural Resources Habitat Conservation Plan and Incidental Take Permit for the LongTerm Conservation Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: With the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 89135 Service (Service), have jointly developed a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) addressing an amendment to the 1997 WDNR Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to cover implementation of a long-term conservation strategy (LTCS) for the marbled murrelet. The DEIS also addresses an amendment to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) section 10 incidental take permit (ITP) for the WDNR HCP to cover implementation of the LTCS. The DEIS is intended to satisfy the requirements of both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). We request comments on these documents. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by March 9, 2017. Public Meetings and Webinar: Four public meetings will be held to solicit public comments on the DEIS. For locations, dates and times of the public meetings and webinar, see Public Meetings and Webinar under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. ADDRESSES: To view documents, request further information, or submit comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your information request or comments are in reference to the DEIS addressing an amendment to the 1997 WDNR HCP and ITP to cover implementation of a marbled murrelet LTCS: Viewing Documents: • Internet: You can view the DEIS on the Internet at www.fws.gov/WWFWO/ or www.dnr.wa.gov/non-project-actions. • Hard Copies: There are limited numbers of hard copies of the DEIS available for distribution (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). • Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the DEIS, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at our Washington Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Submitting Comments: • Email: Comments may be submitted electronically to WDNR at sepacenter@ dnr.wa.gov. WDNR will transmit all comments received to the Service. • U.S. Mail: Comments may be submitted in writing to Lily Smith, SEPA Responsible Official, Washington Department of Natural Resources, SEPA Center, P.O. Box 47001, Olympia, WA 98504–7015. WDNR will transmit all comments received to the Service. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Ostwald, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, by telephone at (360) 753–9564, E:\FR\FM\09DEN1.SGM 09DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 237 (Friday, December 9, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 89133-89135]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-29333]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-MB-2016-N205; FF06M00000-XXX-FRMB48720660090]


Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement for Eagle 
Take Permits for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Phase I Wind Energy 
Project

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have prepared a final 
environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, as amended, in response to an application from 
Power Company of Wyoming (PCW) for eagle take permits (ETPs) pursuant 
to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) and its 
implementing regulations. PCW has applied for standard and programmatic 
ETPs for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Phase I Wind Energy Project 
in Carbon County, Wyoming. The final EIS is now available for review.

DATES: The final EIS is available for public review for 30 days, after 
which we will issue a record of decision.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the final EIS, as well as the permit application 
and the supporting eagle conservation plan, are available for review at 
the Carbon County Library System at 215 West Buffalo Street, Rawlins, 
Wyoming; the Saratoga Public Library at 503 West Elm Street, Saratoga, 
Wyoming; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Wyoming Ecological 
Services Office at 5353 Yellowstone Road, Suite 308A, Cheyenne, Wyoming 
(contact Nathan Darnall to coordinate access, at nathan_darnall@fws.gov 
or 307-772-2374 ext. 246); and the USFWS Region 6 Office at 134 South 
Union Boulevard, Lakewood, Colorado (contact Louise Galiher to 
coordinate access, at louise_galiher@fws.gov or 303-236-8677). These 
documents are also available electronically on the USFWS Web site at 
https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/wind/ChokecherrySierraMadre/.
    You may contact us regarding the final EIS via the following 
methods:
     Email: CCSM_EIS@fws.gov.
     U.S. Mail: Chokecherry and Sierra Madre EIS, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prairie Region, Attention: Louise Galiher, 
P.O. Box 25486 DFC, Denver, CO 80225.
     Hand-Delivery/Courier: Chokecherry and Sierra Madre EIS, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prairie Region, Attention: 
Louise Galiher, 134 Union Blvd., Lakewood, CO 80228.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Louise Galiher, at 303-236-8677 
(phone) or louise_galiher@fws.gov (email); or Clint Riley, at 303-236-
5231 (phone) or clint_riley@fws.gov (email). Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay 
Service at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individuals. The Federal 
Relay Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for you to 
leave a message or question with the above individuals. You will 
receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), have prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) 
under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), in response to an application from Power Company 
of Wyoming (PCW) for eagle take permits (ETPs) pursuant to the Bald and 
Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), (16 U.S.C. 668-668c) and its 
implementing regulations. PCW has applied for standard and programmatic 
ETPs for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre (CCSM) Phase I Wind Energy 
Project in Carbon County, Wyoming. The final EIS is now available for 
review.

Public Coordination

    The notice of intent to prepare an EIS for this project was 
published in the Federal Register on December 4, 2013 (78 FR 72926). 
Two public scoping meetings for the USFWS EIS were held, on December 16 
and 17, 2013, in conjunction with Bureau of Land

[[Page 89134]]

Management (BLM) scoping meetings for an environmental assessment (EA) 
of the Phase I CCSM Project. A draft EIS was prepared and a notice of 
availability of the draft EIS was published in the Federal Register on 
April 29, 2016 (81 FR 25688), opening a 60-day comment period. The 
comment period was subsequently reopened for 2 weeks after it was 
discovered that a hyphen replaced an underscore in the public comment 
email address in several outreach materials. The draft EIS provided 
discussion of the potential impacts of the proposed action and an 
analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action. Two public 
comment meetings for the draft EIS were held, on June 6 and 7, 2016.
    The alternatives analyzed in the draft EIS were carried forward for 
full analysis in the final EIS. Agencies, tribes, organizations, and 
interested parties provided comments on the draft EIS via mail, email, 
and public meetings.

Background Information

    A. Migratory Birds and Eagle Protections. Raptors and most other 
birds in the United States are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty 
Act (16 U.S.C. 703-711). The President's Executive Order 13186 directs 
agencies to consider migratory birds in environmental planning by 
avoiding or minimizing to the extent practicable adverse impacts on 
migratory bird resources when conducting agency actions, and by 
ensuring environmental analyses of Federal actions as required by NEPA 
or other established environmental review processes.
    Bald eagles and golden eagles are provided further protection under 
BGEPA, which prohibits anyone without a permit issued by the Secretary 
of the Interior from ``taking'' eagles, including their parts, nests, 
or eggs. An ETP authorizes the take of live eagles and their eggs where 
the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, a human activity 
or project that is otherwise a lawful activity. Regulations governing 
permits for bald and golden eagles can be found in the Code of Federal 
Regulations at 50 CFR 22.26. The Service is in the process of 
finalizing revisions to these regulations. However, because PCW's 
application has already been submitted, it is governed by the existing 
regulations. The proposed new regulations, if finalized, would 
authorize this course of action, i.e., the new regulations would allow 
the Service to issue eagle take permits to PCW under the currently 
applicable regulations.
    ETPs authorize the take of eagles where the take is compatible with 
the preservation of eagles; where it is necessary to protect an 
interest in a particular locality; where it is associated with, but not 
the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity; and where take is 
unavoidable. The Service will issue permits for such take only after an 
applicant has committed to undertake all practicable measures to avoid 
and minimize such take and mitigate anticipated take to the maximum 
extent achievable to be compatible with the preservation of eagles. 
Standard ETPs authorize eagle take in an identifiable timeframe and 
location. Programmatic ETPs authorize eagle take that is recurring and 
not within a specific, identifiable timeframe and/or location. Standard 
and programmatic ETPs may be issued for a period of up to 5 years.
    B. Power Company of Wyoming Application. As proposed by PCW, the 
CCSM Phase I Project will consist of approximately 500 wind turbines, a 
haul road, a quarry to supply materials for road construction, access 
roads, a rail distribution facility, underground and overhead 
electrical and communication lines, laydown areas, operation and 
maintenance facilities, and other supporting infrastructure needed for 
Phase I to become fully operational. PCW has applied for a standard ETP 
for disturbance related to construction of CCSM Phase I wind turbines 
and infrastructure components, and a programmatic ETP for operation of 
the CCSM Phase I Project.
    The applicant has prepared an ECP identifying measures it intends 
to undertake to avoid, minimize, and compensate for potential impacts 
to bald and golden eagles. To help meet requirements of the Migratory 
Bird Treaty Act, the applicant has also prepared a Bird and Bat 
Conservation Strategy (BBCS) containing measures the applicant proposes 
to implement to avoid or minimize impacts of the project on other 
migratory birds. The Service has considered the information presented 
in the ECP and BBCS in our analysis of environmental impacts in the 
final EIS.
    C. The BLM's NEPA Review. The CCSM Phase I Project would be 
situated in an area of alternating sections of private, State, and 
Federal lands that are administered by the BLM. In 2012, the BLM 
completed a final EIS (FEIS) to evaluate whether the project area would 
be acceptable for development of a wind facility in a manner compatible 
with applicable Federal laws. On October 9, 2012, BLM published a 
record of decision (ROD) determining that the portions of the area for 
which PCW seeks right-of-way grants ``are suitable for wind energy 
development and associated facilities.'' As explained in the ROD, the 
BLM's decision does not authorize development of the wind energy 
project; rather, it allows BLM to accept and evaluate future right-of-
way applications subject to the requirements of all future wind energy 
development described therein (ROD at 6-1).
    PCW has since submitted to the BLM site-specific plans of 
development from which the BLM is developing site-specific tiered EAs. 
In 2014, the BLM published a final EA 1, which analyzes major 
components of project infrastructure, including the haul road, rail 
facility, and rock quarry. On March 9, 2016, BLM published EA 2, which 
analyzes the wind turbines and pads, access roads, laydown areas, 
electrical and communication lines, and a construction camp.
    The Service has incorporated by reference information from the BLM 
FEIS, ROD, EA1, and EA2 into our environmental analysis in the final 
EIS in order to avoid redundancy and unnecessary paperwork. Council for 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations authorize incorporation by 
reference (40 CFR 1502.21, CEQ 40 Most Asked Questions #30; see also 43 
CFR 46.135).

Alternatives

    In the final EIS, the Service analyzed the proposed action 
alternative, the proposed action with different mitigation, an 
alternative to issue ETPs for Phase I of Sierra Madre Wind Development 
Area only, and the no-action alternative. The Service identified the 
proposed action as the preferred alternative.
    Alternative 1: Proposed Action. Alternative 1 is for the Service to 
issue ETPs for the construction of the Phase I wind turbines and 
infrastructure components and for the operation of the Phase I CCSM 
project, based on the ETP applications submitted by PCW. The proposed 
action includes avoidance and minimization measures, best management 
practices, and compensatory mitigation described in detail in the EIS 
and in PCW's application and ECP. PCW has proposed to retrofit high-
risk power poles as compensatory mitigation, thereby reducing eagle 
mortality from electrocution.
    Alternative 2: Proposed Action with Different Mitigation. Under 
Alternative 2, the Service would issue ETPs for the construction and 
operation of the Phase I CCSM Project as under Alternative 1, but would 
require PCW to implement a different form of compensatory

[[Page 89135]]

mitigation than proposed in its ETP applications. We are considering 
mitigation of older wind facilities, lead abatement, carcass removal, 
carcass avoidance, wind conservation easements, habitat enhancement 
(focusing on prey habitat), and rehabilitation of injured eagles as 
possible alternative forms of compensatory mitigation.
    Alternative 3: Issue ETPs for Phase I of Sierra Madre Wind 
Development Area Only. The Service received numerous comments during 
the scoping process requesting that we examine a different development 
scenario from that proposed by PCW. However, to issue an ETP, we must 
analyze a specific project and ECP to determine if it meets the 
requirements for an ETP. Alternative 3 represents an example of a 
different development scenario PCW could present in a new application 
if the Service were to determine that the Phase I CCSM Project would 
meet all the criteria for issuing an ETP, but not at the scale 
proposed. Alternative 3 is for the Service to issue ETPs for the 
construction of Phase I infrastructure and the construction and 
operation of wind turbines only in the Sierra Madre Wind Development 
Area (WDA) (298 turbines total). This alternative includes avoidance 
and minimization measures, best management practices, and compensatory 
mitigation described in PCW's application as they apply to the Sierra 
Madre WDA.
    Alternative 4: No Action. Under Alternative 4, the Service would 
deny PCW standard and programmatic ETPs for construction and operation 
of the Phase I CCSM Project. In addition to being a potential outcome 
of the permit review process, analysis of the No Action alternative is 
required by CEQ regulation (40 CFR 1502.14) and provides a baseline 
against which to compare the environmental impacts of the proposed 
action and other reasonable alternatives. ETPs are not required in 
order for PCW to construct and operate the project; therefore, if we 
deny the ETPs, PCW may choose to construct and operate the Phase I CCSM 
Project without ETPs and without adhering to an ECP. Alternative 4 
analyzes both a ``No Build'' scenario and a ``Build Without ETPs'' 
scenario.
    This final EIS further incorporates information received during the 
public comment period for the draft EIS, and finalizes the analyses and 
conclusions in the document.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    Our decision on whether to issue standard and programmatic ETPs to 
PCW triggers compliance with NEPA. NEPA requires the Service to analyze 
the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the CCSM Phase I 
project before we make our decision, and to make our analysis available 
to the public. We have prepared the final EIS to inform the public of 
our proposed permit action, alternatives to that action, the 
environmental impacts of the alternatives, and measures to minimize 
adverse environmental effects.

Public Availability of Submissions

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your correspondence, you 
should be aware that your entire correspondence--including your 
personal identifying information--may be made publicly available at any 
time. While you can ask us to withhold your personal identifying 
information for public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able 
to do so.
    Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the offices 
where the comments are being submitted.

Authorities

    This notice is published in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969; the CEQ's regulations for 
implementing NEPA, 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508; and the Department 
of the Interior's NEPA regulations, 43 CFR part 46.

Stephen A. Smith,
Acting Regional Director, Mountain-Prairie Region.
[FR Doc. 2016-29333 Filed 12-8-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P