Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Habitat Conservation Plan; Lower Colorado River Authority's Transmission Services Corporation, 241 Counties, Texas, 18075-18076 [2019-08638]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 82 / Monday, April 29, 2019 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R2–ES–2019–0016; FXES11140200000–190–FF02ENEH00] Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Habitat Conservation Plan; Lower Colorado River Authority’s Transmission Services Corporation, 241 Counties, Texas Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for public comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), make available the draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) covering activities within 241 counties in Texas (permit area). The Lower Colorado River Authority’s Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC; applicant) has applied to the Service for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. The requested ITP would authorize incidental take of 22 federally threatened or endangered species and 1 non-listed species that could result from activities associated with otherwise lawful activities, including construction, operation, upgrade, decommissioning, and maintenance of existing and future LCRA TSC electric transmission facilities. DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received or postmarked on or before June 13, 2019. Comments submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov (see Public Participation under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the closing date. Any comments we receive after the closing date may not be considered in the final decision on these actions. ADDRESSES: See Public Participation under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for how to obtain documents for review and submit comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, via U.S. mail at Austin Ecological Service Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758–4460; via phone at 512–490–0057, ext 241; or via the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of several documents related to an incidental take khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:47 Apr 26, 2019 Jkt 247001 permit (ITP) application under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) was developed in compliance with the agency decision-making requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and is based on the habitat conservation plan (HCP) as submitted by Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC, applicant). We described, fully evaluated, and analyzed all three alternatives in detail in the dEIS. The HCP is also provided in support of the ITP application under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. If granted, the requested ITP, which would be in effect for a period of 30 years, would authorize incidental take of 22 federally threatened or endangered species and 1 non-listed species (covered species). The proposed incidental take would result from activities associated with otherwise lawful activities, including construction, operation, upgrade, decommissioning, and maintenance of existing and future LCRA TSC electric transmission facilities (covered activities). In addition to this notice of the dEIS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing a notice announcing the dEIS, as required under the Clean Air Act, section 309 (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.; see EPA’s Role in the EIS Process below). Background Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) prohibit ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. However, section 10(a) authorizes us to issue permits to take listed wildlife species where take is incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities and where the applicant meets certain statutory requirements. We prepared a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS for LCRA’s TSC habitat conservation plan (HCP), which was published in the Federal Register on July 31, 2017 (82 FR 35539). We held four public scoping meetings across Texas in August of 2017. A total of 9 individuals attended from 5 different counties: Travis, Nueces, Walker, Fort Bend, and Harris. We also received two written comments regarding the proposed issuance of an ITP and its potential impacts. One letter was PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18075 submitted by the Katy Prairie Conservancy and the other was submitted by the National Park Service. We incorporated issues identified during the scoping period into the dEIS. We, the Service, make available the dEIS for the LCRA TSC HCP and the associated HCP. In accordance with the requirements of NEPA, we advise the public that: 1. We have gathered the information necessary to determine impacts and formulate alternatives for the dEIS related to potential issuance of an ITP to the applicant; and 2. The applicant has developed an HCP as part of the application for an ITP, which describes the measures the applicant has agreed to take to minimize and mitigate the impacts of incidental take of the covered species to the maximum extent practicable pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. Proposed Action The proposed action involves the issuance of an ITP by the Service for the covered activities in the permit area. The ITP would cover incidental take of the covered species associated with the covered activities within the permit area. The requested term of the permit is 30 years. To meet the permit issuance requirements of a section 10(a)(1)(B) ITP, the applicant has developed and proposes to implement its HCP. The HCP considers the direct and indirect effects of implementation of the HCP, and describes the conservation measures the applicant has agreed to undertake to minimize and mitigate, to the maximum extent practicable, the impacts of the incidental take of the covered species, and ensures that incidental take will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the covered species in the wild. Alternatives We are considering two alternatives to the proposed action as part of this process. No Action: No ITP would be issued. Under a No-Action alternative, the Service would not issue the requested ITP, and the applicant would either not construct the development or would construct the development avoiding all impacts to federally threatened or endangered species. Therefore, the applicant would not implement the E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1 18076 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 82 / Monday, April 29, 2019 / Notices conservation measures described in the HCP. Reduced Permit Duration: Under this alternative, the Service would issue an ITP for a term of 15 years (from the date of issuance) to LCRA TSC to authorize incidental take of covered species that could result from covered activities. This alternative would implement all minimization and mitigation measures identified for the proposed action, but the permit would be issued for a shorter duration. A reduced permit duration would also reduce the total amount of incidental take authorized for most species, while still providing a streamlined permit process to LCRA TSC during the ITP duration. Projects extending beyond the 15-year permit could require additional permitting. EPA’s Role in the EIS Process In addition to this notice, EPA is publishing a notice in the Federal Register announcing dEIS and for LCRA’s TSC HCP, as required under the Clean Air Act, section 309. 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. The EPA also serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs that Federal agencies prepare. All EISs must be filed with EPA, which publishes a notice of availability on Fridays in the Federal Register. For more information, see https://www.epa.gov/nepa. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https:// cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/ action/eis/search. Public Participation khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Obtaining Documents for Review • Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP): You may obtain copies of the EIS and HCP in the following formats. Internet: • http://www.regulations.gov (search for Docket No. FWS–R2–ES–2019– 0016). • http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ AustinTexas/. Hard copies or CD–ROM: • Contact Field Supervisor by phone or U.S. mail (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT; reference the notice title and docket number FWS– R2–ES–2019–0016). • Copies of the EIS and HCP are also available for public inspection and review at the following locations, by appointment and written request only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Apr 26, 2019 Jkt 247001 D Austin Ecological Services Field Office (at the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). D U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 500 Gold Avenue SW, Room 6034; Albuquerque, NM 87102 (telephone: 505–248–6920). D Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 1849 C. St. NW, Washington, DC 20240. • Incidental Take Permit Application: You may obtain copies of the incidental take permit application by either of the following methods. U.S. Mail: Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, Room 6034, Albuquerque, NM 87103 (attention: Environmental Review Branch). Email: fw2_HCP_Permits@fws.gov. • Public Comments: View submitted comments on http:// www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS–R2–ES–2019–0016. • Comments on the EIS from the Environmental Protection Agency: For how to view comments on the EIS from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or for information on EPA’s role in the EIS process, see EPA’s Role in the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Submitting Comments You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: • Internet: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R2–ES–2019–0016. • Hard Copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R2–ES–2019– 0016; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We request that you submit comments by only the methods described above. We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means we will post any personal information you provide us (see Public Availability of Comments). Public Availability of Comments Written comments we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information (PII) in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your PII—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your comment that we withhold your PII from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Authority We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR1506.6). Amy Lueders, Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico. [FR Doc. 2019–08638 Filed 4–26–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–WASO–NAGPRA–NPS0027610, PPWOCRADN0–PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL National Park Service, Interior. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Birmingham Museum of Art, in consultation with the appropriate Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, has determined that the cultural item listed in this notice meets the definition of an unassociated funerary object. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request to the Birmingham Museum of Art. If no additional claimants come forward, transfer of control of the cultural items to the lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed. DATES: Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request with information in support of the claim to the Birmingham Museum of Art at the address in this notice by May 29, 2019. ADDRESSES: Emily G. Hanna, Senior Curator, Birmingham Museum of Art, 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203, telephone 205–254–2983, email ehanna@artsbma.org. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 82 (Monday, April 29, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18075-18076]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-08638]



[[Page 18075]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2019-0016; FXES11140200000-190-FF02ENEH00]


Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Habitat Conservation 
Plan; Lower Colorado River Authority's Transmission Services 
Corporation, 241 Counties, Texas

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for public comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), make 
available the draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) and Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) covering activities within 241 counties in 
Texas (permit area). The Lower Colorado River Authority's Transmission 
Services Corporation (LCRA TSC; applicant) has applied to the Service 
for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. 
The requested ITP would authorize incidental take of 22 federally 
threatened or endangered species and 1 non-listed species that could 
result from activities associated with otherwise lawful activities, 
including construction, operation, upgrade, decommissioning, and 
maintenance of existing and future LCRA TSC electric transmission 
facilities.

DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received or 
postmarked on or before June 13, 2019. Comments submitted 
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov (see Public Participation 
under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern 
time on the closing date. Any comments we receive after the closing 
date may not be considered in the final decision on these actions.

ADDRESSES: See Public Participation under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for 
how to obtain documents for review and submit comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, via 
U.S. mail at Austin Ecological Service Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, 
Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758-4460; via phone at 512-490-0057, ext 241; 
or via the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the availability of several documents related to an 
incidental take permit (ITP) application under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). The draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) was developed in 
compliance with the agency decision-making requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and is based 
on the habitat conservation plan (HCP) as submitted by Lower Colorado 
River Authority Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC, 
applicant). We described, fully evaluated, and analyzed all three 
alternatives in detail in the dEIS. The HCP is also provided in support 
of the ITP application under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. If 
granted, the requested ITP, which would be in effect for a period of 30 
years, would authorize incidental take of 22 federally threatened or 
endangered species and 1 non-listed species (covered species). The 
proposed incidental take would result from activities associated with 
otherwise lawful activities, including construction, operation, 
upgrade, decommissioning, and maintenance of existing and future LCRA 
TSC electric transmission facilities (covered activities). In addition 
to this notice of the dEIS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
is publishing a notice announcing the dEIS, as required under the Clean 
Air Act, section 309 (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.; see EPA's Role in the EIS 
Process below).

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations in title 50 
of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) prohibit ``take'' of fish and 
wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. However, section 
10(a) authorizes us to issue permits to take listed wildlife species 
where take is incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful 
activities and where the applicant meets certain statutory 
requirements.
    We prepared a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS for LCRA's 
TSC habitat conservation plan (HCP), which was published in the Federal 
Register on July 31, 2017 (82 FR 35539). We held four public scoping 
meetings across Texas in August of 2017. A total of 9 individuals 
attended from 5 different counties: Travis, Nueces, Walker, Fort Bend, 
and Harris. We also received two written comments regarding the 
proposed issuance of an ITP and its potential impacts. One letter was 
submitted by the Katy Prairie Conservancy and the other was submitted 
by the National Park Service. We incorporated issues identified during 
the scoping period into the dEIS.
    We, the Service, make available the dEIS for the LCRA TSC HCP and 
the associated HCP. In accordance with the requirements of NEPA, we 
advise the public that:
    1. We have gathered the information necessary to determine impacts 
and formulate alternatives for the dEIS related to potential issuance 
of an ITP to the applicant; and
    2. The applicant has developed an HCP as part of the application 
for an ITP, which describes the measures the applicant has agreed to 
take to minimize and mitigate the impacts of incidental take of the 
covered species to the maximum extent practicable pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action involves the issuance of an ITP by the Service 
for the covered activities in the permit area. The ITP would cover 
incidental take of the covered species associated with the covered 
activities within the permit area.
    The requested term of the permit is 30 years. To meet the permit 
issuance requirements of a section 10(a)(1)(B) ITP, the applicant has 
developed and proposes to implement its HCP. The HCP considers the 
direct and indirect effects of implementation of the HCP, and describes 
the conservation measures the applicant has agreed to undertake to 
minimize and mitigate, to the maximum extent practicable, the impacts 
of the incidental take of the covered species, and ensures that 
incidental take will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the 
survival and recovery of the covered species in the wild.

Alternatives

    We are considering two alternatives to the proposed action as part 
of this process.
    No Action: No ITP would be issued. Under a No-Action alternative, 
the Service would not issue the requested ITP, and the applicant would 
either not construct the development or would construct the development 
avoiding all impacts to federally threatened or endangered species. 
Therefore, the applicant would not implement the

[[Page 18076]]

conservation measures described in the HCP.
    Reduced Permit Duration: Under this alternative, the Service would 
issue an ITP for a term of 15 years (from the date of issuance) to LCRA 
TSC to authorize incidental take of covered species that could result 
from covered activities. This alternative would implement all 
minimization and mitigation measures identified for the proposed 
action, but the permit would be issued for a shorter duration. A 
reduced permit duration would also reduce the total amount of 
incidental take authorized for most species, while still providing a 
streamlined permit process to LCRA TSC during the ITP duration. 
Projects extending beyond the 15-year permit could require additional 
permitting.

EPA's Role in the EIS Process

    In addition to this notice, EPA is publishing a notice in the 
Federal Register announcing dEIS and for LCRA's TSC HCP, as required 
under the Clean Air Act, section 309. 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.
    The EPA also serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs that 
Federal agencies prepare. All EISs must be filed with EPA, which 
publishes a notice of availability on Fridays in the Federal Register. 
For more information, see https://www.epa.gov/nepa. You may search for 
EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search.

Public Participation

Obtaining Documents for Review

     Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP): You may obtain copies of the EIS and HCP in 
the following formats.
    Internet:
     http://www.regulations.gov (search for Docket No. FWS-R2-
ES-2019-0016).
     http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/.
    Hard copies or CD-ROM:
     Contact Field Supervisor by phone or U.S. mail (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT; reference the notice title and docket 
number FWS-R2-ES-2019-0016).
     Copies of the EIS and HCP are also available for public 
inspection and review at the following locations, by appointment and 
written request only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:
    [ssquf] Austin Ecological Services Field Office (at the address in 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    [ssquf] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 500 Gold Avenue SW, Room 
6034; Albuquerque, NM 87102 (telephone: 505-248-6920).
    [ssquf] Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 1849 
C. St. NW, Washington, DC 20240.
     Incidental Take Permit Application: You may obtain copies 
of the incidental take permit application by either of the following 
methods.
    U.S. Mail: Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. 
Box 1306, Room 6034, Albuquerque, NM 87103 (attention: Environmental 
Review Branch).
    Email: [email protected].
     Public Comments: View submitted comments on http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2019-0016.
     Comments on the EIS from the Environmental Protection 
Agency: For how to view comments on the EIS from the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA), or for information on EPA's role in the EIS 
process, see EPA's Role in the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION.

Submitting Comments

    You may submit written comments by one of the following methods:
     Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2019-0016.
     Hard Copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2019-0016; U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 
22041-3803.
    We request that you submit comments by only the methods described 
above. We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means we will post any personal 
information you provide us (see Public Availability of Comments).

Public Availability of Comments

    Written comments we receive become part of the public record 
associated with this action. Before including your address, phone 
number, email address, or other personal identifying information (PII) 
in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--
including your PII--may be made publicly available at any time. While 
you can request in your comment that we withhold your PII from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their 
entirety.

Authority

    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA and its 
implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA and its 
implementing regulations (40 CFR1506.6).

Amy Lueders,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
[FR Doc. 2019-08638 Filed 4-26-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P