Agency Information Collection Activities: OMB Control Number 1018-0022; Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Applications and Reports-Migratory Birds and Eagles, 24732-24737 [2017-11063]

Download as PDF 24732 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact for further information. Elizabeth McDowell, Program Specialist, 540–686–3630. You may contact the Records Management Division for copies of the proposed collection of information at email address: FEMA-Information-CollectionsManagement@dhs.gov. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121–5207 (the Act) is the legal basis for FEMA to provide disaster related assistance and services to individuals who apply for disaster assistance benefits in the event of a federally declared disaster. The Individuals and Households Program (IHP) (the Act at 5174, Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households) provides financial assistance to eligible individuals and households who, as a direct result of a major disaster or emergency have necessary expenses and serious needs. The ‘‘Other Needs Assistance’’ (ONA) provision of IHP provides disaster assistance to address needs other than housing, such as personal property, transportation, etc. The delivery of the ONA provision of IHP is contingent upon the State/Tribe choosing an administrator for the assistance. States/Tribes satisfy the selection of an administrator of ONA by completing the Administrative Option Agreement (FEMA Form 010–0–11), which establishes a plan for the delivery of ONA. This agreement establishes a partnership with FEMA and inscribes the plan for the delivery of disaster assistance. The agreement is used to identify the State/Tribe’s proposed level of support and participation during disaster recovery. In response to Super Storm Sandy (October 2012), Congress added ‘‘child care’’ expenses as a category of ONA through the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 (SRIA), Pub. L. 113–2. Section 1108 of the SRIA amends section 408(e)(1) of the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5174(e)(1)), giving FEMA the specific authority to pay for ‘‘child care’’ expenses as disaster assistance under ONA. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Collection of Information Title: Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program, (IHP). VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 Type of Information Collection: Revision of a currently approved information collection. OMB Number: 1660–0061. Form Titles and Numbers: FEMA Form 010–0–11, Administrative Option Agreement for the Other Needs provision of Individuals and Households Program, (IHP); FEMA Form 010–0–12, Request for Continued Assistance (Application for Continued Temporary Housing Assistance); FEMA Form 010–0–12S (Spanish) Solicitud para Continuar la Asistencia de Vivienda Temporera. Abstract: The Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program (IHP) enhances applicants’ ability to request approval of late applications, request continued assistance, and appeal program decisions. Similarly, it allows States to partner with FEMA for delivery of disaster assistance under the ‘‘Other Needs’’ provision of the IHP through Administrative Option Agreements and Administration Plans addressing the level of managerial and resource support necessary. Affected Public: State, Local or Tribal Government. Number of Respondents: 59,073. Number of Responses: 78,399. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 65,267 hours. Estimated Cost: The estimated annual cost to respondents for the hour burden is $2,043,275.28. There are no annual costs to respondents operations and maintenance costs for technical services. There is no annual start-up or capital costs. The cost to the Federal Government is $213,556.60. Comments Comments may be submitted as indicated in the ADDRESSES caption above. Comments are solicited to (a) evaluate whether the proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: May 19, 2017. Richard Mattison, Records Management Branch Chief, Mission Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2017–11089 Filed 5–26–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–23–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–HQ–MB–2017–N068; FF09M21200– 167–FXMB1231099BPP0] Agency Information Collection Activities: OMB Control Number 1018– 0022; Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Applications and Reports—Migratory Birds and Eagles Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) will ask the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the information collection (IC) described below. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and as part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, we invite the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on this IC. This IC is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2017. We may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. DATES: To ensure that we are able to consider your comments on this IC, we must receive them by July 31, 2017. ADDRESSES: Send your comments and suggestions on this information collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at OMB– OIRA at (202) 395–5806 (fax) or OIRA_ Submission@omb.eop.gov (email). Please provide a copy of your comments to the Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041– 3803 (mail); or info_coll@fws.gov (email). Please include ‘‘1018–0022’’ in the subject line of your comments. You may review the ICR online at http:// www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the Interior collections under review by OMB. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, at info_coll@fws.gov (email) or (703) 358–2503 (telephone). E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES I. Abstract Our Regional Migratory Bird Permit Offices use information that we collect on permit applications to determine the eligibility of applicants for permits requested in accordance with the criteria in various Federal wildlife conservation laws and international treaties, including: (1) Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.). (2) Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.). (3) Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668). Service regulations implementing these statutes and treaties are in chapter I, subchapter B of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These regulations stipulate general and specific requirements that, when met, allow us to issue permits to authorize activities that are otherwise prohibited. All Service permit applications are in the 3–200 series of forms, each tailored to a specific activity based on the requirements for specific types of permits. We collect standard identifier information for all permits. The information that we collect on applications and reports is the minimum necessary for us to determine if the applicant meets/continues to meet issuance requirements for the particular activity. Information collection requirements associated with the Federal fish and wildlife permit applications and reports for migratory birds and eagles are currently approved under two different OMB control numbers, 1018–0022, ‘‘Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Applications and Reports—Migratory Birds and Eagles; 50 CFR 10, 13, 21, 22,’’ and 1018–0167, ‘‘Eagle Take Permits and Fees, 50 CFR 22.’’ In this revision of 1018–0022, we are including all of the information collection requirements associated with both OMB Control Numbers. If OMB approves this revision, we will discontinue OMB Control Number 1018–0167. II. Data OMB Control Number: 1018–0022. Title: Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Applications and Reports— Migratory Birds and Eagles; 50 CFR 10, 13, 21, 22. Service Form Number(s): FWS Forms 3–186; 3–186a, 3–2480, 3–200–6 through 3–200–9; 3–200–10a through 3–200–10f; 3–200–12 through 3–200–14; 3–200–15a, 3–200–15b, 3–200–16, 3–200–18; 3–200–67; 3–200–71; 3–200– 72; 3–200–77 through 3–200–79; 3–200– 81, 3–200–82; 3–202–1 through 3–202– 17. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection. Description of Respondents: Individuals; zoological parks; museums; universities; scientists; taxidermists; businesses; utilities; and Federal, State, tribal, and local governments. Respondent’s Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit. Frequency of Collection: On occasion for applications; annually or on occasion for reports. Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 55,673. Estimated Completion Time per Response: Varies from 15 minutes to 700 hours, depending on activity. Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 124,496. Estimated Annual Non-hour Burden Cost: $2,085,125 (primarily associated with application processing fees). III. Comments On February 24, 2017, we published in the Federal Register (82 FR 11599) a notice of our intent to request that OMB approve this information collection. In that notice, we solicited comments for 60 days, ending on April 25, 2017. We received four comments in response to that Notice: Comment 1 A respondent feels the Service should not issue permits to kill eagles or other birds and wildlife. She also expressed the need to preserve and protect birds and wildlife. FWS Response to Comment 1 The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibit the killing of birds and eagles without a permit and authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish a permitting program. The regulations implementing these acts (50 CFR parts 21 and 22) and the permitting program established under these regulations define the terms under which a permit to kill birds and eagles can be issued. The Service is obligated by these laws and regulations to issue a permit to anyone who shows a need and meets the requirements to receive one. Permits to kill birds and eagles are limited to specific instances such as for property damage, scientific study or protection of human health and safety. The number of birds and eagles authorized to be killed are strictly controlled based on the specific needs of the applicant, the population status of the birds or eagles applied for, and the direct effects any permit issued would have on these birds or eagles. Only after we establish that the killing of the birds or eagles requested will not affect the population PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24733 of those birds will we issue a permit. Through this permitting program, we ensure they are protected and preserved for future generations of Americans to enjoy. Comment 2 The Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) provided the following comments: APLIC Comment 2A Re. ‘‘Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, including whether or not the information will have practical utility . . . .’’ Not only is the collection of information from those applying for the permits is necessary for good governance, it is also vital to the calculation of the burden that each agency uses to inform future regulation implementation. The collection of the information will not have practical utility if the Service does not absorb this information and incorporate it into future estimates. FWS Response to Comment 2A/Action Taken We collect information from the public for a number of purposes. The information on applications is used to determine the identity of the applicant, the ability of the applicant to successfully conduct the requested activity, and whether the applicant meets all the necessary qualifications to conduct such activities. Reports (annual or other) are used to cumulatively assess the effects of the activities on migratory bird populations to ensure that our management is appropriate and that there are no effects that would significantly impact either the populations’ status or jeopardize the continued existence of any particular bird species for use and enjoyment by the American public. Further, not only do we utilize this collected information for management purposes, but we incorporate it into each and every information collection renewal. No action was taken in response to this portion of their comment. APLIC Comment 2B Re. ‘‘The accuracy of the Service’s estimate of the burden for this collection of information . . . .’’ APLIC has gathered data from its membership to help the information collection adequately represent the power line Utility sector. The information in Table 1 is an averaged representative estimate from all types of power line companies, from rural cooperatives to investor-owned utilities. The data have been gathered across all E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1 24734 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Regions and therefore represent many types of avian habitat, multiple flyways, and multiple levels of urban development and rural landscapes. The cost/hour estimate is also averaged across the United States. FWS Response to Comment 2B/Action Taken We gather information from the public on the burden imposed to apply for a permit and report the results of any issued permit. Because of the broad range of applicants, burden estimates vary widely. As such, the estimated reported burden does not represent any particular class of applicant, but is intended to capture an approximation of the burden in a general manner. It is not unusual for a specific type of applicant to report their burden as much higher than that estimated. No action was taken in response to this portion of their comment. Based on our experience administering this collection of information, we believe our estimates of time burden to be accurate for most respondents. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES APLIC Comment 2C Re. ‘‘Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected . . . .’’ The processes through which the Service determines burden hours and cost estimates are not transparent, nor are the costs per hour realistic of the real-world costs for these types of actions. In addition to relying on public comment and aggregating those costs, working with major permit stakeholders (such as the electric utility industry and/or industry groups like APLIC) to solicit data would be helpful. Perhaps a more detailed report out for the multiple permittees would be more representative. FWS Response/Action Taken to Comment 2C/Action Taken Throughout the process of securing renewed approval from the Office of Management and Budget to impose this information collection on the public, we seek input from those affected by the requirement. We use the information provided by the public to calculate and estimate burdens and make every effort to impose only the minimum amount of burden to accomplish the requirements to issue a permit and to assess the permit program’s effectiveness in protecting migratory birds while at the same time assisting the public in conducting activities that affect populations of migratory birds. We welcome and appreciate the input from stakeholders to ensure we are not VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 imposing an unrealistic burden to accomplish the goals of the permitting program and are always available to discuss the program with the public on ways to enhance its effectiveness and eliminate unnecessary burden. We will assess the application and reporting forms continually to ensure we only require information from the public that is absolutely necessary to run an efficient permitting program. Further, where necessary, we will continue to reach out to the affected public to enhance our reporting requirements and burden estimates. APLIC Comment 2D Re. ‘‘Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents . . . .’’ The associated reports for the permits are the elements to which it takes the longest to respond. These reports are necessary in order for the permit program to accurately collect information on biological impacts and baseline levels. There may not be a way around the information collection, but the in-print acknowledgement and adjustment of burden hour estimates and costs would be helpful. FWS Response/Action Taken to Comment 2D/Action Taken We recognize both the need for the reporting data, as well as the imposition of the burden on the public to report the results of their permit. We have begun an effort to modernize both the issuance of permits as well as the reporting. One such effort has been the change from paper reports for Special Purpose Utility permits to an Excel spreadsheet. The next step in the modernization of this report will be transition to an online Access database type of report. This effort should reduce the level of effort required by a permittee to report to us. As we move forward with this modernization effort, all reports will be updated to allow for online reporting, reducing or eliminating the need for a permittee to generate a paper report. For those permittees that do not have the necessary capabilities to access reports in an online manner, paper reports will remain in place for their convenience. We will continue to modernize the permitting program as resources allow, with the goal of reducing the application and reporting burden on the public as much as possible. Comments 3 and 4 Comments received from the Energy and Wildlife Action Coalition (EWAC) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) are essentially the PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 same, so a combined response is provided. EAWC/AWEA Comment 3A, re. Monitoring EWAC Comment: EWAC questions the need and efficacy of extensive postconstruction monitoring for eagle take permits (ETPs), particularly with the additional requirement that monitoring must be conducted by an independent third party consultant. AWEA Comment: AWEA believes that, as it stands, the Information Collection in the Eagle Rule provides limited utility for eagle life-of-facility monitoring. FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/ AWEA Comment 3A, re. Monitoring Monitoring is among the most important and essential elements of the Service’s eagle permitting program. The Service has acknowledged in its responses to comments on the 2016 Eagle Rule and elsewhere (e.g., the Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance (ECPG), the Proposed Eagle Rule, and the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the Eagle Rule) that considerable uncertainty exists in all aspects of the eagle permitting program, particularly with respect to the accuracy of models used to predict the effects of actions like the operation of wind turbines on eagles. The Service has followed DOI policy and designed the eagle permitting program within a formal adaptive management framework, as described in response to other comments, in the preamble to the final rule, and in detail in Appendix A of the ECPG. Monitoring is an essential and fundamental element of adaptive management; it is absolutely necessary to reduce uncertainty and improve confidence in the permitting process; it is also essential to account for and provide credit to permittees who overmitigate for their eagle take in the initial years of wind project operation. No action was taken in response to this comment. EAWC/AWEA Comment 3B, re. Preconstruction Surveys EWAC Comment: Conducting preconstruction surveys on new electric transmission and distribution systems would be infeasible and highly inefficient; moreover, it has no known relationship between preconstruction data and eagle risk. AWEA Comment: According to the requirements in Appendix C of the Eagle Plan Conservation Guidance, permit applicants and permittees are not required to conduct preconstruction surveys. E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/ AWEA 3B, re. Pre-Construction Surveys As noted in the response to comments on the final rule, the Service agrees that preconstruction data needed for electric utilities may differ from that for wind facilities. As we stated in the Service’s comments on the final rule, we will take these differences into account as we develop guidance for eagle incidental take permits associated with electrical infrastructure. No action was taken in response to this comment. EAWC/AWEA Comment 3C, re. Local Area Population EWAC Comment: The applicant cannot plan for compensatory mitigation costs unless and until the Service conducts the LAP analysis, and can then only rely on the results of that analysis without the ability to verify or question it . . . the output of LAP analysis and the delay in learning the results of the LAP analysis creates uncertainty and potentially additional costs that cannot be planned for in advance. And: The Service should not condition the amount of mitigation and NEPA analyses on the Local Area Population (LAP) results, or it should commit to providing LAP analysis early on in the applicant/Service coordination process and use transparent methods and data when doing so. AWEA Comment: The manner in which the Service conducts the LAP analysis leaves project applicants and permittees with insufficient information regarding the allowable take limits and the extent of unauthorized take occurring within the LAP . . . . sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/ AWEA 3C, re. Local Area Population The LAP is determined by extrapolating the average density of eagles in the pertinent Eagle Management Unit (EMU) to the LAP area, which is the project area plus an 86-mile (Bald Eagle) or 104-mile (Golden Eagle) buffer; these distances are based on natal dispersal distances of each eagle species. As an example, consider a 1-year Golden Eagle nest disturbance permit application in western Colorado, which is in Bird Conservation Region (BCR) 6 under the current 2009 EMUs. The activity being undertaken could lead to the loss of 1 year of productivity, which has an expected value of 0.59 Golden Eagles removed from the population (the average 1-year productivity of an occupied Golden Eagle territory in BCR 16 at the 80th quantile, as described in the Status Report). This EMU has an VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 estimated Golden Eagle population size of 3,585 at the 20th quantile, and the BCR covers 199,523 square miles, yielding an average Golden Eagle density of 0.018 Golden Eagles per square mile. The local area around a single point (the nest to be disturbed in this case) is a circle with a radius of 109 miles, which yields an LAP area of 37,330 square miles; thus, the estimated number of Golden Eagles in this LAP would be 671 individuals. The 5 percent LAP take limit for this permit under the current 2009 EMUs would be 34. The Service has developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) application that queries spatial databases on existing eagle take permit limits and known unpermitted take within the LAP area, as well as for any other permitted projects whose LAP intersects and overlaps the LAP of the permit under consideration. If this query indicates existing cumulative permitted (i.e., over all existing permits) take for the LAP area is less than 34, and the unpermitted take database and other information available to the Service does not suggest that background take in the LAP is higher than average, then a permit for the take of 0.59 Golden Eagles could be issued without further analysis of the effects on eagles by tiering off this PEIS. If either condition were not true, the permit would require additional NEPA analysis. In either case, if the permit is issued, it would require compensatory mitigation to offset the authorized take, because the EMU take limit for Golden Eagles is zero. The Service believes the LAP analysis will likely reduce costs for permits. The Service expedites work with project proponents when they approach Service staff to help them understand the potential impacts of their project and related compensatory mitigation ‘‘burden.’’ First, the LAP cumulative effects analysis is a relatively simple exercise that is conducted by the Service, so no additional resources are required from the applicant to conduct the analysis other than what would be required otherwise. Second, in cases where the LAP analysis is conducted as analyzed in the PEIS for the Eagle Rule, further project-specific NEPA analyses of the cumulative effects of the activity on eagles will not be necessary when projected take is within LAP take thresholds, thereby reducing overall costs for prospective permittees. No action was taken in response to this comment. EAWC/AWEA Comment 3D, re. Cost Estimate/Burden EWAC Comment: Considering the increased hourly rates and hour PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24735 estimates, the cost estimates provided in the Hours and Cost Table should be doubled, at a minimum, if revised to reflect actual costs. In sum, the Eagle Take Permit (ETP) application process has a far greater cost burden on the regulated community than reflected in the Hours and Cost Table. (Including NEPA, Compensatory Mitigation, and ETP Application) AWEA Comment: AWEA is concerned that the [burden] numbers are significantly underestimated. FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/ AWEA 3D, re. Cost Estimate/Burden The purpose of establishing such a fee structure is to provide capacity to process permits. OMB Circular No. A– 25 requires Federal agencies to recoup the costs of ‘‘special services’’ that provide benefits to identifiable recipients. Permits are special services that authorize recipients to engage in activities that are otherwise prohibited. Our ability to provide effectively these special services is dependent upon either general appropriations, which are needed for other agency functions, or on user fees. Accordingly, the permit fees associated with eagles permits are intended to cover the costs the Service incurs processing the average permit. As described in the fee section of the 1996 Eagle Rule, the application fee for long-term permits was derived from average costs associated with processing these complex permits. Monitoring and mitigation costs, however, are scaled to the project, and would be expected to be lower for smaller-scale projects. The Service intends to involve the public in developing additional guidance for projects that pose a low risk of eagle take, which may be particularly relevant for small projects. Finally, in response to comments on the proposed Eagle Rule, the final regulation adopted an $8,000 administration fee for long-term permits, rather than the proposed $15,000 fee. Initial permit application processing fees for long-term permits did not change from the current $36,000. If a permittee requests the programmatic permit to exceed 5 years, then there will be an $8,000 review fee every 5 years to recoup the Service’s review costs. With a 5-year maximum permit duration, renewal of a permit would require a $36,000 permit application processing fee, so the $8,000 administration fee reduces costs to small businesses engaged in long-term activities. The Service acknowledges that some service sectors may have costs and hour estimates that differ from those estimated, and some projects may be inherently complex, but we stand by our original estimates, because the E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1 24736 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices reasonable amount of time and expenditures project proponents and their contractors may likely expend for an average ETP. It is not possible for the Service to survey all applicants for information on hourly rates paid for preparation and provision of the information required to make a decision on issuing an ETP and the authorizations in such a permit. Hourly rates for the burden estimate were selected from the average compensation tables published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and include estimates of benefits. No action was taken in response to this comment. EAWC/AWEA Comment 3E, re. Low Risk Permit EWAC Comment: EWAC strongly believes that a low-risk or general permit program for eagles is essential to resolving many of the issues surrounding ETPs. AWEA Comment: AWEA strongly believes the Service should develop a low-risk permitting option. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/ AWEA Comment 3E, re. Low Risk Permit In the Eagle Rule PEIS, the Service programmatically analyzes eagle take within certain levels and the effects of complying with compensatory mitigation requirements to allow the Service to tier from the PEIS when conducting project-level NEPA analyses. The PEIS will cover the analysis of effects to eagles under NEPA if: (1) The project will not take eagles at a rate that exceeds (individually or cumulatively) the take limit of the EMU (unless take is offset); (2) the project does not result in Service authorized take (individually or cumulatively) in excess of 5 percent of the LAP; and (3) the applicant will mitigate using an approach the Service has already analyzed (e.g., power pole retrofitting), or the applicant agrees to use a Service-approved third-party mitigation program such as a mitigation bank or in-lieu fee program to accomplish any required offset for the authorized mortality. The PEIS, therefore, should streamline the NEPA process for these projects. We will consider legal mechanisms for streamlining take authorizations to lowrisk or lower impact activities in the future. EAWC/AWEA Comment 3F, re. ThirdParty Monitoring EWAC Comment: Having a blanket requirement for third-party monitoring for all long-term ETPs is of limited utility and significant cost. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 AWEA Comment: The practical utility of requiring third-party monitoring of all long-term eagle take permits, as required in the Eagle Rule, is simply not justified in light of the excessive burden such monitoring imposes on permittees. FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/ AWEA Comment 3F, re. Third-Party Monitoring The Service received a large number of comments on the proposed Eagle Rule urging us to require third-party monitoring on long-term permits, and we agreed with these commenters. The final regulations require that for all permits with durations longer than 5 years, monitoring must be conducted by qualified independent entities that report directly to the Service. In the case of permits of 5-year duration or shorter, such third-party monitoring may be required on a case-by-case basis. We do not agree that there will be significant additional costs imposed by the requirement for third-party monitoring. Most companies already rely on and pay for consultants to conduct project monitoring, presumably because it is more cost-effective than supporting those activities in-house. No action was taken in response to this comment. EAWC/AWEA Comment 3G, re. Waivers EWAC Comment: Some EWAC members have encountered reluctance from the Service to issue waivers under the Eagle Rule, even where projects have fallen under the listed circumstances when a waiver would be granted. If the Service is unwilling to issue waivers, then as a result many facilities may face delays of several years, the prospect of no permits, additional costs, and/or legal risk. AWEA Comment: AWEA believes there is value in the waivers of Information Collection pursuant to the Eagle Rule. Waivers should be made for operating facilities where the new requirements for preconstruction surveys are no longer attainable. FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/ AWEA Comment 3G, re. Waivers The final Eagle Rule regulations contain provisions that allow applicants to obtain coverage under all of the provisions of the prior regulations if they submit complete applications satisfying all of the requirements of those regulations within 6 months of the effective date of the final rule. However, we note that the Service guidance since 2011 has recommended 2 or more years of preconstruction eagle surveys, so planners of any prospective wind projects or other industry project conceived since then should have been PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 aware of this. The regulations are not retroactive, and we are incorporating a 6-month ‘‘grandfathering’’ period after the effective date of the rule, wherein applicants (persons and entities who have already submitted applications) and project proponents who are in the process of developing permit applications) can choose whether to apply (or re-apply) to be permitted under all the provisions of the 2009 regulations or all the provisions of the final regulations. The Service is developing policy on when waivers may be appropriate, and we will consider these comments along with the many others received on the proposed rule as part of that process. In the meantime, we recommend that project proponents work closely with Service staff to ascertain when waivers may be applicable. When eagle take has already occurred, projects will need to seek a civil settlement with the Service before a waiver, or a permit may be granted. EAWC/AWEA Comment 3H, re. Module for Electric Transmission and Distribution EWAC Comment: The Eagle Rule is strongly focused on the wind energy sector, and, as a result, several aspects of the Eagle Rule are unclear in their application to electric transmission and distribution. The result of this lack of clarity means potential delays, costs, and litigation risks that a non-wind energy applicant must bear. The Service should prioritize the development of guidance for the electric transmission and distribution industry and work collaboratively with the industry to ensure that the guidance is consistent with the practical realities of industry operations. FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/ AWEA Comment 3H, re. Module for Electric Transmission and Distribution At this point, the only such standards were those included in the final Eagle Rule for estimating eagle take at wind facilities. The Service plans to develop standards for other industries in the immediate future, and will seek industry input in the development of those protocols. IV. Request for and Availability of Public Comments We again invite comments concerning this information collection on: • Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, including whether or not the information will have practical utility; E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices • The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of information; • Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents. Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask OMB in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it will be done. are currently scheduled to be complete and filed on June 12, 2017. 5. Vote in Inv. No. 731–TA–287 (Second Review) (Raw-in-Shell Pistachios from Iran). The Commission is currently scheduled to complete and file its determination and views of the Commission by June 26, 2017. 6. Outstanding action jackets: None In accordance with Commission policy, subject matter listed above, not disposed of at the scheduled meeting, may be carried over to the agenda of the following meeting. By order of the Commission. Issued: May 25, 2017. Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission. [FR Doc. 2017–11172 Filed 5–25–17; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 7020–02–P V. Authorities The authorities for this action are the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703, et seq.), Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. 3371, et seq.), Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668), and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Dated: May 24, 2017. Madonna L. Baucum, Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2017–11063 Filed 5–26–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [USITC SE–17–024] Sunshine Act Meeting United States International Trade Commission. TIME AND DATE: June 2, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. PLACE: Room 101, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436. TELEPHONE: (202) 205–2000. STATUS: Open to the public. MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED: 1. Agendas for future meetings: none 2. Minutes 3. Ratification List 4. Vote in Inv. Nos. 701–TA–576–577 and 731–TA–1362–1367 (Preliminary) (Cold-Drawn Mechanical Tubing from China, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, and Switzerland). The Commission is currently scheduled to complete and file its determinations on June 5, 2017; views of the Commission sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES AGENCY HOLDING THE MEETING: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging Proposed Stipulation and Order In accordance with Departmental Policy, 28 CFR 50.7, notice is hereby given that a proposed Stipulation and Order in United States, et al. v. NSTAR Electric Co. d/b/a Eversource Energy, Harbor Electric Energy Co., and Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Civil Action No. 16–11470– RGS, was lodged with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on May 23, 2017. This proposed Stipulation and Order concerns a complaint filed by the United States against Defendants NSTAR Electric Co. d/b/a Eversource Energy, Harbor Electric Energy Co., and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, for violations of Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, 33 U.S.C. 403, and Section 404(s) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1344(s). The complaint seeks injunctive relief from, and civil penalties against, the Defendants for violating a permit issued in 1989 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to the above statutes. The permit allowed a submarine cable to be installed across Boston Harbor, from an electrical substation in South Boston to Deer Island. The complaint alleges that the Defendants are the permittees or successors-in-interest to the permittees. Also, the complaint alleges that, within two federal channels, the Reserved Channel and the Main Ship Channel, the Defendants laid the cable at shallower depths than what the permit required. The proposed Stipulation and PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24737 Order resolves these allegations by requiring the Defendants to lay a new cable from South Boston to Deer Island and then remove, or partly remove and partly abandon, the existing cable. The Department of Justice will accept written comments relating to this proposed Stipulation and Order for thirty (30) days from the date of publication of this Notice. Please address comments to Christine Wichers, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office, One Courthouse Way, Suite 9200, Boston, MA 02210, and refer to United States, et al. v. NSTAR Electric Co. d/b/a Eversource Energy, Harbor Electric Energy Co., and Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, DJ # 90–5–1–1– 20730. The proposed Stipulation and Order may be examined at the Clerk’s Office, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, One Courthouse Way, Suite 2300, Boston, MA 02210. In addition, the proposed Stipulation and Order may be examined electronically at http://www.justice.gov/ enrd/consent-decrees. Cherie L. Rogers, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Defense Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division. [FR Doc. 2017–11032 Filed 5–26–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410–15–P NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION [NARA–2017–044] Records Schedules; Availability and Request for Comments National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). ACTION: Notice of availability of proposed records schedules; request for comments. AGENCY: The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) publishes notice at least once monthly of certain Federal agency requests for records disposition authority (records schedules). Once approved by NARA, records schedules provide mandatory instructions on what happens to records when agencies no longer need them for current Government business. The records schedules authorize agencies to preserve records of continuing value in the National Archives of the United States and to destroy, after a specified period, records lacking administrative, legal, research, or other value. NARA publishes notice in the Federal Register for records schedules in which agencies SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 102 (Tuesday, May 30, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24732-24737]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-11063]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-HQ-MB-2017-N068; FF09M21200-167-FXMB1231099BPP0]


Agency Information Collection Activities: OMB Control Number 
1018-0022; Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Applications and Reports--
Migratory Birds and Eagles

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) will ask the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the information collection (IC) 
described below. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and 
as part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent 
burden, we invite the general public and other Federal agencies to take 
this opportunity to comment on this IC. This IC is scheduled to expire 
on May 31, 2017. We may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not 
required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a 
currently valid OMB control number.

DATES: To ensure that we are able to consider your comments on this IC, 
we must receive them by July 31, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments and suggestions on this information 
collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at 
OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-5806 (fax) or OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov 
(email). Please provide a copy of your comments to the Service 
Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 
(mail); or info_coll@fws.gov (email). Please include ``1018-0022'' in 
the subject line of your comments. You may review the ICR online at 
http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of 
the Interior collections under review by OMB.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Service Information Collection 
Clearance Officer, at info_coll@fws.gov (email) or (703) 358-2503 
(telephone).

[[Page 24733]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Abstract

    Our Regional Migratory Bird Permit Offices use information that we 
collect on permit applications to determine the eligibility of 
applicants for permits requested in accordance with the criteria in 
various Federal wildlife conservation laws and international treaties, 
including:
    (1) Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.).
    (2) Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.).
    (3) Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668).

Service regulations implementing these statutes and treaties are in 
chapter I, subchapter B of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(CFR). These regulations stipulate general and specific requirements 
that, when met, allow us to issue permits to authorize activities that 
are otherwise prohibited.
    All Service permit applications are in the 3-200 series of forms, 
each tailored to a specific activity based on the requirements for 
specific types of permits. We collect standard identifier information 
for all permits. The information that we collect on applications and 
reports is the minimum necessary for us to determine if the applicant 
meets/continues to meet issuance requirements for the particular 
activity.
    Information collection requirements associated with the Federal 
fish and wildlife permit applications and reports for migratory birds 
and eagles are currently approved under two different OMB control 
numbers, 1018-0022, ``Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Applications and 
Reports--Migratory Birds and Eagles; 50 CFR 10, 13, 21, 22,'' and 1018-
0167, ``Eagle Take Permits and Fees, 50 CFR 22.'' In this revision of 
1018-0022, we are including all of the information collection 
requirements associated with both OMB Control Numbers. If OMB approves 
this revision, we will discontinue OMB Control Number 1018-0167.

II. Data

    OMB Control Number: 1018-0022.
    Title: Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Applications and Reports--
Migratory Birds and Eagles; 50 CFR 10, 13, 21, 22.
    Service Form Number(s): FWS Forms 3-186; 3-186a, 3-2480, 3-200-6 
through 3-200-9; 3-200-10a through 3-200-10f; 3-200-12 through 3-200-
14; 3-200-15a, 3-200-15b, 3-200-16, 3-200-18; 3-200-67; 3-200-71; 3-
200-72; 3-200-77 through 3-200-79; 3-200-81, 3-200-82; 3-202-1 through 
3-202-17.
    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Description of Respondents: Individuals; zoological parks; museums; 
universities; scientists; taxidermists; businesses; utilities; and 
Federal, State, tribal, and local governments.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.
    Frequency of Collection: On occasion for applications; annually or 
on occasion for reports.
    Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 55,673.
    Estimated Completion Time per Response: Varies from 15 minutes to 
700 hours, depending on activity.
    Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 124,496.
    Estimated Annual Non-hour Burden Cost: $2,085,125 (primarily 
associated with application processing fees).

III. Comments

    On February 24, 2017, we published in the Federal Register (82 FR 
11599) a notice of our intent to request that OMB approve this 
information collection. In that notice, we solicited comments for 60 
days, ending on April 25, 2017. We received four comments in response 
to that Notice:

Comment 1

    A respondent feels the Service should not issue permits to kill 
eagles or other birds and wildlife. She also expressed the need to 
preserve and protect birds and wildlife.

FWS Response to Comment 1

    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle 
Protection Act prohibit the killing of birds and eagles without a 
permit and authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish a 
permitting program. The regulations implementing these acts (50 CFR 
parts 21 and 22) and the permitting program established under these 
regulations define the terms under which a permit to kill birds and 
eagles can be issued. The Service is obligated by these laws and 
regulations to issue a permit to anyone who shows a need and meets the 
requirements to receive one. Permits to kill birds and eagles are 
limited to specific instances such as for property damage, scientific 
study or protection of human health and safety. The number of birds and 
eagles authorized to be killed are strictly controlled based on the 
specific needs of the applicant, the population status of the birds or 
eagles applied for, and the direct effects any permit issued would have 
on these birds or eagles. Only after we establish that the killing of 
the birds or eagles requested will not affect the population of those 
birds will we issue a permit. Through this permitting program, we 
ensure they are protected and preserved for future generations of 
Americans to enjoy.

Comment 2

    The Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) provided the 
following comments:
APLIC Comment 2A
    Re. ``Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility . 
. . .''
    Not only is the collection of information from those applying for 
the permits is necessary for good governance, it is also vital to the 
calculation of the burden that each agency uses to inform future 
regulation implementation. The collection of the information will not 
have practical utility if the Service does not absorb this information 
and incorporate it into future estimates.
FWS Response to Comment 2A/Action Taken
    We collect information from the public for a number of purposes. 
The information on applications is used to determine the identity of 
the applicant, the ability of the applicant to successfully conduct the 
requested activity, and whether the applicant meets all the necessary 
qualifications to conduct such activities. Reports (annual or other) 
are used to cumulatively assess the effects of the activities on 
migratory bird populations to ensure that our management is appropriate 
and that there are no effects that would significantly impact either 
the populations' status or jeopardize the continued existence of any 
particular bird species for use and enjoyment by the American public. 
Further, not only do we utilize this collected information for 
management purposes, but we incorporate it into each and every 
information collection renewal. No action was taken in response to this 
portion of their comment.
APLIC Comment 2B
    Re. ``The accuracy of the Service's estimate of the burden for this 
collection of information . . . .''
    APLIC has gathered data from its membership to help the information 
collection adequately represent the power line Utility sector. The 
information in Table 1 is an averaged representative estimate from all 
types of power line companies, from rural cooperatives to investor-
owned utilities. The data have been gathered across all

[[Page 24734]]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Regions and therefore 
represent many types of avian habitat, multiple flyways, and multiple 
levels of urban development and rural landscapes. The cost/hour 
estimate is also averaged across the United States.
FWS Response to Comment 2B/Action Taken
    We gather information from the public on the burden imposed to 
apply for a permit and report the results of any issued permit. Because 
of the broad range of applicants, burden estimates vary widely. As 
such, the estimated reported burden does not represent any particular 
class of applicant, but is intended to capture an approximation of the 
burden in a general manner. It is not unusual for a specific type of 
applicant to report their burden as much higher than that estimated. No 
action was taken in response to this portion of their comment. Based on 
our experience administering this collection of information, we believe 
our estimates of time burden to be accurate for most respondents.
APLIC Comment 2C
    Re. ``Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected . . . .''
    The processes through which the Service determines burden hours and 
cost estimates are not transparent, nor are the costs per hour 
realistic of the real-world costs for these types of actions. In 
addition to relying on public comment and aggregating those costs, 
working with major permit stakeholders (such as the electric utility 
industry and/or industry groups like APLIC) to solicit data would be 
helpful. Perhaps a more detailed report out for the multiple permittees 
would be more representative.
FWS Response/Action Taken to Comment 2C/Action Taken
    Throughout the process of securing renewed approval from the Office 
of Management and Budget to impose this information collection on the 
public, we seek input from those affected by the requirement. We use 
the information provided by the public to calculate and estimate 
burdens and make every effort to impose only the minimum amount of 
burden to accomplish the requirements to issue a permit and to assess 
the permit program's effectiveness in protecting migratory birds while 
at the same time assisting the public in conducting activities that 
affect populations of migratory birds. We welcome and appreciate the 
input from stakeholders to ensure we are not imposing an unrealistic 
burden to accomplish the goals of the permitting program and are always 
available to discuss the program with the public on ways to enhance its 
effectiveness and eliminate unnecessary burden. We will assess the 
application and reporting forms continually to ensure we only require 
information from the public that is absolutely necessary to run an 
efficient permitting program. Further, where necessary, we will 
continue to reach out to the affected public to enhance our reporting 
requirements and burden estimates.
APLIC Comment 2D
    Re. ``Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information 
on respondents . . . .''
    The associated reports for the permits are the elements to which it 
takes the longest to respond. These reports are necessary in order for 
the permit program to accurately collect information on biological 
impacts and baseline levels. There may not be a way around the 
information collection, but the in-print acknowledgement and adjustment 
of burden hour estimates and costs would be helpful.
FWS Response/Action Taken to Comment 2D/Action Taken
    We recognize both the need for the reporting data, as well as the 
imposition of the burden on the public to report the results of their 
permit. We have begun an effort to modernize both the issuance of 
permits as well as the reporting. One such effort has been the change 
from paper reports for Special Purpose Utility permits to an Excel 
spreadsheet. The next step in the modernization of this report will be 
transition to an online Access database type of report. This effort 
should reduce the level of effort required by a permittee to report to 
us. As we move forward with this modernization effort, all reports will 
be updated to allow for online reporting, reducing or eliminating the 
need for a permittee to generate a paper report. For those permittees 
that do not have the necessary capabilities to access reports in an 
online manner, paper reports will remain in place for their 
convenience. We will continue to modernize the permitting program as 
resources allow, with the goal of reducing the application and 
reporting burden on the public as much as possible.

Comments 3 and 4

    Comments received from the Energy and Wildlife Action Coalition 
(EWAC) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) are essentially 
the same, so a combined response is provided.
EAWC/AWEA Comment 3A, re. Monitoring
    EWAC Comment: EWAC questions the need and efficacy of extensive 
postconstruction monitoring for eagle take permits (ETPs), particularly 
with the additional requirement that monitoring must be conducted by an 
independent third party consultant.
    AWEA Comment: AWEA believes that, as it stands, the Information 
Collection in the Eagle Rule provides limited utility for eagle life-
of-facility monitoring.
FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/AWEA Comment 3A, re. Monitoring
    Monitoring is among the most important and essential elements of 
the Service's eagle permitting program. The Service has acknowledged in 
its responses to comments on the 2016 Eagle Rule and elsewhere (e.g., 
the Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance (ECPG), the Proposed Eagle Rule, 
and the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the 
Eagle Rule) that considerable uncertainty exists in all aspects of the 
eagle permitting program, particularly with respect to the accuracy of 
models used to predict the effects of actions like the operation of 
wind turbines on eagles. The Service has followed DOI policy and 
designed the eagle permitting program within a formal adaptive 
management framework, as described in response to other comments, in 
the preamble to the final rule, and in detail in Appendix A of the 
ECPG. Monitoring is an essential and fundamental element of adaptive 
management; it is absolutely necessary to reduce uncertainty and 
improve confidence in the permitting process; it is also essential to 
account for and provide credit to permittees who over-mitigate for 
their eagle take in the initial years of wind project operation. No 
action was taken in response to this comment.
EAWC/AWEA Comment 3B, re. Preconstruction Surveys
    EWAC Comment: Conducting preconstruction surveys on new electric 
transmission and distribution systems would be infeasible and highly 
inefficient; moreover, it has no known relationship between 
preconstruction data and eagle risk.
    AWEA Comment: According to the requirements in Appendix C of the 
Eagle Plan Conservation Guidance, permit applicants and permittees are 
not required to conduct preconstruction surveys.

[[Page 24735]]

FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/AWEA 3B, re. Pre-Construction Surveys
    As noted in the response to comments on the final rule, the Service 
agrees that preconstruction data needed for electric utilities may 
differ from that for wind facilities. As we stated in the Service's 
comments on the final rule, we will take these differences into account 
as we develop guidance for eagle incidental take permits associated 
with electrical infrastructure. No action was taken in response to this 
comment.
EAWC/AWEA Comment 3C, re. Local Area Population
    EWAC Comment: The applicant cannot plan for compensatory mitigation 
costs unless and until the Service conducts the LAP analysis, and can 
then only rely on the results of that analysis without the ability to 
verify or question it . . . the output of LAP analysis and the delay in 
learning the results of the LAP analysis creates uncertainty and 
potentially additional costs that cannot be planned for in advance.
    And: The Service should not condition the amount of mitigation and 
NEPA analyses on the Local Area Population (LAP) results, or it should 
commit to providing LAP analysis early on in the applicant/Service 
coordination process and use transparent methods and data when doing 
so.
    AWEA Comment: The manner in which the Service conducts the LAP 
analysis leaves project applicants and permittees with insufficient 
information regarding the allowable take limits and the extent of 
unauthorized take occurring within the LAP . . . .
FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/AWEA 3C, re. Local Area Population
    The LAP is determined by extrapolating the average density of 
eagles in the pertinent Eagle Management Unit (EMU) to the LAP area, 
which is the project area plus an 86-mile (Bald Eagle) or 104-mile 
(Golden Eagle) buffer; these distances are based on natal dispersal 
distances of each eagle species. As an example, consider a 1-year 
Golden Eagle nest disturbance permit application in western Colorado, 
which is in Bird Conservation Region (BCR) 6 under the current 2009 
EMUs. The activity being undertaken could lead to the loss of 1 year of 
productivity, which has an expected value of 0.59 Golden Eagles removed 
from the population (the average 1-year productivity of an occupied 
Golden Eagle territory in BCR 16 at the 80th quantile, as described in 
the Status Report). This EMU has an estimated Golden Eagle population 
size of 3,585 at the 20th quantile, and the BCR covers 199,523 square 
miles, yielding an average Golden Eagle density of 0.018 Golden Eagles 
per square mile. The local area around a single point (the nest to be 
disturbed in this case) is a circle with a radius of 109 miles, which 
yields an LAP area of 37,330 square miles; thus, the estimated number 
of Golden Eagles in this LAP would be 671 individuals. The 5 percent 
LAP take limit for this permit under the current 2009 EMUs would be 34. 
The Service has developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) 
application that queries spatial databases on existing eagle take 
permit limits and known unpermitted take within the LAP area, as well 
as for any other permitted projects whose LAP intersects and overlaps 
the LAP of the permit under consideration. If this query indicates 
existing cumulative permitted (i.e., over all existing permits) take 
for the LAP area is less than 34, and the unpermitted take database and 
other information available to the Service does not suggest that 
background take in the LAP is higher than average, then a permit for 
the take of 0.59 Golden Eagles could be issued without further analysis 
of the effects on eagles by tiering off this PEIS. If either condition 
were not true, the permit would require additional NEPA analysis. In 
either case, if the permit is issued, it would require compensatory 
mitigation to offset the authorized take, because the EMU take limit 
for Golden Eagles is zero.
    The Service believes the LAP analysis will likely reduce costs for 
permits. The Service expedites work with project proponents when they 
approach Service staff to help them understand the potential impacts of 
their project and related compensatory mitigation ``burden.'' First, 
the LAP cumulative effects analysis is a relatively simple exercise 
that is conducted by the Service, so no additional resources are 
required from the applicant to conduct the analysis other than what 
would be required otherwise. Second, in cases where the LAP analysis is 
conducted as analyzed in the PEIS for the Eagle Rule, further project-
specific NEPA analyses of the cumulative effects of the activity on 
eagles will not be necessary when projected take is within LAP take 
thresholds, thereby reducing overall costs for prospective permittees. 
No action was taken in response to this comment.
EAWC/AWEA Comment 3D, re. Cost Estimate/Burden
    EWAC Comment: Considering the increased hourly rates and hour 
estimates, the cost estimates provided in the Hours and Cost Table 
should be doubled, at a minimum, if revised to reflect actual costs. In 
sum, the Eagle Take Permit (ETP) application process has a far greater 
cost burden on the regulated community than reflected in the Hours and 
Cost Table. (Including NEPA, Compensatory Mitigation, and ETP 
Application)
    AWEA Comment: AWEA is concerned that the [burden] numbers are 
significantly underestimated.
FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/AWEA 3D, re. Cost Estimate/Burden
    The purpose of establishing such a fee structure is to provide 
capacity to process permits. OMB Circular No. A-25 requires Federal 
agencies to recoup the costs of ``special services'' that provide 
benefits to identifiable recipients. Permits are special services that 
authorize recipients to engage in activities that are otherwise 
prohibited. Our ability to provide effectively these special services 
is dependent upon either general appropriations, which are needed for 
other agency functions, or on user fees. Accordingly, the permit fees 
associated with eagles permits are intended to cover the costs the 
Service incurs processing the average permit.
    As described in the fee section of the 1996 Eagle Rule, the 
application fee for long-term permits was derived from average costs 
associated with processing these complex permits. Monitoring and 
mitigation costs, however, are scaled to the project, and would be 
expected to be lower for smaller-scale projects. The Service intends to 
involve the public in developing additional guidance for projects that 
pose a low risk of eagle take, which may be particularly relevant for 
small projects. Finally, in response to comments on the proposed Eagle 
Rule, the final regulation adopted an $8,000 administration fee for 
long-term permits, rather than the proposed $15,000 fee. Initial permit 
application processing fees for long-term permits did not change from 
the current $36,000. If a permittee requests the programmatic permit to 
exceed 5 years, then there will be an $8,000 review fee every 5 years 
to recoup the Service's review costs. With a 5-year maximum permit 
duration, renewal of a permit would require a $36,000 permit 
application processing fee, so the $8,000 administration fee reduces 
costs to small businesses engaged in long-term activities. The Service 
acknowledges that some service sectors may have costs and hour 
estimates that differ from those estimated, and some projects may be 
inherently complex, but we stand by our original estimates, because the

[[Page 24736]]

reasonable amount of time and expenditures project proponents and their 
contractors may likely expend for an average ETP.
    It is not possible for the Service to survey all applicants for 
information on hourly rates paid for preparation and provision of the 
information required to make a decision on issuing an ETP and the 
authorizations in such a permit. Hourly rates for the burden estimate 
were selected from the average compensation tables published by the 
Bureau of Labor Statistics and include estimates of benefits. No action 
was taken in response to this comment.
EAWC/AWEA Comment 3E, re. Low Risk Permit
    EWAC Comment: EWAC strongly believes that a low-risk or general 
permit program for eagles is essential to resolving many of the issues 
surrounding ETPs.
    AWEA Comment: AWEA strongly believes the Service should develop a 
low-risk permitting option.
FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/AWEA Comment 3E, re. Low Risk Permit
    In the Eagle Rule PEIS, the Service programmatically analyzes eagle 
take within certain levels and the effects of complying with 
compensatory mitigation requirements to allow the Service to tier from 
the PEIS when conducting project-level NEPA analyses. The PEIS will 
cover the analysis of effects to eagles under NEPA if: (1) The project 
will not take eagles at a rate that exceeds (individually or 
cumulatively) the take limit of the EMU (unless take is offset); (2) 
the project does not result in Service authorized take (individually or 
cumulatively) in excess of 5 percent of the LAP; and (3) the applicant 
will mitigate using an approach the Service has already analyzed (e.g., 
power pole retrofitting), or the applicant agrees to use a Service-
approved third-party mitigation program such as a mitigation bank or 
in-lieu fee program to accomplish any required offset for the 
authorized mortality. The PEIS, therefore, should streamline the NEPA 
process for these projects. We will consider legal mechanisms for 
streamlining take authorizations to low-risk or lower impact activities 
in the future.
EAWC/AWEA Comment 3F, re. Third-Party Monitoring
    EWAC Comment: Having a blanket requirement for third-party 
monitoring for all long-term ETPs is of limited utility and significant 
cost.
    AWEA Comment: The practical utility of requiring third-party 
monitoring of all long-term eagle take permits, as required in the 
Eagle Rule, is simply not justified in light of the excessive burden 
such monitoring imposes on permittees.
FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/AWEA Comment 3F, re. Third-Party 
Monitoring
    The Service received a large number of comments on the proposed 
Eagle Rule urging us to require third-party monitoring on long-term 
permits, and we agreed with these commenters. The final regulations 
require that for all permits with durations longer than 5 years, 
monitoring must be conducted by qualified independent entities that 
report directly to the Service. In the case of permits of 5-year 
duration or shorter, such third-party monitoring may be required on a 
case-by-case basis. We do not agree that there will be significant 
additional costs imposed by the requirement for third-party monitoring. 
Most companies already rely on and pay for consultants to conduct 
project monitoring, presumably because it is more cost-effective than 
supporting those activities in-house. No action was taken in response 
to this comment.
EAWC/AWEA Comment 3G, re. Waivers
    EWAC Comment: Some EWAC members have encountered reluctance from 
the Service to issue waivers under the Eagle Rule, even where projects 
have fallen under the listed circumstances when a waiver would be 
granted. If the Service is unwilling to issue waivers, then as a result 
many facilities may face delays of several years, the prospect of no 
permits, additional costs, and/or legal risk.
    AWEA Comment: AWEA believes there is value in the waivers of 
Information Collection pursuant to the Eagle Rule. Waivers should be 
made for operating facilities where the new requirements for 
preconstruction surveys are no longer attainable.
FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/AWEA Comment 3G, re. Waivers
    The final Eagle Rule regulations contain provisions that allow 
applicants to obtain coverage under all of the provisions of the prior 
regulations if they submit complete applications satisfying all of the 
requirements of those regulations within 6 months of the effective date 
of the final rule. However, we note that the Service guidance since 
2011 has recommended 2 or more years of preconstruction eagle surveys, 
so planners of any prospective wind projects or other industry project 
conceived since then should have been aware of this. The regulations 
are not retroactive, and we are incorporating a 6-month 
``grandfathering'' period after the effective date of the rule, wherein 
applicants (persons and entities who have already submitted 
applications) and project proponents who are in the process of 
developing permit applications) can choose whether to apply (or re-
apply) to be permitted under all the provisions of the 2009 regulations 
or all the provisions of the final regulations.
    The Service is developing policy on when waivers may be 
appropriate, and we will consider these comments along with the many 
others received on the proposed rule as part of that process. In the 
meantime, we recommend that project proponents work closely with 
Service staff to ascertain when waivers may be applicable. When eagle 
take has already occurred, projects will need to seek a civil 
settlement with the Service before a waiver, or a permit may be 
granted.
EAWC/AWEA Comment 3H, re. Module for Electric Transmission and 
Distribution
    EWAC Comment: The Eagle Rule is strongly focused on the wind energy 
sector, and, as a result, several aspects of the Eagle Rule are unclear 
in their application to electric transmission and distribution. The 
result of this lack of clarity means potential delays, costs, and 
litigation risks that a non-wind energy applicant must bear. The 
Service should prioritize the development of guidance for the electric 
transmission and distribution industry and work collaboratively with 
the industry to ensure that the guidance is consistent with the 
practical realities of industry operations.
FWS Response/Action Taken to EAWC/AWEA Comment 3H, re. Module for 
Electric Transmission and Distribution
    At this point, the only such standards were those included in the 
final Eagle Rule for estimating eagle take at wind facilities. The 
Service plans to develop standards for other industries in the 
immediate future, and will seek industry input in the development of 
those protocols.

IV. Request for and Availability of Public Comments

    We again invite comments concerning this information collection on:
     Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;

[[Page 24737]]

     The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this 
collection of information;
     Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents.
    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of 
public record. Before including your address, phone number, email 
address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you 
should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal 
identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. 
While you can ask OMB in your comment to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it 
will be done.

V. Authorities

    The authorities for this action are the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
(16 U.S.C. 703, et seq.), Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. 3371, et seq.), Bald and 
Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668), and the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    Dated: May 24, 2017.
Madonna L. Baucum,
Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-11063 Filed 5-26-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P