Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project, Oahu, HI, 49941-49943 [2018-21457]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 192 / Wednesday, October 3, 2018 / Notices Overview of This Information Collection (1) Type of Information Collection: Extension, Without Change, of a Currently Approved Collection. (2) Title of the Form/Collection: H–2 Petitioner’s Employment Related or Fee Related Notification. (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: No form; USCIS. (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Business or other forprofit. The notification requirement is necessary to ensure that alien workers maintain their nonimmigrant status and will help prevent H–2 workers from engaging in unauthorized employment. (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the information collection H–2 Petitioner’s Employment Related or Fee Related Notification is 1,700 and the estimated hour burden per response is .5 hours. (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 850 hours. (7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: The estimated total annual cost burden associated with this collection of information is $8,500. Dated: September 27, 2018. Samantha L. Deshommes, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2018–21489 Filed 10–2–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–97–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2018–N108; FXES11140100000–189–FF01E00000] daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project, Oahu, HI Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; record of decision. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a record of decision SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Oct 02, 2018 Jkt 247001 (ROD) for proposed issuance of an Endangered Species Act (ESA) permit for the Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project (project) and habitat conservation plan (HCP). The ROD documents the Service’s decision to issue an incidental take permit (ITP) to Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC (applicant). As summarized in the ROD, the Service has selected Alternative 2a—the Modified Proposed Action, which includes implementation of the HCP and issuance of the ITP authorizing incidental take of one threatened and six endangered species listed under the ESA that may occur as a result of construction and operation of the project over a 21-year period. ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of the ROD and other documents associated with the decision by the following methods. • Internet: Documents may be viewed and downloaded on the internet at https://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/. • U.S. Mail: You may obtain a CD– ROM with electronic copies of these documents if you make a request within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice by writing to Mary Abrams, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3–122, Honolulu, HI 96850. • Telephone: Call 808–792–9400 during regular business hours. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Aaron Nadig (Deputy Field Supervisor), by telephone at 808–792–9400, by Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339, or by mail to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a record of decision (ROD) for proposed issuance of an Endangered Species Act (ESA) section 10(a)(1)(B) permit for the Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project (project) and habitat conservation plan (HCP). The ROD documents the Service’s decision to issue an incidental take permit (ITP) to Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC (applicant). As summarized in the ROD, the Service has selected Alternative 2a—the Modified Proposed Action (described below), which includes implementation of the HCP and issuance of the ITP authorizing incidental take of one threatened and six endangered species listed under the ESA that may occur as a result of construction and operation of the project over a 21-year period. We are advising the public of the availability of the ROD, developed in compliance with the agency decision- PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 49941 making requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), as well as the final HCP as submitted by the applicant. All alternatives have been described in detail, evaluated, and analyzed in our final EIS (FEIS) and supplemental EIS (SEIS). Our notice of availability of the FEIS and HCP was published in the Federal Register on July 12, 2016 (81 FR 45174). The Council of Environmental Quality regulations require agencies to prepare supplements to either draft or final EISs if there are substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns or there are significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns that bear on the proposed action or its impacts; SEISs may also be prepared if the lead agency determines that the purpose of NEPA will be furthered by doing so. After reviewing comments received after issuance of the Draft EIS (DEIS), the Service worked with the applicant to develop a modified action to address some of the comments received. Accordingly, the Service determined that publishing an SEIS and providing an additional opportunity for public review on Alternative 2a would further the purposes of NEPA and the ESA. The SEIS and HCP were noticed in the Federal Register on November 17, 2016 (81 FR 81151). Background Na Pua Makani Power Partners proposes to construct and operate the project near the town of Kahuku in the Koolauloa District of the City and County of Honolulu on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. The project would consist of up to 9 wind turbine generators (WTGs) with a net generating capacity of up to approximately 25 megawatts (MW), located within a project site of approximately 707 acres. The site includes portions of two parcels leased from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), State-owned access areas, and privately owned lands. The site is located almost entirely within the State agricultural land use district. Na Pua Makani Power Partners applied to the Service for an ITP under ESA section 10(a)(1)(B). The ITP is for a 21-year permit term and authorizes take of the threatened Newell’s shearwater (Puffinus newelli), and the endangered Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), Hawaiian coot (Fulica americana alai), Hawaiian moorhen (Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis), Hawaiian duck (Anas wyvilliana), Hawaiian goose (Branta E:\FR\FM\03OCN1.SGM 03OCN1 49942 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 192 / Wednesday, October 3, 2018 / Notices sandvicensis), and the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) (collectively these species are hereafter referred to as the ‘‘covered species’’) that may occur as a result of the construction and operation of the project. The applicant developed a final HCP that addresses the incidental take of the seven covered species that may occur as a result of the construction and operation of the project over a period of 21 years. The HCP details measures the applicant will implement to minimize, mitigate, and monitor incidental take of the covered species. The Service prepared an FEIS and SEIS pursuant to the requirements of NEPA in response to the permit application because issuance of an ITP by the Service is a Federal action that may affect the quality of the human environment. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Purpose and Need The purpose and need of the Service’s proposed action is to evaluate the authorization of incidental take of the covered species associated with construction and operation of the project and make a decision on the application pursuant to the requirements of ESA section 10(a)(1)(B) and its implementing regulations and policies. Any permit issued by the Service must meet all applicable issuance criteria, and implementation should be technically and economically feasible. Issuance criteria include requirements that the applicant will minimize and mitigate the impacts of the taking on the covered species to the maximum extent practicable and the taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the species in the wild. Alternatives Our FEIS and SEIS analyzed the environmental impacts of three alternatives related to the issuance of the ITP and implementation of the HCP. Alternative 1—No Action: Under Alternative 1, the Service would not issue an ITP, and the project would not be constructed. Alternative 2—Proposed Action: The project, as originally described as Alternative 2 of the DEIS, would consist of between 8 and 10 WTG and includes implementation of the HCP and issuance of an ITP for construction and operation of a wind energy project with a generation capacity of up to 25 MW. Alternative 2a—Modified Proposed Action: Our selected alternative consists of implementation of the HCP and issuance of an ITP for construction and operation of a wind energy project with VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Oct 02, 2018 Jkt 247001 a maximum number of 9 WTG with a generation capacity of up to 25 MW. In response to public comments on the DEIS related to visual impacts and consideration of fewer turbines with larger generating capacities, a project design with a reduced maximum number of turbines of only 9 WTG with larger generating capacities and taller dimensions was added to the FEIS and SEIS. The applicant is considering a variety of WTG models, each ranging from 427 feet to 656 feet in height, and each having up to 3.3 MW of generating capacity. The applicant will select the most appropriate WTGs prior to construction. The selection of the WTG models would not change the impacts to the covered species analyzed in the EIS. This alternative includes the avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures identified for the covered species (described below) to minimize and offset the impacts of the anticipated take of the covered species. Alternative 3—Consists of a 42–MW generation wind project with up to 12 WTG, each with a generating capacity of up to 3.3 MW. Alternative 3 includes the issuance of an ITP to authorize incidental take of the covered species in association with construction and operation of the up to approximately 25–MW project and implementation of the project HCP with avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures identified for covered species that would occur at levels described above for the Proposed Action. Due to transmission line upgrades required for additional turbines and associated generating capacity beyond those identified in Alternative 2, there would be a lag of at least 3 years before the construction of an additional two to four turbines. Due to the uncertainty related to the timing of construction of the additional turbines under this alternative, Na Pua Makani Power Partners would reinitiate coordination with the Service prior to their construction to address potential impacts of the larger generation facility to the covered species. The mitigation and monitoring associated with the additional turbines would be covered in an amendment to the HCP. Decision and Rationale for Decision Based on our review of the alternatives and their environmental consequences as described in our FEIS and SEIS, we have selected the Modified Proposed Action option (Alternative 2a). The Modified Proposed Action is the implementation of the final HCP and issuance of an ITP authorizing incidental take of the covered species that may occur as a PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 result of the construction and operation of the project. In order to issue an ITP, we must determine that the HCP meets the issuance criteria set forth in 16 U.S.C. 1539(a)(2)(A) and (B). We have made that determination based on the findings summarized below: 1. The taking will be incidental. We find that take of listed species will be incidental to otherwise lawful activities, including the construction, operation, and maintenance of the wind energy facility. 2. The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impacts of such takings. The applicant has developed and is committed to implementing a program that includes a variety of habitat and species protection measures that minimize and mitigate the impacts of the taking on the covered species. To reduce take of the Hawaiian hoary bat, Na Pua Makani Partners will implement low wind-speed curtailment by raising the cut-in speed of the WTGs to 16 feet per second (ft/s) and feathering WTG blades below 16 ft/s from sunset to sunrise during the months of March to November. To offset the impacts of anticipated take on the covered species, the applicant is proposing mitigation measures on Oahu that include: (1) Funding research to support management of the Newell’s shearwater; (2) fencing and predator control to conserve the Hawaiian goose; (3) a combination of bat research and native forest restoration and management to increase Hawaiian hoary bat habitat; (4) acoustic surveys to document the presence of the Hawaiian hoary bat; and (5) fencing and public outreach to benefit the conservation of the Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian moorhen and the Hawaiian duck. 3. The applicant will ensure that adequate funding for the HCP will be provided. The applicant has developed an HCP, which includes a detailed estimate of the costs of implementing the HCP. Na Pua Makani Power Partners is committed to providing the funds necessary to implement the HCP, and its associated mitigation, monitoring, reporting, and adaptive management measures. Na Pua Makani Power Partners shall provide assurance of funding in the form of a letter of credit to The State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) in the amount of $3,736,050, which covers the cost for Tier 1 mitigation and postconstruction monitoring. Upon triggering Tier 2 mitigation, a letter of credit for an additional $894,000 will be provided to DOFAW. E:\FR\FM\03OCN1.SGM 03OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 192 / Wednesday, October 3, 2018 / Notices 4. The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of any listed species in the wild. As the Federal action agency considering whether to issue an ITP, we have reviewed the proposed action under section 7 of the ESA. Our biological opinion, dated April 29, 2016, concluded that issuance of the ITP will not jeopardize the continued existence of potentially affected listed species in the wild. 5. The applicant agrees to implement other measures that the Service requires as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. We provided technical assistance to the applicant in the development of the HCP. We commented on draft documents, participated in numerous meetings, and worked closely with the applicant throughout the development of the HCP to further the conservation of covered species. The HCP incorporates our technical advice for minimization and mitigation of take impacts likely to be caused by covered activities, as well as steps to monitor the effects of the HCP. Annual monitoring, as well as coordination and reporting mechanisms, have been designed to ensure that changes in the conservation measures via adaptive management can be implemented if proposed measures prove ineffective. Considerations relied upon for the ITP decision include whether (1) the proposed mitigation will benefit the covered species, (2) adaptive management of the conservation measures will insure that the goals and objectives of the HCP are realized, (3) conservation measures will protect and enhance habitat, (4) mitigation measures will fully offset anticipated impacts to the covered species and facilitate recovery, and (5) the HCP is consistent with the covered species’ recovery plans. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Authority We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531, 1539(c)) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6; 43 CFR part 46). The Service has made its decision to issue an ITP to Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC for the take of seven species in accordance with their HCP. Theresa E. Rabot, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2018–21457 Filed 10–2–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Oct 02, 2018 Jkt 247001 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of the Secretary [Docket No. ONRR–2018–0001; [DS63600000 DR2000000.PMN000 178D0102R2] Royalty Policy Committee Establishment; Request for Nominations Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is seeking nominations for primary and alternate members for several sectors of the Royalty Policy Committee (Committee). This notice solicits nominees from: (1) Indian Tribes, (2) mineral and/or energy stakeholders, (3) States and (4) academia/public interest. The Committee provides advice to the Secretary on the fair market value of, and the collection of revenues derived from, the development of energy and mineral resources on Federal and Indian lands. DATES: Nominations for the Committee must be submitted by November 2, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit nominations by any of the following methods: • Mail or hand-carry nominations to Mr. Chris Mentasti, Department of the Interior, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, 1849 C Street NW, MS 5134, Washington, DC 20240; or • Email nominations to: RPC@ ios.doi.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Jennifer Malcolm, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, telephone at (202) 208–3938; email to Jennifer.Malcolm@ onrr.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Committee is established under the authority of the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) and regulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2). The Secretary seeks to ensure that the public receives the full value of the natural resources produced from Federal lands. The duties of the Committee are solely advisory in nature. The Committee will, at the request of the Designated Federal Officer (DFO), advise on current and emerging issues related to the determination of fair market value, and the collection of revenue from energy and mineral resources on Federal and Indian lands. The Committee also will advise on the potential impacts of proposed policies and regulations SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 49943 related to revenue collection from such development, including whether a need exists for regulatory reform. We are seeking nominations for individuals that represent Indian Tribes, mineral and/or energy stakeholders, States, and academia/public interest, to be considered as Committee alternate members. The Committee will not exceed 28 members and is composed of Federal and non-Federal members in order to ensure fair and balanced representation. The Secretary will appoint non-Federal alternates to the Committee to serve up to a three-year term. The Director for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is currently designated as Acting Chairman of the Committee. Federal Members: The Secretary has appointed the following officials as nonvoting, ex-officio members of the Committee: • A representative of the Secretary’s Immediate Office • Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs • Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management • Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs • Director, Bureau of Land Management • Director, Office of Natural Resources Revenue • Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management • Director, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement These officials may designate a senior official to act on their behalf. Non-Federal Members: The Secretary may appoint members in the following categories: • Members representing the Governors of States that receive more than $10,000,000 annually in royalty revenues from onshore and offshore Federal leases. • Members representing the Indian Tribes that are engaged in activities subject to: The Act of May 11, 1938 (commonly known as the ‘‘Indian Mineral Leasing Act of 1938’’) (25 U.S.C. 396a et seq.); Title XXVI of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (25 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.); The Indian Mineral Development Act of 1982 (25 U.S.C. 2101 et seq.); and any other law relating to mineral development that is specific to one or more Indian Tribes. • Members representing various mineral and/or energy stakeholders in Federal and Indian royalty policy. • Members representing academia and public interest groups. Nominations should include a resume providing an adequate description of the nominee’s qualifications, including information that would enable DOI to make an informed decision regarding E:\FR\FM\03OCN1.SGM 03OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 192 (Wednesday, October 3, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 49941-49943]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-21457]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2018-N108; FXES11140100000-189-FF01E00000]


Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement 
for the Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project, Oahu, HI

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; record of decision.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a record of decision (ROD) for proposed issuance of an 
Endangered Species Act (ESA) permit for the Na Pua Makani Wind Energy 
Project (project) and habitat conservation plan (HCP). The ROD 
documents the Service's decision to issue an incidental take permit 
(ITP) to Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC (applicant). As summarized 
in the ROD, the Service has selected Alternative 2a--the Modified 
Proposed Action, which includes implementation of the HCP and issuance 
of the ITP authorizing incidental take of one threatened and six 
endangered species listed under the ESA that may occur as a result of 
construction and operation of the project over a 21-year period.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of the ROD and other documents 
associated with the decision by the following methods.
     Internet: Documents may be viewed and downloaded on the 
internet at https://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/.
     U.S. Mail: You may obtain a CD-ROM with electronic copies 
of these documents if you make a request within 30 days after the date 
of publication of this notice by writing to Mary Abrams, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Honolulu, HI 
96850.
     Telephone: Call 808-792-9400 during regular business 
hours.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Aaron Nadig (Deputy Field 
Supervisor), by telephone at 808-792-9400, by Federal Relay Service at 
800-877-8339, or by mail to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see 
ADDRESSES).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the availability of a record of decision (ROD) for 
proposed issuance of an Endangered Species Act (ESA) section 
10(a)(1)(B) permit for the Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project (project) 
and habitat conservation plan (HCP). The ROD documents the Service's 
decision to issue an incidental take permit (ITP) to Na Pua Makani 
Power Partners, LLC (applicant). As summarized in the ROD, the Service 
has selected Alternative 2a--the Modified Proposed Action (described 
below), which includes implementation of the HCP and issuance of the 
ITP authorizing incidental take of one threatened and six endangered 
species listed under the ESA that may occur as a result of construction 
and operation of the project over a 21-year period.
    We are advising the public of the availability of the ROD, 
developed in compliance with the agency decision-making requirements of 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), as 
well as the final HCP as submitted by the applicant. All alternatives 
have been described in detail, evaluated, and analyzed in our final EIS 
(FEIS) and supplemental EIS (SEIS). Our notice of availability of the 
FEIS and HCP was published in the Federal Register on July 12, 2016 (81 
FR 45174).
    The Council of Environmental Quality regulations require agencies 
to prepare supplements to either draft or final EISs if there are 
substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to 
environmental concerns or there are significant new circumstances or 
information relevant to environmental concerns that bear on the 
proposed action or its impacts; SEISs may also be prepared if the lead 
agency determines that the purpose of NEPA will be furthered by doing 
so. After reviewing comments received after issuance of the Draft EIS 
(DEIS), the Service worked with the applicant to develop a modified 
action to address some of the comments received. Accordingly, the 
Service determined that publishing an SEIS and providing an additional 
opportunity for public review on Alternative 2a would further the 
purposes of NEPA and the ESA. The SEIS and HCP were noticed in the 
Federal Register on November 17, 2016 (81 FR 81151).

Background

    Na Pua Makani Power Partners proposes to construct and operate the 
project near the town of Kahuku in the Koolauloa District of the City 
and County of Honolulu on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. The project would 
consist of up to 9 wind turbine generators (WTGs) with a net generating 
capacity of up to approximately 25 megawatts (MW), located within a 
project site of approximately 707 acres. The site includes portions of 
two parcels leased from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural 
Resources (DLNR), State-owned access areas, and privately owned lands. 
The site is located almost entirely within the State agricultural land 
use district.
    Na Pua Makani Power Partners applied to the Service for an ITP 
under ESA section 10(a)(1)(B). The ITP is for a 21-year permit term and 
authorizes take of the threatened Newell's shearwater (Puffinus 
newelli), and the endangered Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus 
knudseni), Hawaiian coot (Fulica americana alai), Hawaiian moorhen 
(Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis), Hawaiian duck (Anas wyvilliana), 
Hawaiian goose (Branta

[[Page 49942]]

sandvicensis), and the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) 
(collectively these species are hereafter referred to as the ``covered 
species'') that may occur as a result of the construction and operation 
of the project.
    The applicant developed a final HCP that addresses the incidental 
take of the seven covered species that may occur as a result of the 
construction and operation of the project over a period of 21 years. 
The HCP details measures the applicant will implement to minimize, 
mitigate, and monitor incidental take of the covered species.
    The Service prepared an FEIS and SEIS pursuant to the requirements 
of NEPA in response to the permit application because issuance of an 
ITP by the Service is a Federal action that may affect the quality of 
the human environment.

Purpose and Need

    The purpose and need of the Service's proposed action is to 
evaluate the authorization of incidental take of the covered species 
associated with construction and operation of the project and make a 
decision on the application pursuant to the requirements of ESA section 
10(a)(1)(B) and its implementing regulations and policies. Any permit 
issued by the Service must meet all applicable issuance criteria, and 
implementation should be technically and economically feasible. 
Issuance criteria include requirements that the applicant will minimize 
and mitigate the impacts of the taking on the covered species to the 
maximum extent practicable and the taking will not appreciably reduce 
the likelihood of survival and recovery of the species in the wild.

Alternatives

    Our FEIS and SEIS analyzed the environmental impacts of three 
alternatives related to the issuance of the ITP and implementation of 
the HCP.
    Alternative 1--No Action: Under Alternative 1, the Service would 
not issue an ITP, and the project would not be constructed.
    Alternative 2--Proposed Action: The project, as originally 
described as Alternative 2 of the DEIS, would consist of between 8 and 
10 WTG and includes implementation of the HCP and issuance of an ITP 
for construction and operation of a wind energy project with a 
generation capacity of up to 25 MW.
    Alternative 2a--Modified Proposed Action: Our selected alternative 
consists of implementation of the HCP and issuance of an ITP for 
construction and operation of a wind energy project with a maximum 
number of 9 WTG with a generation capacity of up to 25 MW. In response 
to public comments on the DEIS related to visual impacts and 
consideration of fewer turbines with larger generating capacities, a 
project design with a reduced maximum number of turbines of only 9 WTG 
with larger generating capacities and taller dimensions was added to 
the FEIS and SEIS. The applicant is considering a variety of WTG 
models, each ranging from 427 feet to 656 feet in height, and each 
having up to 3.3 MW of generating capacity. The applicant will select 
the most appropriate WTGs prior to construction. The selection of the 
WTG models would not change the impacts to the covered species analyzed 
in the EIS. This alternative includes the avoidance, minimization, and 
mitigation measures identified for the covered species (described 
below) to minimize and offset the impacts of the anticipated take of 
the covered species.
    Alternative 3--Consists of a 42-MW generation wind project with up 
to 12 WTG, each with a generating capacity of up to 3.3 MW. Alternative 
3 includes the issuance of an ITP to authorize incidental take of the 
covered species in association with construction and operation of the 
up to approximately 25-MW project and implementation of the project HCP 
with avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures identified for 
covered species that would occur at levels described above for the 
Proposed Action. Due to transmission line upgrades required for 
additional turbines and associated generating capacity beyond those 
identified in Alternative 2, there would be a lag of at least 3 years 
before the construction of an additional two to four turbines. Due to 
the uncertainty related to the timing of construction of the additional 
turbines under this alternative, Na Pua Makani Power Partners would 
reinitiate coordination with the Service prior to their construction to 
address potential impacts of the larger generation facility to the 
covered species. The mitigation and monitoring associated with the 
additional turbines would be covered in an amendment to the HCP.

Decision and Rationale for Decision

    Based on our review of the alternatives and their environmental 
consequences as described in our FEIS and SEIS, we have selected the 
Modified Proposed Action option (Alternative 2a). The Modified Proposed 
Action is the implementation of the final HCP and issuance of an ITP 
authorizing incidental take of the covered species that may occur as a 
result of the construction and operation of the project.
    In order to issue an ITP, we must determine that the HCP meets the 
issuance criteria set forth in 16 U.S.C. 1539(a)(2)(A) and (B). We have 
made that determination based on the findings summarized below:
    1. The taking will be incidental. We find that take of listed 
species will be incidental to otherwise lawful activities, including 
the construction, operation, and maintenance of the wind energy 
facility.
    2. The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize 
and mitigate the impacts of such takings. The applicant has developed 
and is committed to implementing a program that includes a variety of 
habitat and species protection measures that minimize and mitigate the 
impacts of the taking on the covered species.
    To reduce take of the Hawaiian hoary bat, Na Pua Makani Partners 
will implement low wind-speed curtailment by raising the cut-in speed 
of the WTGs to 16 feet per second (ft/s) and feathering WTG blades 
below 16 ft/s from sunset to sunrise during the months of March to 
November.
    To offset the impacts of anticipated take on the covered species, 
the applicant is proposing mitigation measures on Oahu that include: 
(1) Funding research to support management of the Newell's shearwater; 
(2) fencing and predator control to conserve the Hawaiian goose; (3) a 
combination of bat research and native forest restoration and 
management to increase Hawaiian hoary bat habitat; (4) acoustic surveys 
to document the presence of the Hawaiian hoary bat; and (5) fencing and 
public outreach to benefit the conservation of the Hawaiian stilt, 
Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian moorhen and the Hawaiian duck.
    3. The applicant will ensure that adequate funding for the HCP will 
be provided. The applicant has developed an HCP, which includes a 
detailed estimate of the costs of implementing the HCP. Na Pua Makani 
Power Partners is committed to providing the funds necessary to 
implement the HCP, and its associated mitigation, monitoring, 
reporting, and adaptive management measures. Na Pua Makani Power 
Partners shall provide assurance of funding in the form of a letter of 
credit to The State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) 
in the amount of $3,736,050, which covers the cost for Tier 1 
mitigation and post-construction monitoring. Upon triggering Tier 2 
mitigation, a letter of credit for an additional $894,000 will be 
provided to DOFAW.

[[Page 49943]]

    4. The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of 
survival and recovery of any listed species in the wild. As the Federal 
action agency considering whether to issue an ITP, we have reviewed the 
proposed action under section 7 of the ESA. Our biological opinion, 
dated April 29, 2016, concluded that issuance of the ITP will not 
jeopardize the continued existence of potentially affected listed 
species in the wild.
    5. The applicant agrees to implement other measures that the 
Service requires as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of 
the HCP. We provided technical assistance to the applicant in the 
development of the HCP. We commented on draft documents, participated 
in numerous meetings, and worked closely with the applicant throughout 
the development of the HCP to further the conservation of covered 
species. The HCP incorporates our technical advice for minimization and 
mitigation of take impacts likely to be caused by covered activities, 
as well as steps to monitor the effects of the HCP. Annual monitoring, 
as well as coordination and reporting mechanisms, have been designed to 
ensure that changes in the conservation measures via adaptive 
management can be implemented if proposed measures prove ineffective.
    Considerations relied upon for the ITP decision include whether (1) 
the proposed mitigation will benefit the covered species, (2) adaptive 
management of the conservation measures will insure that the goals and 
objectives of the HCP are realized, (3) conservation measures will 
protect and enhance habitat, (4) mitigation measures will fully offset 
anticipated impacts to the covered species and facilitate recovery, and 
(5) the HCP is consistent with the covered species' recovery plans.

Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531, 1539(c)) and its implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) 
and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6; 43 CFR part 46). The 
Service has made its decision to issue an ITP to Na Pua Makani Power 
Partners, LLC for the take of seven species in accordance with their 
HCP.

Theresa E. Rabot,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-21457 Filed 10-2-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P