Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for Midwestern Bat and Bird Species; MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa, 44652-44654 [2018-18989]

Download as PDF 44652 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 170 / Friday, August 31, 2018 / Notices The Federal Register notice that solicited public comment on the information collection for a period of 60 days was published on May 22, 2018 at 83 FR 23719. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES A. Overview of Information Collection Title of Information Collection: Survey to Assess Operational and Capacity Status of Housing Counseling Agencies after a Disaster. OMB Approved Number: 2502–0615. Type of Request: Reinstatement without change of a previously approved collection. Form Number: None. Description of the need for the information and proposed use: This Disaster Survey collects post-disaster information needed for the Office of Housing Counseling to determine the ability of the housing counseling agencies to perform their required functions during the disaster recovery period. Responses are required from HUD participating housing counseling agencies for HUD to assess the operating and capacity status of HUD participating housing counseling agencies in the aftermath of major disasters. The information collected will help HUD to identify and provide recovery support and assistance to HUD participating housing counseling agencies and their clients. Response is mandatory. Respondents (i.e. affected public): Not-for-profit institutions, State, Local or Tribal Government. Estimated Number of Respondents: 100.00. Estimated Number of Responses: 200.00. Frequency of Response: 200.00. Average Hours per Response: 0.50. Total Estimated Burdens: 100.00. 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; (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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Aug 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 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: August 22, 2018. Inez C. Downs, Department Reports Management Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. 2018–19001 Filed 8–30–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2018–0037; FXES11130300000–189–FF03E00000] Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for Midwestern Bat and Bird Species; MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: In accordance with the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) in support of an application from MidAmerican Energy Company (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) for the federally endangered Indiana bat, federally threatened northern long-eared bat, and federally protected bald eagle; also included in the permit would be the little brown bat and tricolored bat. The take is expected to result from operation of wind turbines in 22 counties in Iowa. Also available for review is the Service’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which was prepared in response to the application. We are seeking public comments on the draft HCP and DEIS. DATES: Submitting Comments: We will accept hardcopy comments received or postmarked on or before October 1, 2018. Comments submitted online at https://www.regulations.gov/ (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on October 15, 2018. Public Involvement: The Service will announce future meetings and any other public involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through public notices, media releases, mailings, and/or online postings at https://www.fws.gov/ SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 midwest/rockisland/te/MidAmerican HCP.html. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents for Review: The documents this notice announces, as well as any comments and other materials that we receive, will be available for public inspection online in Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2018–0037 at https://www.regulations.gov. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Online: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R3–ES– 2018–0037. • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2018–0037; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041– 3803. We will post all comments on https:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post online any personal information that you provide (see Public Availability of Comments under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION). We request that you send comments by only the methods described above. Reviewing EPA comments on the draft HCP and DEIS: See EPA’s Role in the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amber Schorg or Kraig McPeek, by phone at 309–757–5800. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service has received an incidental take permit (ITP) application from the MidAmerican Energy Company in accordance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The applicant has prepared a draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) in support of the ITP application and is seeking authorization for take of the federally endangered Indiana bat, federally threatened northern long-eared bat, and federally protected bald eagle, in addition to the little brown bat and tricolored bat. Little brown bat and tricolored bat are not federally protected, but they are currently being evaluated for protection under ESA. The applicant has chosen to include these as covered species, and they will be treated as if they were ESA listed. The ITP, if issued, would authorize incidental take of these species that may occur as a result of the operation of wind facilities in 22 Iowa counties over a 30-year permit term. The draft HCP describes how impacts to the covered species will be minimized and mitigated. The draft HCP also describes the covered species’ life history and ecology, biological goals E:\FR\FM\31AUN1.SGM 31AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 170 / Friday, August 31, 2018 / Notices and objectives, the estimated take and its potential impact on covered species’ populations, adaptive management and monitoring, and mitigation measures. The Service has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) in response to the ITP application in accordance with requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). We are making the draft HCP and the DEIS available for public review and comment. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Background Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit the ‘‘take’’ of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under the ESA as to ‘‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed animal species, or to attempt to engage in such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1538). Under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. Incidental take is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing incidental take permits to non-Federal entities for the incidental take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met: (a) The taking will be incidental; (b) the applicant will minimize and mitigate, to the maximum extent practicable, the impact of such taking; (c) the applicant will develop an HCP and ensure that adequate funding for the plan will be provided; (d) the taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and (e) the applicant will carry out any other measures that the Secretary of the Interior may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. An applicant may choose to cover nonlisted species in the HCP, and these species will be treated as ESA-listed species. Proposed Action We propose to issue a 30-year permit for incidental take of the Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, bald eagle, little brown bat, and tricolored bat if the MidAmerican HCP meets all the section 10(a)(1)(B) permit issuance criteria. The permit would authorize the take of these species incidental to the applicant’s operation of wind projects. Applicant’s Project MidAmerican Energy currently operates 22 Projects in Iowa, consisting VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Aug 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 of 2,021 turbines that vary by type and project. Detailed descriptions of the projects are found in section 2.0 of the HCP. All projects and turbines are within the range of the northern longeared bat, little brown bat, tricolored bat, and eagle. Four projects have turbines within Indiana bat range (375 turbines). MidAmerican has developed a conservation program to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for impacts to covered species. Bald eagle-specific avoidance and minimization measures will include carrion removal in the vicinity of projects and livestock operator outreach. Reductions in scavenging opportunities are expected to reduce eagle use near wind projects. Bat-specific minimization measures were informed by extensive species presence-absence surveys, migration telemetry studies, and mortality monitoring. Minimization measures will include blade feathering below manufacturer’s cut-in speed at all projects from March 15 through November 15 from sunset to sunrise. Additionally, 4 projects (265 turbines) that are expected to have the highest risk to covered bat species and all bats will be feathered below 5.0 meters per second (m/s) July 15 through September 30 from sunset to sunrise when temperatures are below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Blade feathering consists of turning turbine blades parallel to the prevailing wind direction to reduce rotation of the turbine rotors, which in turn reduces the likelihood of bat-turbine collisions. MidAmerican will conduct an annual monitoring program at each project throughout the life of the permit to confirm take permit compliance. MidAmerican has committed to fully offsetting the impacts of the taking for all covered bat species through habitat restoration, preservation, and enhancement, as well as restoration and preservation of at-risk occupied artificial roost structures. Measures to offset the impacts to taking of bald eagles will include funding local or regional eagle rehabilitation, a toxic substance education and abatement program, and protection of key eagle nesting or foraging habitat. National Environmental Policy Act In compliance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service has prepared a DEIS, in which we analyze the proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action. Seven alternatives are analyzed in the DEIS. • No-action alternative: No permit would be issued, and no HCP would be implemented. PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 44653 • Alternative A: 5.0 m/s cut-in speed across all turbines for the entire bat active season. • Alternative B: 5.0 m/s cut-in speed during fall bat migration at all turbines and at turbines within 1,000 ft of suitable habitat for Indiana and northern long-eared bats during the entire bat active season. • Alternative C: 5.0 m/s cut-in speed during fall bat migration. • Alternative D: Manufacturer’s cut-in speed for the entire bat active season. • The applicant’s HCP alternative. • Participation in the Midwest Wind MSHCP alternative. The environmental consequences of each alternative were analyzed to determine if significant environmental impacts would occur. EPA’s Role in the EIS Process The EPA is charged with reviewing all Federal agencies’ EISs and commenting on the adequacy and acceptability of the environmental impacts of proposed actions in EISs. Therefore, EPA is publishing a notice in the Federal Register announcing this DEIS, as required under section 309 of the Clean Air Act. The publication date of EPA’s notice of availability is the official beginning of the public comment period. EPA’s notices are published on Fridays. EPA serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared by Federal agencies. All EISs must be filed with EPA, which publishes a notice of availability on Fridays in the Federal Register. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https://cdxnodengn. epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/ search. Public Availability of Comments We will post on https://regulations.gov all public comments and information received electronically or via hardcopy. Written comments we receive become part of the administrative record associated with this action. 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 request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be E:\FR\FM\31AUN1.SGM 31AUN1 44654 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 170 / Friday, August 31, 2018 / Notices made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Authority We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22) and the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6; 43 CFR part 46). Charles M. Wooley, Acting Regional Director, Midwest Region. [FR Doc. 2018–18989 Filed 8–30–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCO956000 L14400000.BJ0000 18X] Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey, Colorado Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of official filing. AGENCY: The plats of survey of the following described lands are scheduled to be officially filed in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Colorado State Office, Lakewood, Colorado, 30 calendar days from the date of this publication. The surveys, which were executed at the request of the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM, are necessary for the management of these lands. DATES: Unless there are protests of this action, the plats described in this notice will be filed on October 1, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit written protests to the BLM Colorado State Office, Cadastral Survey, 2850 Youngfield Street, Lakewood, CO 80215–7093. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Randy Bloom, Chief Cadastral Surveyor for Colorado, (303) 239–3856; rbloom@ blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service at 1– 800–877–8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The Service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The plat and field notes of the dependent resurvey in Township 14 South, Range 99 West, Sixth Principal Meridian, Colorado, were accepted on July 5, 2018. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Aug 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 The plat, in 4 sheets, incorporating the field notes of the dependent resurvey in Township 2 South, Range 73 West, Sixth Principal Meridian, Colorado, was accepted on July 9, 2018. The plat, in 2 sheets, incorporating the field notes of the dependent resurvey and subdivision of section 23 in Township 41 North, Range 2 East, New Mexico Principal Meridian, Colorado, was accepted on July 23, 2018. The plat, in 2 sheets, incorporating the field notes of the dependent resurvey and subdivision of section 27 in Township 4 South, Range 72 West, Sixth Principal Meridian, Colorado, was accepted on August 9, 2018. A person or party who wishes to protest any of the above surveys must file a written notice of protest within 30 calendar days from the date of this publication at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. A statement of reasons for the protest may be filed with the notice of protest and must be filed within 30 calendar days after the protest is filed. If a protest against the survey is received prior to the date of official filing, the filing will be stayed pending consideration of the protest. A plat will not be officially filed until the day after all protests have been dismissed or otherwise resolved. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your protest, please be aware that your entire protest, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority: 43 U.S.C. Chap. 3. Randy A. Bloom, Chief Cadastral Surveyor. [FR Doc. 2018–18991 Filed 8–30–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–JB–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNVC01000.L19200000.ET0000; LRORF1709600; MO# 4500124053] Public Land Order No. 7873; Withdrawal of Public Land for Land Management Evaluation Purposes; Nevada Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Public Land Order. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 This order withdraws 694,838.84 acres of public land in Churchill, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, and Pershing Counties, Nevada from all forms of appropriation under the public land laws, including location and entry under the United States mining laws, and leasing under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws, subject to valid existing rights, for four years for land management evaluation purposes. In addition, 68,809.44 acres of Federal land in the Dixie Valley area (Churchill County, Nevada) are withdrawn from leasing under the mineral leasing laws. Including the 8,722.47 acres of Department of the Navy (DON) lands, the total Federal land withdrawn by this Public Land Order is 772,370.75 acres. Non-Federal lands totaling 66,160.53 acres are described within the withdrawal area. Any current or future Federal estate interest in these nonFederal lands are subject to this withdrawal. DATES: This Public Land Order takes effect on August 31, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colleen Dingman, BLM, Carson City District Office, 775–885–6168; address: 5665 Morgan Mill Rd., Carson City, NV 89701; email: cjdingman@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800– 877–8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This withdrawal keeps the lands identified below from the specified forms of appropriation in order to maintain the current environmental baseline, relative to mineral exploration and development for land management evaluation, subject to valid existing rights, to allow the DON time to complete its environmental evaluations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The DON’s environmental evaluations and NEPA analysis are for a potential legislative withdrawal of these acres of land at Naval Air Station Fallon that the DON intends to propose to Congress to withdraw and reserve for military use. SUMMARY: Order By virtue of the authority vested in the Secretary of the Interior by Section 204 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. 1714, it is ordered as follows: 1. Subject to valid existing rights, the following described public lands are hereby E:\FR\FM\31AUN1.SGM 31AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 170 (Friday, August 31, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44652-44654]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-18989]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2018-0037; FXES11130300000-189-FF03E00000]


Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Habitat 
Conservation Plan; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take 
Permit for Midwestern Bat and Bird Species; MidAmerican Energy Company, 
Iowa

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Endangered Species Act, as amended 
(ESA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a 
draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) in support of an application from 
MidAmerican Energy Company (applicant) for an incidental take permit 
(ITP) for the federally endangered Indiana bat, federally threatened 
northern long-eared bat, and federally protected bald eagle; also 
included in the permit would be the little brown bat and tricolored 
bat. The take is expected to result from operation of wind turbines in 
22 counties in Iowa. Also available for review is the Service's draft 
environmental impact statement (DEIS), which was prepared in response 
to the application. We are seeking public comments on the draft HCP and 
DEIS.

DATES: 
    Submitting Comments: We will accept hardcopy comments received or 
postmarked on or before October 1, 2018. Comments submitted online at 
https://www.regulations.gov/ (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 
p.m. Eastern Time on October 15, 2018.
    Public Involvement: The Service will announce future meetings and 
any other public involvement activities at least 15 days in advance 
through public notices, media releases, mailings, and/or online 
postings at https://www.fws.gov/midwest/rockisland/te/MidAmericanHCP.html.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents for Review: The documents this notice 
announces, as well as any comments and other materials that we receive, 
will be available for public inspection online in Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-
2018-0037 at https://www.regulations.gov.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
     Online: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2018-0037.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2018-0037; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 
MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We will post all comments on https://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post online any personal information that 
you provide (see Public Availability of Comments under SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION). We request that you send comments by only the methods 
described above.
    Reviewing EPA comments on the draft HCP and DEIS: See EPA's Role in 
the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amber Schorg or Kraig McPeek, by phone 
at 309-757-5800.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service has received an incidental take 
permit (ITP) application from the MidAmerican Energy Company in 
accordance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, as 
amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The applicant has prepared a 
draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) in support of the ITP application 
and is seeking authorization for take of the federally endangered 
Indiana bat, federally threatened northern long-eared bat, and 
federally protected bald eagle, in addition to the little brown bat and 
tricolored bat. Little brown bat and tricolored bat are not federally 
protected, but they are currently being evaluated for protection under 
ESA. The applicant has chosen to include these as covered species, and 
they will be treated as if they were ESA listed. The ITP, if issued, 
would authorize incidental take of these species that may occur as a 
result of the operation of wind facilities in 22 Iowa counties over a 
30-year permit term. The draft HCP describes how impacts to the covered 
species will be minimized and mitigated. The draft HCP also describes 
the covered species' life history and ecology, biological goals

[[Page 44653]]

and objectives, the estimated take and its potential impact on covered 
species' populations, adaptive management and monitoring, and 
mitigation measures.
    The Service has prepared a draft environmental impact statement 
(DEIS) in response to the ITP application in accordance with 
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.). We are making the draft HCP and the DEIS available for 
public review and comment.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit the 
``take'' of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is 
defined under the ESA as to ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, 
kill, trap, capture, or collect listed animal species, or to attempt to 
engage in such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1538). Under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the ESA, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental take of 
listed species. Incidental take is defined by the ESA as take that is 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful 
activity.
    Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing 
incidental take permits to non-Federal entities for the incidental take 
of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria 
are met: (a) The taking will be incidental; (b) the applicant will 
minimize and mitigate, to the maximum extent practicable, the impact of 
such taking; (c) the applicant will develop an HCP and ensure that 
adequate funding for the plan will be provided; (d) the taking will not 
appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the 
species in the wild; and (e) the applicant will carry out any other 
measures that the Secretary of the Interior may require as being 
necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. An applicant may 
choose to cover nonlisted species in the HCP, and these species will be 
treated as ESA-listed species.

Proposed Action

    We propose to issue a 30-year permit for incidental take of the 
Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, bald eagle, little brown bat, and 
tricolored bat if the MidAmerican HCP meets all the section 10(a)(1)(B) 
permit issuance criteria. The permit would authorize the take of these 
species incidental to the applicant's operation of wind projects.

Applicant's Project

    MidAmerican Energy currently operates 22 Projects in Iowa, 
consisting of 2,021 turbines that vary by type and project. Detailed 
descriptions of the projects are found in section 2.0 of the HCP. All 
projects and turbines are within the range of the northern long-eared 
bat, little brown bat, tricolored bat, and eagle. Four projects have 
turbines within Indiana bat range (375 turbines). MidAmerican has 
developed a conservation program to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for 
impacts to covered species. Bald eagle-specific avoidance and 
minimization measures will include carrion removal in the vicinity of 
projects and livestock operator outreach. Reductions in scavenging 
opportunities are expected to reduce eagle use near wind projects. Bat-
specific minimization measures were informed by extensive species 
presence-absence surveys, migration telemetry studies, and mortality 
monitoring. Minimization measures will include blade feathering below 
manufacturer's cut-in speed at all projects from March 15 through 
November 15 from sunset to sunrise. Additionally, 4 projects (265 
turbines) that are expected to have the highest risk to covered bat 
species and all bats will be feathered below 5.0 meters per second (m/
s) July 15 through September 30 from sunset to sunrise when 
temperatures are below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). 
Blade feathering consists of turning turbine blades parallel to the 
prevailing wind direction to reduce rotation of the turbine rotors, 
which in turn reduces the likelihood of bat-turbine collisions. 
MidAmerican will conduct an annual monitoring program at each project 
throughout the life of the permit to confirm take permit compliance.
    MidAmerican has committed to fully offsetting the impacts of the 
taking for all covered bat species through habitat restoration, 
preservation, and enhancement, as well as restoration and preservation 
of at-risk occupied artificial roost structures. Measures to offset the 
impacts to taking of bald eagles will include funding local or regional 
eagle rehabilitation, a toxic substance education and abatement 
program, and protection of key eagle nesting or foraging habitat.

National Environmental Policy Act

    In compliance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service has 
prepared a DEIS, in which we analyze the proposed action and a 
reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action.
    Seven alternatives are analyzed in the DEIS.
     No-action alternative: No permit would be issued, and no 
HCP would be implemented.
     Alternative A: 5.0 m/s cut-in speed across all turbines 
for the entire bat active season.
     Alternative B: 5.0 m/s cut-in speed during fall bat 
migration at all turbines and at turbines within 1,000 ft of suitable 
habitat for Indiana and northern long-eared bats during the entire bat 
active season.
     Alternative C: 5.0 m/s cut-in speed during fall bat 
migration.
     Alternative D: Manufacturer's cut-in speed for the entire 
bat active season.
     The applicant's HCP alternative.
     Participation in the Midwest Wind MSHCP alternative.
    The environmental consequences of each alternative were analyzed to 
determine if significant environmental impacts would occur.

EPA's Role in the EIS Process

    The EPA is charged with reviewing all Federal agencies' EISs and 
commenting on the adequacy and acceptability of the environmental 
impacts of proposed actions in EISs. Therefore, EPA is publishing a 
notice in the Federal Register announcing this DEIS, as required under 
section 309 of the Clean Air Act. The publication date of EPA's notice 
of availability is the official beginning of the public comment period. 
EPA's notices are published on Fridays.
    EPA serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared by 
Federal agencies. All EISs must be filed with EPA, which publishes a 
notice of availability on Fridays in the Federal Register. You may 
search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search.

Public Availability of Comments

    We will post on https://regulations.gov all public comments and 
information received electronically or via hardcopy. Written comments 
we receive become part of the administrative record associated with 
this action. 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 request in your comment that we withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be

[[Page 44654]]

made available for public disclosure in their entirety.

Authority

    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22) and the 
NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6; 43 CFR part 46).

Charles M. Wooley,
Acting Regional Director, Midwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2018-18989 Filed 8-30-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P