Records of Decision for the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Four Wind Energy Project Habitat Conservation Plans in Hawaii, 49547-49549 [2019-20410]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 183 / Friday, September 20, 2019 / Notices • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: (540) 504–2331. Please include a cover sheet addressing the fax to ATTN: Jasper Cooke. • Mail: Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of Chief Counsel, FEMA, 500 C Street SW, Room 8NE, Washington, DC 20472–3100. Instructions: All submissions must include the words ‘‘Federal Emergency Management Agency’’ and the docket number for this action. Comments received, including any personal information provided, will be posted without alteration at http:// www.regulations.gov. Docket: For access to the docket to read comments received by the NAC, go to http://www.regulations.gov, and search for Docket ID FEMA–2007–0008. A public comment period will be held at the NAC meeting on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. ET. All speakers must limit their comments to three minutes. Comments should be addressed to the NAC. Any comments not related to the agenda topics will not be considered by the NAC. To register to make remarks during the public comment period, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section below by September 30, 2019. Please note that the public comment period may end before the time indicated, following the last call for comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jasper Cooke, Designated Federal Officer, Office of the National Advisory Council, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472–3184, telephone (202) 646–2700, Fax (540) 504–2331, and email FEMA-NAC@fema.dhs.gov. The NAC website is www.fema.gov/ national-advisory-council. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. Appendix. The NAC advises the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management. The NAC incorporates input from state, local, tribal and territorial governments, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector, in the development and revision of FEMA plans and strategies. The NAC includes a cross-section of officials, emergency managers, and emergency response providers from state, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations. Agenda: The purpose of this meeting is to provide the full NAC an VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Sep 19, 2019 Jkt 247001 opportunity to discuss recommendations developed by each of its subcommittees. The Agenda therefore will afford each subcommittee roughly 30 minutes to present their recommendations and then receive feedback from the full NAC. The subcommittees will present in this order: Federal Insurance and Mitigation; Response and Recovery; Marginalized, Tribal, Rural, and Small Communities; and Preparedness and Protection. The full agenda and any related documents for this meeting will be posted by Friday, September 27, 2019, on the NAC website at http://www.fema.gov/ national-advisory-council. Dated: September 12, 2019. Pete Gaynor, Acting Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency. [FR Doc. 2019–20349 Filed 9–19–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–48–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2019–N119; FXES11140100000–190–FF01E00000] Records of Decision for the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Four Wind Energy Project Habitat Conservation Plans in Hawaii Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability of records of decision and habitat conservation plans. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of four separate records of decision (RODs) under the Endangered Species Act—three RODs for the proposed issuance of three permit amendments and one ROD for the proposed issuance of one new permit. We also make available each project’s respective habitat conservation plan (HCP) amendment or HCP. The RODs document the Service’s decision to issue incidental take permit (ITP) amendments to three applicants— Kawailoa Wind, LLC; Auwahi Wind, LLC; and Kaheawa Wind Power II, LLC—and a new ITP to Tawhiri Power, LLC. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the RODs and other documents associated with each of the four separate permit decisions are available using the following methods: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 49547 • Internet: Documents may be viewed and downloaded on the internet at https://www.fws.gov/pacificislands. • U.S. Mail: You may obtain a CD 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 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: Michelle Bogardus, by phone at 808– 792–9473, or Darren LeBlanc, by phone at 808–792–9403. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339 for assistance. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of four separate records of decision (RODs) for the proposed issuance of an Endangered Species Act (ESA) section 10(a)(1)(B) incidental take permit (ITP) or ITP amendments to four wind energy companies for implementation of their respective projects and final habitat conservation plans (HCPs) or HCP amendments. Each ROD documents the Service’s decision to issue an ITP to the respective applicant. As summarized in each ROD, the Service has selected Alternative 2, the proposed action, which includes implementation of the HCP and issuance of the ITP authorizing incidental take of one or more of the following covered species that may occur as a result of project operations during the permit period: The Hawaiian hoary bat (1o¯pe1ape1a in Hawaiian; Lasiurus cinereus semotus), Hawaiian goose (ne¯ne¯; Branta sandvicensis), and the Hawaiian petrel (1ua1u; Pterodroma sandwichensis). We are advising the public of the availability of the RODs, developed in compliance with the agency decisionmaking requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), as well as the final HCP and HCP amendments as submitted by the applicants. All alternatives have been described in detail, evaluated, and analyzed in our final programmatic environmental impact statement (FPEIS). Our notice of availability of the FPEIS and four HCPs was published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2019 (84 FR 37909). Background All four wind projects are currently constructed and operating. Three of the E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 49548 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 183 / Friday, September 20, 2019 / Notices projects (Auwahi Wind, KWP II, and Kawailoa Wind) have existing ITPs and are requesting amendments due to the addition of a new covered species or the exceedance of previously authorized incidental take of the Hawaiian hoary bat. One project, the Pakini Nui Wind Farm, was constructed and operating without a permit because they did not anticipate take of any listed species. Once an unauthorized take was identified, they developed an HCP and applied for an ITP. None of the projects’ proposed actions includes additional development of the respective wind facility. The new or amended ITPs would authorize incidental take associated with the continued operation of existing wind turbines at each project. The PEIS was developed in accordance with the requirements of NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) in response to four ITP applications. The Service determined that a programmatic NEPA analysis of the four similar wind energy project-related permit decisions would provide the following benefits: A comprehensive analysis of cumulative impacts across all projects; creation of a single document that the public would be more likely to understand; a reduction in duplicative information that would otherwise appear in four separate EISs; improved consistency in the NEPA analysis; and a more efficient and comprehensive solicitation of public input. Each HCP or HCP amendment describes how impacts to covered species would be minimized and mitigated. The 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. Tawhiri Power, LLC, is requesting incidental take authorization for an estimated 26 Hawaiian hoary bats, 3 Hawaiian petrels, and 3 Hawaiian geese over a 10year permit term. Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment and incidental take coverage for an additional 119 Hawaiian hoary bats (for a total of 140 bats) over the 25-year permit term, which expires in 2037. KWP II, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment and incidental take authorization for an additional estimated 27 Hawaiian hoary bats (for a total of 38 bats) and an additional estimated 14 Hawaiian geese (for a total of 44 geese) over the 20-year permit term, which expires in 2032. Kawailoa Wind Power, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment and incidental take VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Sep 19, 2019 Jkt 247001 coverage for an additional estimated 160 Hawaiian hoary bats (for a total of 220 bats) and take of 24 Hawaiian petrels over the 20-year permit term, which expires in 2031. Additional information on each specific project is described in the PEIS and RODs. Purpose and Need The Service’s purpose and need for the proposed permit actions is to respond to ITP applications submitted by the applicants, and to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the ITP applications. The Service’s assessment of the ITP applications is complete, and was prepared pursuant to the requirements of section 10 of the ESA and its implementing regulations. Any ITP issued by the Service must meet all applicable requirements of the ESA. Alternatives Our FPEIS analyzed the environmental impacts of no action and two alternatives related to the issuance of the ITPs and implementation of the HCPs. While the three alternatives are similar for the four projects, the results of implementing a particular alternative would be different for each project. The three alternatives are described below. Alternative 1—No Action: The no action alternative evaluates conditions as they would occur over the foreseeable future if the Service denied issuance of an ITP to the applicants and if the applicants did not implement their respective HCPs for the covered species. Under this alternative, the applicants would continue to conduct wind energy facility operations in accordance with existing State and Federal regulations. The applicants would remain subject to the prohibition on unauthorized taking of State and federally listed species. The Service expects that each applicant would act in a reasonable manner to avoid unauthorized take of the covered species over and above their existing permit authorizations (as applicable). To achieve this, the Service assumes that all applicants would implement other measures to limit the potential for take of listed species to occur. Any take that occurs over and above existing permit limits would not be authorized and would remain unmitigated. Alternative 2—Proposed Action: Under the proposed action, the Service would issue a separate ITP (amendment or a new ITP) to each of the four applicants, authorizing incidental take of the covered species. The new or amended ITP/HCP would be implemented as proposed by each applicant, including mitigation and minimization actions to address the PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 effects of the incidental take. The applicants’ operations and activities would be subject to the terms and conditions of the ITP/HCP, as well as existing regulatory standards. Under the proposed action alternative, the three applicants with HCPs/ITPs currently in effect would continue to conduct their previously authorized mitigation activities as outlined in the no action alternative, in addition to the mitigation described in their HCP amendment. Alternative 3—Increased Curtailment: This alternative was developed to analyze the most practicable minimization measure for the actions proposed in the applicants’ HCPs (Alternative 2) that would result in a reduction of take of the Hawaiian hoary bat at each of the facilities but also allow the applicants to meet their minimum required power production. Under Alternative 3, the Service would issue the ITPs authorizing a lower level of Hawaiian hoary bat take than what is anticipated by the applicants in their new or amended HCPs. Under this alternative, wind facility operations and maintenance activities would be shut down at all applicant wind turbines during nighttime hours from April 15 through September 15, and low wind speed curtailment activities would be implemented during the remainder of the year. These measures would result in a minimization of the take of adult Hawaiian hoary bats and eliminate indirect take of juvenile bats. Mitigation actions and corresponding monitoring activities would be reduced commensurate with take levels for each applicant. The environmental consequences of each alternative were analyzed in the FPEIS. The types of effects on covered species were similar across action alternatives, with take resulting from project operations being mitigated through land acquisition, species and habitat management, and research. Increasing the use of avoidance and minimization measures through different turbine curtailment regimes can reduce the amount of take of the covered species and the amount of renewable electricity produced; a commensurate reduction in the amount of incidental take of the covered species is expected with alternatives that include turbine curtailment. Public comments received in response to the draft PEIS were considered, and the FPEIS reflects clarifications of the existing analysis to address public comments. The FPEIS does not identify an environmentally preferred alternative. Pursuant to NEPA implementing regulations found at 40 CFR 15.2(b), the E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 183 / Friday, September 20, 2019 / Notices Service identified Alternative 3— Increased Curtailment as the environmentally preferred alternative in the RODs. Decision and Rationale for Decision Based on our review of the alternatives and their environmental consequences as described in our FPEIS, we have selected the proposed action alternative (Alternative 2) for all four projects. The proposed action includes each applicant’s implementation of their final HCP or HCP amendment, and the Service’s issuance of an ITP authorizing take of the covered species that may occur incidental to the continued operation of each project. In order to issue each ITP under the ESA, we must determine that each of the HCPs meets the issuance criteria set forth in 16 U.S.C. 1539(a)(2)(A) and (B). We have made that determination for each HCP, as described further in their respective RODs. Authority We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 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). CALIFORNIA Sacramento County Barr, George & Mabel, House, 2672 Montgomery Way, Sacramento, SG100004528 Hathaway, Anne, Cottage, 2640 Montgomery, Sacramento, SG100004529 Robyn Thorson, Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon. San Diego County Encinitas Boathouses, 726 & 732 3rd St., Encinitas, SG100004530 [FR Doc. 2019–20410 Filed 9–19–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P San Francisco County Glen Park BART Station, 2901 Diamond St., San Francisco, SG100004531 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR DELAWARE New Castle County Parker’s Dairy Palace, 2 Jay Dr., New Castle, SG100004513 National Park Service [NPS–WASO–NRNHL–DTS#–28888; PPWOCRADI0, PCU00RP14.R50000] FLORIDA National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related Actions National Park Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The National Park Service is soliciting comments on the significance of properties nominated before September 7, 2019, for listing or related actions in the National Register of Historic Places. DATES: Comments should be submitted by October 7, 2019. ADDRESSES: Comments may be sent via U.S. Postal Service and all other carriers to the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C St. NW, MS 7228, Washington, DC 20240. SUMMARY: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES The properties listed in this notice are being considered for listing or related actions in the National Register of Historic Places. Nominations for their consideration were received by the National Park Service before September 7, 2019. Pursuant to Section 60.13 of 36 CFR part 60, written comments are being accepted concerning the significance of the nominated properties under the National Register criteria for evaluation. 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. Nominations submitted by State Historic Preservation Officers: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Sep 19, 2019 Jkt 247001 Duval County Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville, 7405 Arlington Expressway, Jacksonville, SG100004516 Jackson County Bellamy Bridge, 4057 Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail, Marianna, SG100004517 Lake County Ferran, Edgar L., House, 310 E. Orange Ave., Eustis, SG100004518 Pinellas County Abercrombie Site Complex, (Archaeological Resources of the Lower Pinellas Peninsula MPS), Park St. N and 38th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, MP100004520 Maximo Beach Site (Archaeological Resources of the Lower Pinellas Peninsula MPS), Sunshine PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 49549 Skyway Ln. S and Pinellas Point Dr. S, St. Petersburg, MP100004521 Princess Mound Site (Archaeological Resources of the Lower Pinellas Peninsula MPS), Mound Place S and Bethel Way S, St. Petersburg, MP100004522 LOUISIANA Lafayette Parish Downtown Lafayette Civic Center, 705 Jefferson St., 731 Jefferson St., 735 Jefferson St., 124 E Main St., Lafayette, SG100004510 Orleans Parish 1621 Lafitte Avenue, (Railroad-Related Industrial and Commercial Buildings on the Lafitte Greenway Corridor, 1900–1969 MPS), 1621 Lafitte Ave., New Orleans, MP100004514 1601 Lafitte Avenue, (Railroad-Related Industrial and Commercial Buildings on the Lafitte Greenway Corridor, 1900–1969 MPS), 1601 Lafitte Ave., New Orleans, MP100004515 RHODE ISLAND Providence County Cumberland Town Hall Historic District, 45 Broad St. and 16 Mill St., Cumberland, SG100004532 SOUTH CAROLINA Horry County Myrtle Beach Downtown Historic District, Portions of Main St., 8th Ave. N, 9th Ave. N, Kings Hwy., Broadway St., N Oak St., Myrtle Beach, SG100004533 WISCONSIN Outagamie County Appleton Post-Crescent Building, 306 W Washington St., Appleton, SG100004524 Waukesha County Muskego State Graded School, S75 W17476 Janesville Rd., Muskego, SG100004527 Additional documentation has been received for the following resource: FLORIDA Pinellas County Jungle Prada Site, Address Restricted, St. Petersburg, AD03000007 Nomination submitted by Federal Preservation Officer: The State Historic Preservation Officer reviewed the following nomination and responded to the Federal Preservation Officer within 45 days of receipt of the nomination and supports listing the property in the National Register of Historic Places. CALIFORNIA Santa Clara County Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital Site, 3801 Miranda Ave., Palo Alto, SG100004526 Authority: Section 60.13 of 36 CFR part 60. E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 183 (Friday, September 20, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 49547-49549]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-20410]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2019-N119; FXES11140100000-190-FF01E00000]


Records of Decision for the Final Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement for Four Wind Energy Project Habitat Conservation 
Plans in Hawaii

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of records of decision and habitat 
conservation plans.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of four separate records of decision (RODs) under the 
Endangered Species Act--three RODs for the proposed issuance of three 
permit amendments and one ROD for the proposed issuance of one new 
permit. We also make available each project's respective habitat 
conservation plan (HCP) amendment or HCP. The RODs document the 
Service's decision to issue incidental take permit (ITP) amendments to 
three applicants--Kawailoa Wind, LLC; Auwahi Wind, LLC; and Kaheawa 
Wind Power II, LLC--and a new ITP to Tawhiri Power, LLC.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the RODs and other documents associated 
with each of the four separate permit decisions are available using 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 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 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: Michelle Bogardus, by phone at 808-
792-9473, or Darren LeBlanc, by phone at 808-792-9403. Persons who use 
a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay 
Service at 800-877-8339 for assistance.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the availability of four separate records of 
decision (RODs) for the proposed issuance of an Endangered Species Act 
(ESA) section 10(a)(1)(B) incidental take permit (ITP) or ITP 
amendments to four wind energy companies for implementation of their 
respective projects and final habitat conservation plans (HCPs) or HCP 
amendments. Each ROD documents the Service's decision to issue an ITP 
to the respective applicant. As summarized in each ROD, the Service has 
selected Alternative 2, the proposed action, which includes 
implementation of the HCP and issuance of the ITP authorizing 
incidental take of one or more of the following covered species that 
may occur as a result of project operations during the permit period: 
The Hawaiian hoary bat ([revaps][omacr]pe[revaps]ape[revaps]a in 
Hawaiian; Lasiurus cinereus semotus), Hawaiian goose (n[emacr]n[emacr]; 
Branta sandvicensis), and the Hawaiian petrel ([revaps]ua[revaps]u; 
Pterodroma sandwichensis).
    We are advising the public of the availability of the RODs, 
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 and HCP amendments as submitted by the 
applicants. All alternatives have been described in detail, evaluated, 
and analyzed in our final programmatic environmental impact statement 
(FPEIS). Our notice of availability of the FPEIS and four HCPs was 
published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2019 (84 FR 37909).

Background

    All four wind projects are currently constructed and operating. 
Three of the

[[Page 49548]]

projects (Auwahi Wind, KWP II, and Kawailoa Wind) have existing ITPs 
and are requesting amendments due to the addition of a new covered 
species or the exceedance of previously authorized incidental take of 
the Hawaiian hoary bat. One project, the Pakini Nui Wind Farm, was 
constructed and operating without a permit because they did not 
anticipate take of any listed species. Once an unauthorized take was 
identified, they developed an HCP and applied for an ITP. None of the 
projects' proposed actions includes additional development of the 
respective wind facility. The new or amended ITPs would authorize 
incidental take associated with the continued operation of existing 
wind turbines at each project.
    The PEIS was developed in accordance with the requirements of NEPA 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) in response to four ITP applications. The 
Service determined that a programmatic NEPA analysis of the four 
similar wind energy project-related permit decisions would provide the 
following benefits: A comprehensive analysis of cumulative impacts 
across all projects; creation of a single document that the public 
would be more likely to understand; a reduction in duplicative 
information that would otherwise appear in four separate EISs; improved 
consistency in the NEPA analysis; and a more efficient and 
comprehensive solicitation of public input.
    Each HCP or HCP amendment describes how impacts to covered species 
would be minimized and mitigated. The 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. Tawhiri Power, LLC, is 
requesting incidental take authorization for an estimated 26 Hawaiian 
hoary bats, 3 Hawaiian petrels, and 3 Hawaiian geese over a 10-year 
permit term. Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment 
and incidental take coverage for an additional 119 Hawaiian hoary bats 
(for a total of 140 bats) over the 25-year permit term, which expires 
in 2037. KWP II, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment and incidental 
take authorization for an additional estimated 27 Hawaiian hoary bats 
(for a total of 38 bats) and an additional estimated 14 Hawaiian geese 
(for a total of 44 geese) over the 20-year permit term, which expires 
in 2032. Kawailoa Wind Power, LLC, is requesting a permit amendment and 
incidental take coverage for an additional estimated 160 Hawaiian hoary 
bats (for a total of 220 bats) and take of 24 Hawaiian petrels over the 
20-year permit term, which expires in 2031. Additional information on 
each specific project is described in the PEIS and RODs.

Purpose and Need

    The Service's purpose and need for the proposed permit actions is 
to respond to ITP applications submitted by the applicants, and to 
approve, approve with conditions, or deny the ITP applications. The 
Service's assessment of the ITP applications is complete, and was 
prepared pursuant to the requirements of section 10 of the ESA and its 
implementing regulations. Any ITP issued by the Service must meet all 
applicable requirements of the ESA.

Alternatives

    Our FPEIS analyzed the environmental impacts of no action and two 
alternatives related to the issuance of the ITPs and implementation of 
the HCPs. While the three alternatives are similar for the four 
projects, the results of implementing a particular alternative would be 
different for each project. The three alternatives are described below.
    Alternative 1--No Action: The no action alternative evaluates 
conditions as they would occur over the foreseeable future if the 
Service denied issuance of an ITP to the applicants and if the 
applicants did not implement their respective HCPs for the covered 
species. Under this alternative, the applicants would continue to 
conduct wind energy facility operations in accordance with existing 
State and Federal regulations. The applicants would remain subject to 
the prohibition on unauthorized taking of State and federally listed 
species. The Service expects that each applicant would act in a 
reasonable manner to avoid unauthorized take of the covered species 
over and above their existing permit authorizations (as applicable). To 
achieve this, the Service assumes that all applicants would implement 
other measures to limit the potential for take of listed species to 
occur. Any take that occurs over and above existing permit limits would 
not be authorized and would remain unmitigated.
    Alternative 2--Proposed Action: Under the proposed action, the 
Service would issue a separate ITP (amendment or a new ITP) to each of 
the four applicants, authorizing incidental take of the covered 
species. The new or amended ITP/HCP would be implemented as proposed by 
each applicant, including mitigation and minimization actions to 
address the effects of the incidental take. The applicants' operations 
and activities would be subject to the terms and conditions of the ITP/
HCP, as well as existing regulatory standards. Under the proposed 
action alternative, the three applicants with HCPs/ITPs currently in 
effect would continue to conduct their previously authorized mitigation 
activities as outlined in the no action alternative, in addition to the 
mitigation described in their HCP amendment.
    Alternative 3--Increased Curtailment: This alternative was 
developed to analyze the most practicable minimization measure for the 
actions proposed in the applicants' HCPs (Alternative 2) that would 
result in a reduction of take of the Hawaiian hoary bat at each of the 
facilities but also allow the applicants to meet their minimum required 
power production. Under Alternative 3, the Service would issue the ITPs 
authorizing a lower level of Hawaiian hoary bat take than what is 
anticipated by the applicants in their new or amended HCPs. Under this 
alternative, wind facility operations and maintenance activities would 
be shut down at all applicant wind turbines during nighttime hours from 
April 15 through September 15, and low wind speed curtailment 
activities would be implemented during the remainder of the year. These 
measures would result in a minimization of the take of adult Hawaiian 
hoary bats and eliminate indirect take of juvenile bats. Mitigation 
actions and corresponding monitoring activities would be reduced 
commensurate with take levels for each applicant.
    The environmental consequences of each alternative were analyzed in 
the FPEIS. The types of effects on covered species were similar across 
action alternatives, with take resulting from project operations being 
mitigated through land acquisition, species and habitat management, and 
research. Increasing the use of avoidance and minimization measures 
through different turbine curtailment regimes can reduce the amount of 
take of the covered species and the amount of renewable electricity 
produced; a commensurate reduction in the amount of incidental take of 
the covered species is expected with alternatives that include turbine 
curtailment.
    Public comments received in response to the draft PEIS were 
considered, and the FPEIS reflects clarifications of the existing 
analysis to address public comments.
    The FPEIS does not identify an environmentally preferred 
alternative. Pursuant to NEPA implementing regulations found at 40 CFR 
15.2(b), the

[[Page 49549]]

Service identified Alternative 3--Increased Curtailment as the 
environmentally preferred alternative in the RODs.

Decision and Rationale for Decision

    Based on our review of the alternatives and their environmental 
consequences as described in our FPEIS, we have selected the proposed 
action alternative (Alternative 2) for all four projects. The proposed 
action includes each applicant's implementation of their final HCP or 
HCP amendment, and the Service's issuance of an ITP authorizing take of 
the covered species that may occur incidental to the continued 
operation of each project.
    In order to issue each ITP under the ESA, we must determine that 
each of the HCPs meets the issuance criteria set forth in 16 U.S.C. 
1539(a)(2)(A) and (B). We have made that determination for each HCP, as 
described further in their respective RODs.

Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 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).

Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2019-20410 Filed 9-19-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P