Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Amendments; Receipt of Applications for Incidental Take Permits for Four Wind Energy Projects in Hawai`i, 17875-17879 [2019-08356]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices HUD staff a mechanism for mortgagee compliance with HUD’s loan servicing procedures and assignments. Respondents (i.e., affected public): respondents are FHA-approved multifamily lenders (business or other for-profit). Estimated Number of Respondents: 114. Estimated Number of Responses: 1368. Frequency of Response: 12. Average Hours per Response: 10 minutes. Total Estimated Burden: 228. 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. HUD encourages interested parties to submit comment in response to these questions. C. Authority Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35. Dated: April 8, 2019. Vance T. Morris, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Housing—Federal Housing Commissioner. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 4210–67–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2019–N032; FXES11140100000–190–FF01E00000] Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Amendments; Receipt of Applications for Incidental Take Permits for Four Wind Energy Projects in Hawai‘i Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a habitat conservation plan (HCP) and three amendments to existing HCPs in support of requests for new or amended incidental take permits (ITPs) under the Endangered Species Act authorizing the take of endangered species from four similar wind energy projects. The proposed permit actions involve a new HCP for the Pakini Nui Wind Farm on the Island of Hawai‘i and major amendments to three existing HCPs—for the Auwahi Wind and Kaheawa Wind Power II projects, both located on Maui, and the Kawailoa Wind project on O‘ahu. All four wind energy facilities are already constructed and in operation. The proposed new ITP and ITP amendments would address take of one or more of the following three endangered species: The Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian goose, and the Hawaiian petrel. Also available for review is the Service’s draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS), which was prepared in response to these four applications. We are seeking public comments on the draft HCP and draft HCP amendments, and the draft PEIS. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by June 10, 2019. The Service will consider all written or verbal comments on the scope of the analysis that are received or postmarked by this date. Public Meetings: The Service will host the following public meetings during the public comment and review period: • O‘ahu: Tuesday, May 21, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Maui: Wednesday, May 22, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Hawai‘i: Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m. ADDRESSES: To view the pertinent documents for this proposal, request further information, or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods. Please include SUMMARY: B. Solicitation of Public Comment [FR Doc. 2019–08456 Filed 4–25–19; 8:45 am] DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17875 ‘‘Wind Energy HCPs and PEIS’’ and reference FWS–R1–ES–2019–N032 in the subject line of your request, message, or comment. • U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3–122, Honolulu, HI 96850. • Email: HIwindPEIS@fws.gov. • Fax: 808–792–9580, Attn: Field Supervisor. • Internet: You may obtain copies of this notice from the Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, or on the internet at https://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/. • Public meetings: You may also submit written comments during public meetings. The meetings will be held at the following locations: Æ O‘ahu O: Waialua Elementary School, 67–020 Waialua Beach Road, Waialua, HI 96791. Æ Maui: Kula Elementary School, 5000 Kula Highway, Kula, HI 96790. Æ Hawaii: Na’alehu Community Center, 95–5635 Mamalahoa Highway, Na’alehu, HI 96722. • Reviewing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) comments on the draft HCP, HCP amendments, and PEIS: See EPA’s Role in the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Darren LeBlanc at 808–792–9403, or Michelle Bogardus at 808–792–9473. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800– 877–8339 during normal business hours. The FRS is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service received incidental take permit (ITP) applications from four wind energy companies (applicants) in accordance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The proposed ITP and ITP amendments would authorize take of one or more of the following species: The endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (‘o¯pe‘ape‘a in Hawaiian; Lasiurus cinereus semotus), the endangered Hawaiian goose (ne¯ne¯; Branta sandvicensis), and the endangered Hawaiian petrel (‘ua‘u; Pterodroma sandwichensis), hereafter collectively referred to as the ‘‘covered species.’’ The ITPs, if issued, would authorize the incidental take of covered species caused by the operation of existing landbased wind energy facilities. The applicants are not seeking ITP coverage E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17876 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES for construction of the four projects, which are currently constructed and operational. The draft HCP and HCP amendments describe how impacts to covered species would be minimized and mitigated. The draft HCPs also describe: The covered species’ life history and ecology; the HCP biological goals and objectives; the estimated take and its potential impact on covered species’ populations; adaptive management and monitoring procedures; and mitigation measures for each project. If the proposed HCP and HCP amendments meet permit issuance criteria, the Service will issue separate ITPs to each of the four permit applicants. The Service has developed the draft PEIS in response to these ITP applications in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Two action alternatives and a no-action alternative are analyzed for each project. A programmatic NEPA analysis of similar wind energy project-related permit decisions provides the following benefits: A comprehensive analysis of cumulative impacts across all projects; creation of a single document that the public is more likely to understand; a reduction in duplicative information that would otherwise appear in four EISs; improved consistency in the NEPA analysis; and a more efficient and comprehensive solicitation of public input. The Service provides this notice to (1) advise other Federal and State agencies, local governments, and the public of the availability of the draft HCP, draft HCP amendments, and draft PEIS; (2) announce the initiation of a 45day comment period; and (3) request comments on the documents. Endangered Species Act Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered. The ESA implementing regulations extend, under certain circumstances, the prohibition of take to threatened species (50 CFR 17.31). Under section 3 of the ESA, the term ‘‘take’’ means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term ‘‘harm,’’ as defined in our regulations, includes significant habitat modification or degradation that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Service may authorize take of VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 federally listed species, if such take occurs incidental to otherwise legal activities and a habitat conservation plan (HCP) has been developed under section 10(a)(2)(A) that describes: (1) The impact that will likely result from such taking; (2) the steps an applicant will take to minimize and mitigate that take to the maximum extent practicable and the funding that will be available to implement such steps; (3) alternative actions to such taking that an applicant considered and the reasons why such alternatives are not being used; and (4) other measures the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing ITPs to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met: (1) The taking will be incidental to otherwise lawful activities; (2) an applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impacts of such taking; (3) an applicant has ensured that adequate funding for the plan will be provided; (4) the taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and (5) the applicant will carry out any other measures we require as necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan. Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively. The Service’s general permitting regulations, found at 50 CFR 13.1–13.29, also apply to these actions. National Environmental Policy Act In compliance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service has prepared a draft PEIS to evaluate the projectspecific alternatives and cumulative impacts of four ITP decisions addressing a newly proposed HCP for the Pakini Nui Wind Farm and major amendments for three existing HCPs for the Auwahi Wind, Kawailoa Wind Power, and Kaheawa Wind Power II wind energy projects. Three alternatives (No Action, Proposed Action, and Increased Curtailment alternatives) are analyzed for each of the four projects. Each alternative, as well as the existing projects, the amount of take authorized in the original ITPs, and the estimated levels of take in the proposed new or amended HCPs (See Tables 1–3) are briefly described below. Alternative 1: No Action Alternative Under the No Action Alternative, the Service would not issue the requested project ITP or ITP amendments and the respective HCP or amendments would PO 00000 Frm 00105 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 not be implemented. The Service expects that the applicants would act in a reasonable manner in order not to be legally liable for unauthorized take of the Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian petrel, and the Hawaiian goose. The Service assumes that (a) all applicants would shut off wind turbine operations at night to fully avoid take of Hawaiian hoary bat, (b) that the three applicants seeking to amend their existing permits would continue operating turbines during the day as long as they continued to be in compliance with their existing ITPs, and (c) that Pakini Nui would implement other reasonable measures to avoid take of listed species. Any take that may occur outside of an existing permit would not be authorized and would remain unmitigated. Alternative 2: Proposed Action Auwahi Wind The Auwahi Wind project began commercial operation on December 28, 2012, and is located on ‘Ulupalakua Ranch in east Maui, Hawai‘i. Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC, was originally issued an ITP from the Service and an incidental take license (ITL) from the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife on February 24, 2012 and February 9, 2012, respectively. The Auwahi Wind project consists of eight Siemens 3.0-megawatt (MW) wind turbines, augmented with an 11–MW battery storage system. Ancillary facilities include an underground electrical collection system, an operation and maintenance facility, an approximately 9-mile 34.5-kilovolt (kV) above-ground generator-tie line, and an interconnection substation. The original ITP and ITL, with 2014 amendments, authorized the following amounts of incidental take over the 25year permit term: 21 Hawaiian hoary bats; 87 Hawaiian petrels; 5 Hawaiian geese; and all Blackburn’s sphinx moths (Manduca blackburni) larvae and eggs within the footprint of the facility. The above levels of take were anticipated to result from project construction and operations, including collision with vehicles, generator tie-lines, substations, wind turbines and other project structures. Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment to address a higher than anticipated amount of take of the Hawaiian hoary bat that has occurred during the first 5 years of operation. Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC, is requesting incidental take coverage for an additional 119 Hawaiian hoary bats over the 25-year permit term, which expires in 2037. In E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17877 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices addition, Auwahi Wind would implement nighttime low wind speed curtailment (LWSC) year-round at 5.0 m/s cut-in speed and increase the LWSC to 6.9 m/s from August to October, when higher rates of take have occurred. They will also mitigate the take through reforestation and the creation of water features on up to 2,929 acres of ranchland. TABLES 1–3—ESTIMATED CHANGE IN AUTHORIZED TAKE REQUESTED FOR HAWAIIAN HOARY BAT, HAWAIIAN PETREL, AND HAWAIIAN GOOSE PER PROJECT APPLICANT Take currently authorized 1 2 Project Change Total 3 Table 1: Hawaiian hoary bat Auwahi ......................................................................................................................................... Kawailoa ...................................................................................................................................... KWPII ........................................................................................................................................... Pakini Nui ..................................................................................................................................... 21 60 11 NA +119 +205 +27 +26 140 265 38 26 Total ...................................................................................................................................... 92 +377 469 Auwahi ......................................................................................................................................... Kawailoa ...................................................................................................................................... KWPII ........................................................................................................................................... Pakini Nui ..................................................................................................................................... 87 0 43 NA 0 +24 0 +3 87 24 43 3 Total ...................................................................................................................................... 130 +27 157 Auwahi ......................................................................................................................................... Kawailoa ...................................................................................................................................... KWPII ........................................................................................................................................... Pakini Nui ..................................................................................................................................... 5 0 30 NA 0 0 +14 +3 5 0 44 3 Total ...................................................................................................................................... 35 +17 52 Table 2: Hawaiian petrel 4 Table 3: Hawaiian goose 4 1 Take for the Hawaiian hoary bat was originally authorized for adults and juveniles separately. clarification issued in 2014 simplified the way in which indirect take (e.g., loss of dependent juveniles) associated with the mortality of a breeding adult was accounted for and tracked. Juveniles were converted to adult equivalencies using calculations based on life-history information included in the respective original HCPs, resulting in authorized take represented as a whole number as opposed to listing adults and juveniles separately. 3 Represents the currently authorized take plus the new requested take. 4 Take amounts for these species are summed or combined for adults, subadults, nestlings, or eggs. 2A amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Kawailoa Wind Power The Kawailoa Wind Power project is located approximately 4 miles from Haleiwa town on the north shore of the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, and began commercial operations in November of 2012. Kawailoa Wind Power, LLC, was issued an ITP and an ITL on December 8, 2011, and January 6, 2012, respectively. The Kawailoa Wind Power project consists of 30 2.3–MW wind turbine generators. Ancillary facilities include an underground electrical collection system, an operation and maintenance facility, and an approximately 4-mile above-ground transmission line. The original ITP and ITL authorized the following amounts of incidental take over a 20-year permit term: 60 Hawaiian hoary bats; 12 Hawaiian ducks (koloa maoli; Anas wyvilliana); 18 Hawaiian moorhen (‘alae ‘ula; Gallinula galeata sandvicensis, also known as the Hawaiian gallinule); 18 Hawaiian coot (‘alae kea; Fulica americana alai); 24 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 Hawaiian stilt (ae‘o; Himantopus mexicanus knudseni); and 15 Newell’s shearwater (‘a‘o; Puffinus auricularis newelli). The above levels of take were anticipated to result from project construction and operations, including collision with vehicles, generator tielines, substations, wind turbines, and other project structures. Kawailoa Wind Power, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment to address a higher than anticipated amount of take of the Hawaiian hoary bat that has occurred during the first 5 years of operation. Kawailoa Wind Power, LLC, is requesting incidental take coverage for an additional estimated 205 Hawaiian hoary bats (for a total of 265 bats) over the 20-year permit term, which expires in 2031. Additionally, Kawailoa Wind Power has documented the take of two Hawaiian petrels at the site. Incidental take of this species was not authorized in their existing ITP or ITL; therefore, Kawailoa Wind Power, LLC, is requesting incidental take authorization for 24 PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Hawaiian petrels in their permit amendment. In addition, Kawailoa Wind will extend nighttime LWSC to year-round at 5.2 m/s, and test a bat deterrent in collaboration with NRG Systems. They will also provide a portion of the funding for the protection of 2,882 acres in the Ko‘olau Mountains of O‘ahu, and protect/preserve or restore an additional 3,044 acres for mitigation of bat take impacts. To mitigate Hawaiian Petrel take impacts, Kawailoa Wind will fund the Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) to conduct predator control activities within a petrel breeding colony at Hanaka¯pı¯‘ai, Kaua‘i. Kaheawa Wind Power II The Kaheawa Wind Power II (KWP II) project is located at Kaheawa Pastures above Ma‘alaea town in the southwestern portion of the island of Maui, Hawai‘i, and began commercial operations in July 2012. KWP II, LLC, was issued an ITP and an ITL in January 2012. The KWP II project consists of 14, E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17878 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES 1.5–MW wind turbine generators. Ancillary facilities include an underground electrical collection and communication system, an operation and maintenance facility, a battery energy storage system, and an overhead electrical transmission line connecting the facility substation to the County’s electrical grid. The original ITP and ITL authorized the following levels of incidental take over the 20-year permit term, which expires in 2032: 11 Hawaiian hoary bats, 30 Hawaiian geese, 8 Newell’s shearwaters, and 43 Hawaiian petrels. The above levels of take were anticipated to result from project construction and operations, including bat and bird collisions with vehicles, generator tie-lines, substations, wind turbines and other project structures. Kaheawa Wind Power II, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment to address a higher than anticipated amount of take of the Hawaiian hoary bat and the Hawaiian goose that has occurred during the first 6 years of operation. Kaheawa Wind Power II, LLC, is requesting incidental take authorization for an additional estimated 27 Hawaiian hoary bats (for a total of 38 bats) over the 20-year permit term. Additionally, KWP II, LLC, is also requesting incidental take authorization for an additional estimated 14 Hawaiian geese (for a total of 44 geese) over the 20-year permit term. KWP II will implement nighttime LWSC at 5.0 m/s year-round and increase LWSC to 5.5 m/ s from February 15 to December 15. Mitigation activities for Hawaiian Goose include funding DOFAW to conduct predator control activities at a breeding pen on Maui, at either Pi‘iholo Ranch or Haleakala¯ Ranch. For Hawaiian hoary bat mitigation, KWP II is funding a research project conducted by the U.S. Geological Society to examine home range size, habitat use, diet, and breeding demography at roosting sites on Hawai‘i island. Pakini Nui Wind Farm The Pakini Nui Wind Farm is operated by Tawhiri Power, LLC, and is located on Ka Lae or South Point on the island of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i. The Pakini Nui Wind Farm is currently not covered by a valid ITP or ITL, and Tawhiri Power, LLC, has not previously applied for an ITP or ITL. Tawhiri Power, LLC, has submitted a draft HCP to support their requests for an ITP and an ITL. The Pakini Nui Wind Farm began operations in April 2007 and consists of 14, 1.5– MW wind turbine generators. Ancillary facilities include one mile of underground connector lines, an operation and maintenance building, a VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 substation, and an overhead electrical transmission line connecting the facility substation to the County’s electrical grid. The entire project facility footprint is 79.42 acres. Tawhiri Power, LLC, is requesting incidental take authorization for an estimated 26 Hawaiian hoary bats, 3 Hawaiian petrels, and 3 Hawaiian geese over an 8-year permit term. Pakini Nui will implement nighttime LWSC at 5.0 m/s year-round to minimize take of Hawaiian hoary bats. To mitigate for bats, they will fund the restoration of 1,200 acres at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Pakini Nui will also fund an increase in predator control and commit funds for maintenance of a 5-mile cat barrier fence encompassing 600 acres of breeding habitat for Hawaiian Petrel on Mauna Loa. For Hawaiian Goose mitigation, they will provide funds for the construction of a new 1.25-acre fenced enclosure by DOFAW at Pi‘ihonua on Hawai‘i island. Alternative 3: Increased Curtailment Under Alternative 3, the Service would issue the ITPs with a condition that the applicant will shut down turbines at night, between April 15 and September 15, when Hawaiian hoary bats are observed to be rearing young and are most active. Mitigation activities would be reduced commensurate with take levels. Low wind speed curtailment activities listed under Alternative 2 would occur during the remainder of the year (September 16–April 14). Under this alternative, the Service would issue an ITP amendment to Auwahi Wind Power for up to 84 additional Hawaiian hoary bats through the end of its permit term in 2037. Kawailoa Wind would be issued a permit amendment for up to 83 additional Hawaiian hoary bats and 24 Hawaiian petrels through the permit term ending in 2031. KWP II would be issued an ITP amendment for take of an additional 16 Hawaiian hoary bats and 14 Hawaiian geese under alternative 3 for a permit term ending in 2032. Finally, Pakini Nui Wind Farm would be issued a new ITP allowing take of 16 Hawaiian hoary bats, 3 Hawaiian petrels, and 3 Hawaiian geese through the permit term ending in 2029. Covered Species In total, the applicants are requesting incidental take authorization for one or more of the following species: The endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, the endangered Hawaiian goose, and the endangered Hawaiian petrel. Three of the applicants were authorized to take other listed species in their original PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ITPs; such take authorization would remain unchanged by the currently proposed amendments. The Hawaiian hoary bat is the only fully terrestrial native mammal in the Hawaiian Islands and was federally listed as endangered under the ESA on October 13, 1970 (35 FR 16047). The Hawaiian hoary bat is small, nocturnal, and solitary, roosts in trees, and is known to collide with wind turbine structures. Take of Hawaiian hoary bats at the three currently permitted wind projects (Auwahi Wind, Kawailoa Wind Power, and KWP II) has been higher than anticipated under their original HCPs. The Service believes that recent project-specific bat fatality data and use of new statistical tools for estimating and predicting take of bats provide confidence that their revised estimates of total project-related take of bats are conservative and are unlikely to be exceeded over the term of these projects. The Hawaiian goose was listed as endangered under the ESA on March 11, 1967 (32 FR 4001). The Hawaiian goose is found in a variety of habitats, including scrubland, grassland, golf courses, sparsely vegetated slopes, and open lowland country. This species is also known to collide with wind turbine structures. Pakini Nui Wind Farm has requested take of Hawaiian goose in a new ITP, while KWP II has requested an amendment due to slightly higher than anticipated take at the facility. The Hawaiian petrel was listed as endangered under the ESA on March 11, 1967 (32 FR 4001). The Hawaiian petrel is a seabird that breeds in high-elevation volcanic terrain or in montane mesic and wet forests. When Hawaiian petrels fly over land areas, they are vulnerable to collision with man-made structures, including wind turbines. The Pakini Nui Wind Farm has requested take of the Hawaiian petrel in a new ITP, while Kawailoa Wind Power has requested an amendment to their HCP due to the unanticipated take of a Hawaiian petrel at the facility site. 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 EIS, 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 E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices with EPA. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https:// cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/ action/eis/search. Robyn Thorson, Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on applications to conduct certain activities with foreign species that are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits activities with listed species unless Federal authorization is issued that allows such activities. The ESA also requires that we invite public comment before issuing permits for any activity otherwise prohibited by the ESA with respect to any endangered species. DATES: We must receive comments by May 28, 2019. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: The applications, application supporting materials, and any comments and other materials that we receive will be available for public inspection at http:// www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS–HQ–IA–2019–0030. Submitting Comments: When submitting comments, please specify the name of the applicant and the permit number at the beginning of your comment. You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Internet: http:// www.regulations.gov. Search for and submit comments on Docket No. FWS– HQ–IA–2019–0030. • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–HQ–IA–2019–0030; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. For more information, see Public Comment Procedures under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brenda Tapia, by phone at 703–358– 2104, via email at DMAFR@fws.gov, or via the Federal Relay Service at 800– 877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [FR Doc. 2019–08356 Filed 4–25–19; 8:45 am] I. Public Comment Procedures BILLING CODE 4333–15–P A. How do I comment on submitted applications? We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on these applications. Before issuing any of the requested permits, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period. You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods in ADDRESSES. We will not consider comments sent by email or fax, or to an address not in ADDRESSES. We will not Public Comments You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. 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 us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the PEIS, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at the Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. Reasonable Accommodation Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate in the public meetings should contact Darren LeBlanc or Michelle Bogardus at the Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above). To allow sufficient time to process requests, please call no later than 14 days in advance of the meeting dates. Authority We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.; 50 CFR 17.22), and per NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Notice of receipt of permit applications; request for comments. ACTION: [Docket No. FWS–HQ–IA–2019–0030; FXIA16710900000–190–FF09A30000] Foreign Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Permit Applications AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00108 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17879 consider or include in our administrative record comments we receive after the close of the comment period (see DATES). When submitting comments, please specify the name of the applicant and the permit number at the beginning of your comment. Provide sufficient information to allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data you include. The comments and recommendations that will be most useful and likely to influence agency decisions are: (1) Those supported by quantitative information or studies; and (2) those that include citations to, and analyses of, the applicable laws and regulations. B. May I review comments submitted by others? You may view and comment on others’ public comments at http:// www.regulations.gov, unless our allowing so would violate the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) or Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). C. Who will see my comments? If you submit a comment at http:// www.regulations.gov, your entire comment, including any personal identifying information, will be posted on the website. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, such as your address, phone number, or email address, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Moreover, all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. II. Background To help us carry out our conservation responsibilities for affected species, and in consideration of section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), we invite public comments on permit applications before final action is taken. With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits certain activities with listed species unless Federal authorization is issued that allows such activities. Permits issued under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA allow otherwise prohibited activities for scientific purposes or to enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species. Service regulations regarding prohibited activities with endangered species, captive-bred E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 81 (Friday, April 26, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17875-17879]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-08356]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2019-N032; FXES11140100000-190-FF01E00000]


Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and Draft 
Habitat Conservation Plan and Amendments; Receipt of Applications for 
Incidental Take Permits for Four Wind Energy Projects in Hawai`i

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a habitat conservation plan (HCP) and three amendments 
to existing HCPs in support of requests for new or amended incidental 
take permits (ITPs) under the Endangered Species Act authorizing the 
take of endangered species from four similar wind energy projects. The 
proposed permit actions involve a new HCP for the Pakini Nui Wind Farm 
on the Island of Hawai`i and major amendments to three existing HCPs--
for the Auwahi Wind and Kaheawa Wind Power II projects, both located on 
Maui, and the Kawailoa Wind project on O`ahu. All four wind energy 
facilities are already constructed and in operation. The proposed new 
ITP and ITP amendments would address take of one or more of the 
following three endangered species: The Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian 
goose, and the Hawaiian petrel. Also available for review is the 
Service's draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS), 
which was prepared in response to these four applications. We are 
seeking public comments on the draft HCP and draft HCP amendments, and 
the draft PEIS.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
June 10, 2019. The Service will consider all written or verbal comments 
on the scope of the analysis that are received or postmarked by this 
date.
    Public Meetings: The Service will host the following public 
meetings during the public comment and review period:
     O`ahu: Tuesday, May 21, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m.
     Maui: Wednesday, May 22, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m.
     Hawai`i: Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m.

ADDRESSES: To view the pertinent documents for this proposal, request 
further information, or submit written comments, please use one of the 
following methods. Please include ``Wind Energy HCPs and PEIS'' and 
reference FWS-R1-ES-2019-N032 in the subject line of your request, 
message, or comment.
     U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana 
Boulevard, Room 3-122, Honolulu, HI 96850.
     Email: [email protected].
     Fax: 808-792-9580, Attn: Field Supervisor.
     Internet: You may obtain copies of this notice from the 
Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office in Honolulu, 
Hawai`i, or on the internet at https://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/.
     Public meetings: You may also submit written comments 
during public meetings. The meetings will be held at the following 
locations:
    [cir] O`ahu O: Waialua Elementary School, 67-020 Waialua Beach 
Road, Waialua, HI 96791.
    [cir] Maui: Kula Elementary School, 5000 Kula Highway, Kula, HI 
96790.
    [cir] Hawaii: Na'alehu Community Center, 95-5635 Mamalahoa Highway, 
Na'alehu, HI 96722.
     Reviewing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
comments on the draft HCP, HCP amendments, and PEIS: See EPA's Role in 
the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Darren LeBlanc at 808-792-9403, or 
Michelle Bogardus at 808-792-9473. Persons who use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 
1-800-877-8339 during normal business hours. The FRS is also available 
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will 
receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service received incidental take permit 
(ITP) applications from four wind energy companies (applicants) in 
accordance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, as 
amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The proposed ITP and ITP 
amendments would authorize take of one or more of the following 
species: The endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (`[omacr]pe`ape`a in 
Hawaiian; Lasiurus cinereus semotus), the endangered Hawaiian goose 
(n[emacr]n[emacr]; Branta sandvicensis), and the endangered Hawaiian 
petrel (`ua`u; Pterodroma sandwichensis), hereafter collectively 
referred to as the ``covered species.''
    The ITPs, if issued, would authorize the incidental take of covered 
species caused by the operation of existing land-based wind energy 
facilities. The applicants are not seeking ITP coverage

[[Page 17876]]

for construction of the four projects, which are currently constructed 
and operational. The draft HCP and HCP amendments describe how impacts 
to covered species would be minimized and mitigated. The draft HCPs 
also describe: The covered species' life history and ecology; the HCP 
biological goals and objectives; the estimated take and its potential 
impact on covered species' populations; adaptive management and 
monitoring procedures; and mitigation measures for each project. If the 
proposed HCP and HCP amendments meet permit issuance criteria, the 
Service will issue separate ITPs to each of the four permit applicants.
    The Service has developed the draft PEIS in response to these ITP 
applications in accordance with the requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Two action 
alternatives and a no-action alternative are analyzed for each project. 
A programmatic NEPA analysis of similar wind energy project-related 
permit decisions provides the following benefits: A comprehensive 
analysis of cumulative impacts across all projects; creation of a 
single document that the public is more likely to understand; a 
reduction in duplicative information that would otherwise appear in 
four EISs; improved consistency in the NEPA analysis; and a more 
efficient and comprehensive solicitation of public input. The Service 
provides this notice to (1) advise other Federal and State agencies, 
local governments, and the public of the availability of the draft HCP, 
draft HCP amendments, and draft PEIS; (2) announce the initiation of a 
45-day comment period; and (3) request comments on the documents.

Endangered Species Act

    Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit 
``take'' of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered. The ESA 
implementing regulations extend, under certain circumstances, the 
prohibition of take to threatened species (50 CFR 17.31). Under section 
3 of the ESA, the term ``take'' means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, 
shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in 
any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term ``harm,'' as defined in 
our regulations, includes significant habitat modification or 
degradation that results in death or injury to listed species by 
significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3).
    Pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Service may 
authorize take of federally listed species, if such take occurs 
incidental to otherwise legal activities and a habitat conservation 
plan (HCP) has been developed under section 10(a)(2)(A) that describes: 
(1) The impact that will likely result from such taking; (2) the steps 
an applicant will take to minimize and mitigate that take to the 
maximum extent practicable and the funding that will be available to 
implement such steps; (3) alternative actions to such taking that an 
applicant considered and the reasons why such alternatives are not 
being used; and (4) other measures the Service may require as being 
necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan.
    Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing ITPs 
to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened 
species, provided the following criteria are met: (1) The taking will 
be incidental to otherwise lawful activities; (2) an applicant will, to 
the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impacts of 
such taking; (3) an applicant has ensured that adequate funding for the 
plan will be provided; (4) the taking will not appreciably reduce the 
likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and 
(5) the applicant will carry out any other measures we require as 
necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan. Regulations 
governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 
17.22 and 17.32, respectively. The Service's general permitting 
regulations, found at 50 CFR 13.1-13.29, also apply to these actions.

National Environmental Policy Act

    In compliance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service has 
prepared a draft PEIS to evaluate the project-specific alternatives and 
cumulative impacts of four ITP decisions addressing a newly proposed 
HCP for the Pakini Nui Wind Farm and major amendments for three 
existing HCPs for the Auwahi Wind, Kawailoa Wind Power, and Kaheawa 
Wind Power II wind energy projects. Three alternatives (No Action, 
Proposed Action, and Increased Curtailment alternatives) are analyzed 
for each of the four projects. Each alternative, as well as the 
existing projects, the amount of take authorized in the original ITPs, 
and the estimated levels of take in the proposed new or amended HCPs 
(See Tables 1-3) are briefly described below.

Alternative 1: No Action Alternative

    Under the No Action Alternative, the Service would not issue the 
requested project ITP or ITP amendments and the respective HCP or 
amendments would not be implemented. The Service expects that the 
applicants would act in a reasonable manner in order not to be legally 
liable for unauthorized take of the Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian 
petrel, and the Hawaiian goose. The Service assumes that (a) all 
applicants would shut off wind turbine operations at night to fully 
avoid take of Hawaiian hoary bat, (b) that the three applicants seeking 
to amend their existing permits would continue operating turbines 
during the day as long as they continued to be in compliance with their 
existing ITPs, and (c) that Pakini Nui would implement other reasonable 
measures to avoid take of listed species. Any take that may occur 
outside of an existing permit would not be authorized and would remain 
unmitigated.

Alternative 2: Proposed Action

Auwahi Wind
    The Auwahi Wind project began commercial operation on December 28, 
2012, and is located on `Ulupalakua Ranch in east Maui, Hawai`i. Auwahi 
Wind Energy, LLC, was originally issued an ITP from the Service and an 
incidental take license (ITL) from the Hawai`i Department of Land and 
Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife on February 24, 
2012 and February 9, 2012, respectively. The Auwahi Wind project 
consists of eight Siemens 3.0-megawatt (MW) wind turbines, augmented 
with an 11-MW battery storage system. Ancillary facilities include an 
underground electrical collection system, an operation and maintenance 
facility, an approximately 9-mile 34.5-kilovolt (kV) above-ground 
generator-tie line, and an interconnection substation.
    The original ITP and ITL, with 2014 amendments, authorized the 
following amounts of incidental take over the 25-year permit term: 21 
Hawaiian hoary bats; 87 Hawaiian petrels; 5 Hawaiian geese; and all 
Blackburn's sphinx moths (Manduca blackburni) larvae and eggs within 
the footprint of the facility. The above levels of take were 
anticipated to result from project construction and operations, 
including collision with vehicles, generator tie-lines, substations, 
wind turbines and other project structures.
    Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment to 
address a higher than anticipated amount of take of the Hawaiian hoary 
bat that has occurred during the first 5 years of operation. Auwahi 
Wind Energy, LLC, is requesting incidental take coverage for an 
additional 119 Hawaiian hoary bats over the 25-year permit term, which 
expires in 2037. In

[[Page 17877]]

addition, Auwahi Wind would implement nighttime low wind speed 
curtailment (LWSC) year-round at 5.0 m/s cut-in speed and increase the 
LWSC to 6.9 m/s from August to October, when higher rates of take have 
occurred. They will also mitigate the take through reforestation and 
the creation of water features on up to 2,929 acres of ranchland.

 Tables 1-3--Estimated Change in Authorized Take Requested for Hawaiian Hoary Bat, Hawaiian Petrel, and Hawaiian
                                           Goose per Project Applicant
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Take currently
                             Project                              authorized 1 2      Change         Total \3\
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Table 1: Hawaiian hoary bat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Auwahi..........................................................              21            +119             140
Kawailoa........................................................              60            +205             265
KWPII...........................................................              11             +27              38
Pakini Nui......................................................              NA             +26              26
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................              92            +377             469
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Table 2: Hawaiian petrel \4\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Auwahi..........................................................              87               0              87
Kawailoa........................................................               0             +24              24
KWPII...........................................................              43               0              43
Pakini Nui......................................................              NA              +3               3
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................             130             +27             157
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Table 3: Hawaiian goose \4\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Auwahi..........................................................               5               0               5
Kawailoa........................................................               0               0               0
KWPII...........................................................              30             +14              44
Pakini Nui......................................................              NA              +3               3
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................              35             +17              52
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Take for the Hawaiian hoary bat was originally authorized for adults and juveniles separately.
\2\ A clarification issued in 2014 simplified the way in which indirect take (e.g., loss of dependent juveniles)
  associated with the mortality of a breeding adult was accounted for and tracked. Juveniles were converted to
  adult equivalencies using calculations based on life-history information included in the respective original
  HCPs, resulting in authorized take represented as a whole number as opposed to listing adults and juveniles
  separately.
\3\ Represents the currently authorized take plus the new requested take.
\4\ Take amounts for these species are summed or combined for adults, subadults, nestlings, or eggs.

Kawailoa Wind Power
    The Kawailoa Wind Power project is located approximately 4 miles 
from Haleiwa town on the north shore of the island of O`ahu, Hawai`i, 
and began commercial operations in November of 2012. Kawailoa Wind 
Power, LLC, was issued an ITP and an ITL on December 8, 2011, and 
January 6, 2012, respectively. The Kawailoa Wind Power project consists 
of 30 2.3-MW wind turbine generators. Ancillary facilities include an 
underground electrical collection system, an operation and maintenance 
facility, and an approximately 4-mile above-ground transmission line.
    The original ITP and ITL authorized the following amounts of 
incidental take over a 20-year permit term: 60 Hawaiian hoary bats; 12 
Hawaiian ducks (koloa maoli; Anas wyvilliana); 18 Hawaiian moorhen 
(`alae `ula; Gallinula galeata sandvicensis, also known as the Hawaiian 
gallinule); 18 Hawaiian coot (`alae kea; Fulica americana alai); 24 
Hawaiian stilt (ae`o; Himantopus mexicanus knudseni); and 15 Newell's 
shearwater (`a`o; Puffinus auricularis newelli). The above levels of 
take were anticipated to result from project construction and 
operations, including collision with vehicles, generator tie-lines, 
substations, wind turbines, and other project structures.
    Kawailoa Wind Power, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment to 
address a higher than anticipated amount of take of the Hawaiian hoary 
bat that has occurred during the first 5 years of operation. Kawailoa 
Wind Power, LLC, is requesting incidental take coverage for an 
additional estimated 205 Hawaiian hoary bats (for a total of 265 bats) 
over the 20-year permit term, which expires in 2031. Additionally, 
Kawailoa Wind Power has documented the take of two Hawaiian petrels at 
the site. Incidental take of this species was not authorized in their 
existing ITP or ITL; therefore, Kawailoa Wind Power, LLC, is requesting 
incidental take authorization for 24 Hawaiian petrels in their permit 
amendment. In addition, Kawailoa Wind will extend nighttime LWSC to 
year-round at 5.2 m/s, and test a bat deterrent in collaboration with 
NRG Systems. They will also provide a portion of the funding for the 
protection of 2,882 acres in the Ko`olau Mountains of O`ahu, and 
protect/preserve or restore an additional 3,044 acres for mitigation of 
bat take impacts. To mitigate Hawaiian Petrel take impacts, Kawailoa 
Wind will fund the Hawai`i Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) to 
conduct predator control activities within a petrel breeding colony at 
Hanak[amacr]p[imacr]`ai, Kaua`i.
Kaheawa Wind Power II
    The Kaheawa Wind Power II (KWP II) project is located at Kaheawa 
Pastures above Ma`alaea town in the southwestern portion of the island 
of Maui, Hawai`i, and began commercial operations in July 2012. KWP II, 
LLC, was issued an ITP and an ITL in January 2012. The KWP II project 
consists of 14,

[[Page 17878]]

1.5-MW wind turbine generators. Ancillary facilities include an 
underground electrical collection and communication system, an 
operation and maintenance facility, a battery energy storage system, 
and an overhead electrical transmission line connecting the facility 
substation to the County's electrical grid.
    The original ITP and ITL authorized the following levels of 
incidental take over the 20-year permit term, which expires in 2032: 11 
Hawaiian hoary bats, 30 Hawaiian geese, 8 Newell's shearwaters, and 43 
Hawaiian petrels. The above levels of take were anticipated to result 
from project construction and operations, including bat and bird 
collisions with vehicles, generator tie-lines, substations, wind 
turbines and other project structures.
    Kaheawa Wind Power II, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment to 
address a higher than anticipated amount of take of the Hawaiian hoary 
bat and the Hawaiian goose that has occurred during the first 6 years 
of operation. Kaheawa Wind Power II, LLC, is requesting incidental take 
authorization for an additional estimated 27 Hawaiian hoary bats (for a 
total of 38 bats) over the 20-year permit term. Additionally, KWP II, 
LLC, is also requesting incidental take authorization for an additional 
estimated 14 Hawaiian geese (for a total of 44 geese) over the 20-year 
permit term. KWP II will implement nighttime LWSC at 5.0 m/s year-round 
and increase LWSC to 5.5 m/s from February 15 to December 15. 
Mitigation activities for Hawaiian Goose include funding DOFAW to 
conduct predator control activities at a breeding pen on Maui, at 
either Pi`iholo Ranch or Haleakal[amacr] Ranch. For Hawaiian hoary bat 
mitigation, KWP II is funding a research project conducted by the U.S. 
Geological Society to examine home range size, habitat use, diet, and 
breeding demography at roosting sites on Hawai`i island.
Pakini Nui Wind Farm
    The Pakini Nui Wind Farm is operated by Tawhiri Power, LLC, and is 
located on Ka Lae or South Point on the island of Hawai`i, Hawai`i. The 
Pakini Nui Wind Farm is currently not covered by a valid ITP or ITL, 
and Tawhiri Power, LLC, has not previously applied for an ITP or ITL. 
Tawhiri Power, LLC, has submitted a draft HCP to support their requests 
for an ITP and an ITL. The Pakini Nui Wind Farm began operations in 
April 2007 and consists of 14, 1.5-MW wind turbine generators. 
Ancillary facilities include one mile of underground connector lines, 
an operation and maintenance building, a substation, and an overhead 
electrical transmission line connecting the facility substation to the 
County's electrical grid. The entire project facility footprint is 
79.42 acres. Tawhiri Power, LLC, is requesting incidental take 
authorization for an estimated 26 Hawaiian hoary bats, 3 Hawaiian 
petrels, and 3 Hawaiian geese over an 8-year permit term.
    Pakini Nui will implement nighttime LWSC at 5.0 m/s year-round to 
minimize take of Hawaiian hoary bats. To mitigate for bats, they will 
fund the restoration of 1,200 acres at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 
Pakini Nui will also fund an increase in predator control and commit 
funds for maintenance of a 5-mile cat barrier fence encompassing 600 
acres of breeding habitat for Hawaiian Petrel on Mauna Loa. For 
Hawaiian Goose mitigation, they will provide funds for the construction 
of a new 1.25-acre fenced enclosure by DOFAW at Pi`ihonua on Hawai`i 
island.

Alternative 3: Increased Curtailment

    Under Alternative 3, the Service would issue the ITPs with a 
condition that the applicant will shut down turbines at night, between 
April 15 and September 15, when Hawaiian hoary bats are observed to be 
rearing young and are most active. Mitigation activities would be 
reduced commensurate with take levels. Low wind speed curtailment 
activities listed under Alternative 2 would occur during the remainder 
of the year (September 16-April 14).
    Under this alternative, the Service would issue an ITP amendment to 
Auwahi Wind Power for up to 84 additional Hawaiian hoary bats through 
the end of its permit term in 2037. Kawailoa Wind would be issued a 
permit amendment for up to 83 additional Hawaiian hoary bats and 24 
Hawaiian petrels through the permit term ending in 2031. KWP II would 
be issued an ITP amendment for take of an additional 16 Hawaiian hoary 
bats and 14 Hawaiian geese under alternative 3 for a permit term ending 
in 2032. Finally, Pakini Nui Wind Farm would be issued a new ITP 
allowing take of 16 Hawaiian hoary bats, 3 Hawaiian petrels, and 3 
Hawaiian geese through the permit term ending in 2029.

Covered Species

    In total, the applicants are requesting incidental take 
authorization for one or more of the following species: The endangered 
Hawaiian hoary bat, the endangered Hawaiian goose, and the endangered 
Hawaiian petrel. Three of the applicants were authorized to take other 
listed species in their original ITPs; such take authorization would 
remain unchanged by the currently proposed amendments.
    The Hawaiian hoary bat is the only fully terrestrial native mammal 
in the Hawaiian Islands and was federally listed as endangered under 
the ESA on October 13, 1970 (35 FR 16047). The Hawaiian hoary bat is 
small, nocturnal, and solitary, roosts in trees, and is known to 
collide with wind turbine structures. Take of Hawaiian hoary bats at 
the three currently permitted wind projects (Auwahi Wind, Kawailoa Wind 
Power, and KWP II) has been higher than anticipated under their 
original HCPs. The Service believes that recent project-specific bat 
fatality data and use of new statistical tools for estimating and 
predicting take of bats provide confidence that their revised estimates 
of total project-related take of bats are conservative and are unlikely 
to be exceeded over the term of these projects.
    The Hawaiian goose was listed as endangered under the ESA on March 
11, 1967 (32 FR 4001). The Hawaiian goose is found in a variety of 
habitats, including scrubland, grassland, golf courses, sparsely 
vegetated slopes, and open lowland country. This species is also known 
to collide with wind turbine structures. Pakini Nui Wind Farm has 
requested take of Hawaiian goose in a new ITP, while KWP II has 
requested an amendment due to slightly higher than anticipated take at 
the facility.
    The Hawaiian petrel was listed as endangered under the ESA on March 
11, 1967 (32 FR 4001). The Hawaiian petrel is a seabird that breeds in 
high-elevation volcanic terrain or in montane mesic and wet forests. 
When Hawaiian petrels fly over land areas, they are vulnerable to 
collision with man-made structures, including wind turbines. The Pakini 
Nui Wind Farm has requested take of the Hawaiian petrel in a new ITP, 
while Kawailoa Wind Power has requested an amendment to their HCP due 
to the unanticipated take of a Hawaiian petrel at the facility site.

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 EIS, 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

[[Page 17879]]

with EPA. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs 
themselves, at https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search.

Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in ADDRESSES. 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 us in your comment to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so. Comments and materials we receive, as well as 
supporting documentation we use in preparing the PEIS, will be 
available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business 
hours, at the Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.

Reasonable Accommodation

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate 
in the public meetings should contact Darren LeBlanc or Michelle 
Bogardus at the Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above). To allow sufficient time to 
process requests, please call no later than 14 days in advance of the 
meeting dates.

Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.; 50 CFR 17.22), and per 
NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-08356 Filed 4-25-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P