Draft Environmental Assessment for an Application for an Incidental Take Permit; Diamond Spring Wind Project Habitat Conservation Plan for the Endangered American Burying Beetle in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma, 56469-56471 [2019-23022]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 204 / Tuesday, October 22, 2019 / Notices low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. DATES: We must receive your written comments on or before November 21, 2019. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may obtain copies of the documents by any of the following methods: • Telephone: Alfredo Begazo, 772– 469–4234. • Email: alfredo_begazo@fws.gov. • U.S. mail: Alfredo Begazo, South Florida Ecological Services Office, Attn. Sunbeam Properties, Inc. Permit TE48273D–0, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960–3559. • In-person: The documents may be reviewed by appointment during regular business hours at the above address. Please call to make an appointment. • Fax: Alfredo Begazo, 772–562– 4288, Attn: Permit number TE48273D– 0. Submitting Comments: If you wish to submit comments on any of the documents, you may do so in writing via the above email address, U.S. mail address, or fax number, or you may hand-deliver comments to the above address during regular business hours. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alfredo Begazo, by U.S. mail (see ADDRESSES) or via phone at 772–469– 4234. Individuals who are hearing impaired or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877– 8339 for TTY assistance. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce receipt of an application from Sunbeam Properties, Inc. (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The applicant requests the ITP to take the federally listed sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi) and blue-tailed mole skink (Eumeces egregious) (skinks) incidental to the construction of a residential development project in Polk County, Florida. We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) and the Service’s preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as ‘‘low-effect,’’ categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). To make this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. Project Sunbeam Properties, Inc. requests a 5year ITP to take skinks incidental to the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:02 Oct 21, 2019 Jkt 250001 conversion of approximately 6.78 acres of occupied skink foraging and sheltering habitat for the construction of a residential development located on a 150-acre parcel in Section 13, Township 25 South, Range 26 East, Polk County, Florida. The applicant proposes to mitigate for take of the skinks by purchasing credits equivalent to 13.56 acres of skink-occupied habitat from a Service-approved mitigation bank in Polk County. The Service would require the applicant to purchase the credits prior to engaging in land clearing activities on the parcel. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made available to the public. While you may request that we withhold your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Our Preliminary Determination The Service has made a preliminary determination that the applicant’s project, including land clearing, construction of the residential development, and the proposed mitigation measure, would individually and cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the skinks and the environment. Therefore, we have preliminarily concluded that the ITP for this project would qualify for categorical exclusion and the HCP is low effect under our NEPA regulations at 43 CFR 46.205 and 46.210. A low-effect HCP is one that would result in (1) minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) impacts that, when considered together with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonable foreseeable similarly situated projects, would not over time result in significant cumulative effects to environmental values or resources. Next Steps The Service will evaluate the application and the comments received to determine whether to issue the requested permit. We will also conduct an intra-Service consultation pursuant to section 7 of the ESA to evaluate the effects of the proposed take. After considering the above findings, we will determine whether the permit issuance criteria of section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA have been met. If met, the Service will issue ITP number TE48273D–0 to PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 56469 Sunbeam Properties, Inc. for incidental take of skinks. Authority The Service provides this notice under section 10(c) (16 U.S.C. 1539(c)) of the ESA and NEPA regulation 40 CFR 1506.6. Roxanna Hinzman, Field Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office, Southeast Region. [FR Doc. 2019–23016 Filed 10–21–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R2–ES–2019–N137; FXES11140200000–201–FF02ENEH00] Draft Environmental Assessment for an Application for an Incidental Take Permit; Diamond Spring Wind Project Habitat Conservation Plan for the Endangered American Burying Beetle in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an application from Diamond Spring Wind, LLC for an ITP pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. The application includes habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the American burying beetle (ABB) in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma. The HCP and associated incidental take permit (ITP) would authorize incidental take resulting from activities covered by the HCP (e.g., construction, infrastructure, maintenance and habitat restoration). We also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment (dEA) that has been prepared to evaluate the ITP application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. We are making the permit application package, including the HCP and dEA, available for public review and comment. DATES: Submission of Comments: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before November 21, 2019. ADDRESSES: Obtaining documents: The documents this notice announces, as well as any comments and other materials that we receive, are available for public inspection by any of the following means. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\22OCN1.SGM 22OCN1 56470 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 204 / Tuesday, October 22, 2019 / Notices • Internet: You may obtain electronic copies of the dEA and HCP on the Service’s website at http://www.fws.gov/ southwest/es/oklahoma/. • In-Person: Copies of the DEA and HCP are available for public inspection and review, by appointment (telephone 918–581–7458) and written request only, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the following locations: ➢ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 500 Gold Avenue SW, Room 6034, Albuquerque, NM 87103 ➢ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 9014 East 21st Street, Tulsa, OK 74129. Submitting comments: You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: • Email: okes_nepa@fws.gov; or • Facsimile: 918–581–7467, Attn: OKES Diamond Spring Wind HCP EA. • U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office (at the Tulsa street address above). Please specify that your information request or comments concern the Diamond Spring Wind EA/HCP. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonna Polk, by U.S. mail at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office (at the Tulsa street address above), or by phone at 918–581–7458. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800–877– 8339. We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Diamond Spring Wind, LLC for an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1539(c)). The application includes a habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the American burying beetle (ABB) in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma. Diamond Spring Wind, LLC is developing the Diamond Spring Wind project in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma. The ITP would authorize incidental take of ABB resulting from activities associated with construction of approximately 137 wind turbines (i.e., 112 primary and 25 alternate turbine locations); associated infrastructure facilities, including roads, underground collector lines, meteorological towers, a substation, a 345–kV transmission line, crane paths, and/or maintenance; and habitat restoration activities. We also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment (dEA) that has been prepared to evaluate the permit application in accordance with the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:02 Oct 21, 2019 Jkt 250001 requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1501.7, 1506.6, and 1508.22). We are making the ITP application package, including the HCP and dEA, available for public review and comment. Background Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened (16 U.S.C. 1531–1544). Under section 3 of the ESA, the term ‘‘take’’ means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term ‘‘harm’’ is further defined by regulation as an act which actually kills or injures wildlife. Such acts may include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Secretary of the Interior may authorize the taking of federally listed species if such taking occurs incidental to otherwise legal activities and where a conservation plan has been developed under ESA 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) the alternative actions to such taking that an applicant considered and the reasons why such alternatives are not being utilized; and (4) other measures that the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan. Issuance criteria under section 10(a)(2)(B) for an incidental take permit requires the Service to find that (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 measures, if any, we require as necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan will be met. Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively. Proposed Action The proposed action is the issuance of a 5-year ITP to authorize incidental take PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 of ABB resulting from activities covered by the HCP and associated with construction of the proposed Diamond Spring Wind project in Johnston and Pontotoc Counties, Oklahoma. The plan area is 930.4 acres (ac), of which 568.74 ac are considered favorable ABB habitat and 361.67 ac are considered unfavorable ABB habitat. The proposed HCP, which must meet the requirements in section 10(a)(2)(A) of the ESA, was developed in coordination with the Service and would be implemented by Diamond Spring Wind, LLC. The proposed action will allow for Diamond Spring Wind, LLC to comply with the ESA, and their renewable wind-generated energy would be made available to public utilities. Covered activities in the HCP include construction of approximately 137 wind turbines (including 112 primary and 25 alternate turbine locations); associated infrastructure facilities, including roads, underground collector lines, meteorological towers, a substation, a 345-kV transmission line, an operation and maintenance building, and construction areas; and habitat restoration activities. The applicant proposes to minimize and mitigate impacts to ABB through conservation measures identified in the HCP, as well as through the purchase of 177.92 credits (ac) at a Service-approved conservation bank with a service territory that includes the plan area, or through the undertaking of other measures approved by the Service consistent with existing mitigation policies. Alternatives We considered one alternative to the proposed action as part of the environmental assessment process: The no-action alternative. The no-action alternative represents estimated future conditions without the application for, or issuance of, an ITP. No-action represents the status quo. Under the no-action alternative, Diamond Spring Wind, LLC would comply with the ESA by avoiding impacts (take) to the ABB where practicable. If take could not be avoided and there is Federal involvement in the project (for example, a Federal permit such as a Corps of Engineers section 404 Clean Water Act permit, authorization, or funding exists), Diamond Spring Wind, LLC could receive take coverage through a biological opinion issued by the Service to the Federal action agency. If there is no Federal involvement in the project, Diamond Spring Wind, LLC could apply for an ITP from the Service. E:\FR\FM\22OCN1.SGM 22OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 204 / Tuesday, October 22, 2019 / Notices Next Steps DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR We will evaluate the permit application, associated documents, and comments we receive to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements of the ESA, NEPA, and implementing regulations. If we determine all requirements are met, we will approve the HCP and issue the ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA to Diamond Spring Wind, LLC for take of ABB in accordance with the terms of the HCP and specific terms and conditions of the authorizing permit. We will not make our final decision until after the end of the 30-day public comment period, and we will fully consider all comments we receive during the public comment period. Fish and Wildlife Service Public Availability of Comments Written comments we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Requests for copies of comments will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA, and Service and Department of the Interior policies and procedures. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that the 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. 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 the authority of section 10(c) of the ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA (42 U.S.C 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Dated: October 10, 2019. Amy Lueders, Regional Director, Southwest Region. [FR Doc. 2019–23022 Filed 10–21–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:02 Oct 21, 2019 Jkt 250001 [FWS–R4–ES–2019–N146; FXES11140400000–190–FF04EF2000] Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink, Blue-Tailed Mole Skink, and Florida Scrub-Jay, Highlands County, FL; Categorical Exclusion Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment and information. AGENCY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce receipt of an application from Palmetto Lake Placid-Lakes Blvd., LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. The applicant requests an ITP to take the federally listed sand skink, blue-tailed mole skink, and Florida scrub-jay incidental to construction in Highlands County, Florida. We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP), and the Service’s preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as ‘‘low-effect,’’ categorically excluded, under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. DATES: We must receive your written comments by November 21, 2019. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may obtain copies of the documents by any of the following methods: • Telephone: Heather Hitt, 772–469– 4267. • Email: heather_hitt@fws.gov. • U.S. mail: Heather Hitt, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office, Attn: Permit number TE50012D–0, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960–3559. • In person: The documents may be reviewed by appointment during normal business hours at the above address. Please call to make an appointment. • Fax: Heather Hitt, 772–562–4288, Attn.: Permit number TE50012D–0. Submitting Comments: If you wish to submit comments on any of the documents, you may do so in writing via the above email address, U.S. mail address, or fax number, or you may hand-deliver comments to the above address during regular business hours. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather Hitt, by U.S. mail (see SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 56471 ADDRESSES) or via phone at 772–469– 4267. Individuals who are hearing impaired or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877– 8339 for TTY assistance. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce receipt of an application from Palmetto Lake Placid-Lakes Blvd., LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The applicant requests the ITP to take the federally listed sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi) and bluetailed mole skink (Eumeces egregius lividus) (skinks) and Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) (scrub-jays) incidental to the construction of a commercial development (project) in Highlands County, Florida. We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) and the Service’s preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as ‘‘low-effect,’’ categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). To make this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. Project Palmetto Lake Placid-Lakes Blvd., LLC requests a 5-year ITP to take skinks and scrub-jays incidental to the conversion of approximately 1.51 acres of occupied skink and scrub-jay foraging and sheltering habitat for the construction of a commercial development located on a 151-acre parcel in Sections 10 and 15, Township 37 South, Range 29 East, Highlands County, Florida. The applicant proposes to mitigate for take of the skinks and scrub-jays by purchasing credits equivalent to 3.02 acres of skinkoccupied habitat from the Backbone Conservation Bank and to 3.02 acres of scrub-jay occupied habitat from the Tippen Bay Scrub-Jay Conservation Bank. The Service would require the applicant to purchase the credits prior to engaging in land clearing activities on the parcel. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made available to the public. While you may request that we withhold your personal E:\FR\FM\22OCN1.SGM 22OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 204 (Tuesday, October 22, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 56469-56471]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-23022]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2019-N137; FXES11140200000-201-FF02ENEH00]


Draft Environmental Assessment for an Application for an 
Incidental Take Permit; Diamond Spring Wind Project Habitat 
Conservation Plan for the Endangered American Burying Beetle in 
Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an 
application from Diamond Spring Wind, LLC for an ITP pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act. The application includes habitat conservation 
plan (HCP) for the American burying beetle (ABB) in Pontotoc and 
Johnston Counties, Oklahoma. The HCP and associated incidental take 
permit (ITP) would authorize incidental take resulting from activities 
covered by the HCP (e.g., construction, infrastructure, maintenance and 
habitat restoration). We also announce the availability of a draft 
environmental assessment (dEA) that has been prepared to evaluate the 
ITP application in accordance with the requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act. We are making the permit application package, 
including the HCP and dEA, available for public review and comment.

DATES: Submission of Comments: We will accept comments received or 
postmarked on or before November 21, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining documents: The documents this notice announces, as 
well as any comments and other materials that we receive, are available 
for public inspection by any of the following means.

[[Page 56470]]

     Internet: You may obtain electronic copies of the dEA and 
HCP on the Service's website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/oklahoma/.
     In-Person: Copies of the DEA and HCP are available for 
public inspection and review, by appointment (telephone 918-581-7458) 
and written request only, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 
the following locations:
    [rtarr8] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 500 Gold Avenue SW, Room 
6034, Albuquerque, NM 87103
    [rtarr8] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 9014 East 21st Street, 
Tulsa, OK 74129.
    Submitting comments: You may submit written comments by one of the 
following methods:
     Email: [email protected]; or
     Facsimile: 918-581-7467, Attn: OKES Diamond Spring Wind 
HCP EA.
     U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, Oklahoma Ecological Services 
Field Office (at the Tulsa street address above).
    Please specify that your information request or comments concern 
the Diamond Spring Wind EA/HCP.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonna Polk, by U.S. mail at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office 
(at the Tulsa street address above), or by phone at 918-581-7458. If 
you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the 
Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), have received an application from Diamond Spring Wind, LLC 
for an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1539(c)). The 
application includes a habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the American 
burying beetle (ABB) in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma. 
Diamond Spring Wind, LLC is developing the Diamond Spring Wind project 
in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma. The ITP would authorize 
incidental take of ABB resulting from activities associated with 
construction of approximately 137 wind turbines (i.e., 112 primary and 
25 alternate turbine locations); associated infrastructure facilities, 
including roads, underground collector lines, meteorological towers, a 
substation, a 345-kV transmission line, crane paths, and/or 
maintenance; and habitat restoration activities. We also announce the 
availability of a draft environmental assessment (dEA) that has been 
prepared to evaluate the permit application in accordance with the 
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended 
(NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its implementing regulations (40 
CFR 1501.7, 1506.6, and 1508.22). We are making the ITP application 
package, including the HCP and dEA, available for public review and 
comment.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ``take'' of fish and wildlife 
species listed as endangered or threatened (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544). Under 
section 3 of the ESA, the term ``take'' means to harass, harm, pursue, 
hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to 
engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term ``harm'' is 
further defined by regulation as an act which actually kills or injures 
wildlife. Such acts may include significant habitat modification or 
degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by 
significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3).
    Under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Secretary of the Interior 
may authorize the taking of federally listed species if such taking 
occurs incidental to otherwise legal activities and where a 
conservation plan has been developed under ESA 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) the alternative actions to such taking 
that an applicant considered and the reasons why such alternatives are 
not being utilized; and (4) other measures that the Service may require 
as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan. 
Issuance criteria under section 10(a)(2)(B) for an incidental take 
permit requires the Service to find that (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 measures, if any, we require as necessary or appropriate for 
the purposes of the plan will be met. Regulations governing permits for 
endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, 
respectively.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is the issuance of a 5-year ITP to authorize 
incidental take of ABB resulting from activities covered by the HCP and 
associated with construction of the proposed Diamond Spring Wind 
project in Johnston and Pontotoc Counties, Oklahoma. The plan area is 
930.4 acres (ac), of which 568.74 ac are considered favorable ABB 
habitat and 361.67 ac are considered unfavorable ABB habitat.
    The proposed HCP, which must meet the requirements in section 
10(a)(2)(A) of the ESA, was developed in coordination with the Service 
and would be implemented by Diamond Spring Wind, LLC. The proposed 
action will allow for Diamond Spring Wind, LLC to comply with the ESA, 
and their renewable wind-generated energy would be made available to 
public utilities. Covered activities in the HCP include construction of 
approximately 137 wind turbines (including 112 primary and 25 alternate 
turbine locations); associated infrastructure facilities, including 
roads, underground collector lines, meteorological towers, a 
substation, a 345-kV transmission line, an operation and maintenance 
building, and construction areas; and habitat restoration activities. 
The applicant proposes to minimize and mitigate impacts to ABB through 
conservation measures identified in the HCP, as well as through the 
purchase of 177.92 credits (ac) at a Service-approved conservation bank 
with a service territory that includes the plan area, or through the 
undertaking of other measures approved by the Service consistent with 
existing mitigation policies.

Alternatives

    We considered one alternative to the proposed action as part of the 
environmental assessment process: The no-action alternative. The no-
action alternative represents estimated future conditions without the 
application for, or issuance of, an ITP. No-action represents the 
status quo.
    Under the no-action alternative, Diamond Spring Wind, LLC would 
comply with the ESA by avoiding impacts (take) to the ABB where 
practicable. If take could not be avoided and there is Federal 
involvement in the project (for example, a Federal permit such as a 
Corps of Engineers section 404 Clean Water Act permit, authorization, 
or funding exists), Diamond Spring Wind, LLC could receive take 
coverage through a biological opinion issued by the Service to the 
Federal action agency. If there is no Federal involvement in the 
project, Diamond Spring Wind, LLC could apply for an ITP from the 
Service.

[[Page 56471]]

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the permit application, associated documents, and 
comments we receive to determine whether the permit application meets 
the requirements of the ESA, NEPA, and implementing regulations. If we 
determine all requirements are met, we will approve the HCP and issue 
the ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA to Diamond Spring Wind, 
LLC for take of ABB in accordance with the terms of the HCP and 
specific terms and conditions of the authorizing permit. We will not 
make our final decision until after the end of the 30-day public 
comment period, and we will fully consider all comments we receive 
during the public comment period.

Public Availability of Comments

    Written comments we receive become part of the public record 
associated with this action. Requests for copies of comments will be 
handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA, and 
Service and Department of the Interior policies and procedures. Before 
including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that the 
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. 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 the authority of section 10(c) of the 
ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA 
(42 U.S.C 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6).

    Dated: October 10, 2019.
Amy Lueders,
Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2019-23022 Filed 10-21-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P