[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 178 (Friday, September 13, 2013)]
[Pages 56729-56730]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22204]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-ES-2012-0059; 50120-1112-0000-F2]

Final Environmental Impact Statement, Habitat Conservation Plan, 
and Implementing Agreement; Beech Ridge Wind Power Project, Greenbrier 
and Nicholas Counties, West Virginia

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: final environmental impact statement, 
habitat conservation plan, and implementing agreement.


SUMMARY: Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is advising the public of the 
availability of a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) associated 
with an application received from Beech Ridge Energy, LLC and Beech 
Ridge Energy II, LLC (collectively referred to as Beech Ridge Energy, 
applicant), for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). We also announce the 
availability of the Beech Ridge Energy Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), 
prepared in accordance with the ESA, and an Implementing Agreement 
(IA), part of its incidental take permit application. If issued, the 
permit would authorize incidental take of the federally listed 
endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and Virginia big-eared bat 
(Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus) from construction, operation, 
maintenance, and decommissioning of the Beech Ridge Wind Power Project. 
Beech Ridge Energy is requesting a 25-year permit term.

DATES: The Service's decision on issuance of the permit will occur no 
sooner than 30 days after the publication of the Environmental 
Protection Agency notice of the final EIS in the Federal Register and 
will be documented in a Record of Decision.

ADDRESSES: Document availability: You may obtain copies of the 
documents on the Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov at Docket 
Number FWS-R5-ES-2012-0059, or by any of the methods described in 
Availability of Documents (under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

Supervisor, West Virginia Field Office, 694 Beverly Pike, Elkins, WV 
26241, telephone 304-636-6586, extension 18.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We received an application from Beech Ridge 
Energy for an ITP for the operation and maintenance of 67 existing 
turbines in the project area; the construction, operation, and 
maintenance of up to 33 additional turbines and associated 
infrastructure in the project area; the implementation of the HCP 
during the life of the permit; and the decommissioning of the entire 
100-turbine project and associated infrastructure at the end of its 
operational life. If approved, the permit would be for a 25-year period 
and would authorize incidental take of the endangered Indiana bat 
(Myotis sodalis) and Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii 
virginianus) (covered species). A conservation program to minimize and 
mitigate for the impacts of the incidental take would be implemented by 
Beech Ridge Energy as described in the final Beech Ridge Wind Energy 
Project HCP. To comply with the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), we 
prepared an EIS that describes the proposed action and possible 
alternatives and analyzes the effects of alternatives on the human 

Availability of Documents

    The final HCP and final EIS are available on the West Virginia 
Field Office's Web site at: http://www.fws.gov/westvirginiafieldoffice/beech_ridge_wind_power.html, or at: http://www.regulations.gov under 
Docket Number FWS-R5-ES-2012-0059. Copies of the final HCP and final 
EIS will also be available for public review during regular business 
hours at the West Virginia Field Office, 694 Beverly Pike, Elkins, WV 
26241. In addition, paper copies of the final HCP and final

[[Page 56730]]

EIS may be viewed at the following public libraries: (1) Greenbrier 
County Public Library, 152 Robert W. McCormick Drive, Lewisburg, West 
Virginia; (2) Kanawha County Public Library, 123 Capitol Street, 
Charleston, West Virginia; and (3) Rupert Public Library, 602 Nicholas 
Street, Rupert, West Virginia. Those who do not have access to the Web 
site or cannot visit our office or local libraries can request CD-ROM 
copies of the documents by telephone at 304-636-6586, or by letter to 
the West Virginia Field Office (see the address under FOR FURTHER 

National Environmental Policy Act

    We formally initiated an environmental review of the project 
through publication of a notice of intent to prepare an EIS in the 
Federal Register on July 22, 2010 (75 FR 42767). That notice also 
announced a public scoping period, during which we invited interested 
parties to provide written comments expressing their issues or concerns 
related to the proposal and to attend a public scoping meeting held in 
Rupert, West Virginia. Based on public scoping comments, we prepared a 
draft EIS for the proposed action and made it available for public 
review on August 24, 2012 (77 FR 51554). Public comments were accepted 
until October 23, 2012. Based on public comments on the draft EIS, we 
prepared responses to public comments and a final EIS.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the permit application, associated documents, and 
public comments in reaching a final decision on whether the application 
meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). We also will evaluate whether issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) 
permit would comply with section 7 of the ESA by conducting an intra-
Service section 7 consultation. We will use the results of this 
consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final 
analysis to determine whether to issue a permit. If the requirements 
are met, we will issue the permit to the applicant. We will issue a 
Record of Decision and issue or deny the permit no sooner than 30 days 
after publication of the notice of availability of the final EIS.


    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1531, 1539(c)) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22), NEPA, 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6; 43 CFR Part 46), and section 106 of the NHPA (16 U.S.C. 470, 
470f) and its implementing regulations (36 CFR Part 800).

    Dated: August 16, 2013.
Paul R. Phifer,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Northeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-22204 Filed 9-12-13; 8:45 am]