[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 37 (Monday, February 25, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 12702-12703]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04150]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 223 and 224

RIN 0648-XT12

Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Rule To List 66 Reef-
Building Coral Species; Proposed Reclassification of Elkhorn Acropora 
palmata and Staghorn Acropora cervicornis Under the Endangered Species 
Act (ESA); Extension of Public Comment Period and Notice of Public 

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Extension of public comment period; notice of public hearing.


SUMMARY: NMFS hereby extends the comment period on the proposed listing 
determinations of 66 reef-building coral species and the proposed 
reclassifications of elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (Acropora 
cervicornis) corals under the ESA until April 6, 2013, and announces a 
public hearing to be held in Silver Spring, MD, on March 12, 2013.

[[Page 12703]]

DATES: Comments and information regarding this proposed rule must be 
received by April 6, 2013. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, 
March 12, 2013, from 6 to 9 p.m. in Silver Spring, MD.

ADDRESSES: The March 12, 2013, hearing will be held at NOAA 
Headquarters, Building 4, NOAA Science Center, 1301 East-West Highway, 
Silver Spring, MD 20910.
    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2010-0036, by any 
of the following methods:
     Electronic submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=[NOAA-NMFS-2010-0036], click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Regulatory Branch Chief, 
Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, 
Honolulu, HI 96814; or Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional 
Office, 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701, Attn: 82 
coral species proposed listing.
     Fax: 808-973-2941; Attn: Protected Resources Regulatory 
Branch Chief; or 727-824-5309; Attn: Protected Resources Assistant 
Regional Administrator.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    You can obtain the petition and reference materials regarding this 
determination via the NMFS Pacific Island Regional Office Web site: 
http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/PRD_coral.html; NMFS Southeast Regional 
Office Web site: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/esa/82CoralSpecies.htm; 
NMFS HQ Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html; or by submitting a request to the Regulatory Branch 
Chief, Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, 
Honolulu, HI 96814, Attn: 82 coral species.

Regional Office, 808-944-2137; Lance Smith, NMFS, Pacific Island 
Regional Office, 808-944-2258; Jennifer Moore, NMFS, Southeast Regional 
Office, 727-824-5312; or Marta Nammack, NMFS, Office of Protected 
Resources, 301-427-8469.



    On December 7, 2012, we published a proposed rule in the Federal 
Register (77 FR 73219) in response to a petition submitted by the 
Center for Biological Diversity to list 83 reef-building coral species 
as threatened or endangered under the ESA. We concluded that 12 of the 
petitioned coral species warrant listing as endangered (5 Caribbean and 
7 Indo-Pacific), 54 coral species warrant listing as threatened (2 
Caribbean and 52 Indo-Pacific), and 16 coral species (all Indo-Pacific) 
do not warrant listing as threatened or endangered under the ESA. We 
also determined that two Caribbean coral species currently listed 
warrant reclassification from threatened to endangered.
    We subsequently received requests to extend the public comment 
period for an additional 90 days. We have determined that an extension 
of 30 days, until April 6, 2013, making the full comment period 120 
days, will allow adequate time for the public to thoroughly review and 
comment on the proposed rule while still providing the agency with 
sufficient time to meet our statutory deadlines.

Public Hearing

    Joint Commerce-Interior ESA implementing regulations state that the 
Secretary shall promptly hold at least one public hearing if any person 
requests one within 45 days of publication of a proposed regulation to 
list a species or to designate critical habitat (see 50 CFR 
424.16(c)(3)). We received a request for a public hearing to be held in 
the DC area. In addition to the 20 public hearings we held in Puerto 
Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Hawaii, Guam, the Northern 
Mariana Islands, and American Samoa, we will hold an additional public 
hearing in Silver Spring, MD.
    In past ESA rule-makings we have conducted traditional public 
hearings, consisting of recorded oral testimony from interested 
individuals. This format, although providing a means for public input, 
does not provide opportunities for dialogue and information exchange. 
We believe that the traditional public hearing format can be improved 
upon by also including a brief presentation on the results of the 
status review of 83 species of reef-building corals and other topics of 
    The preferred means for providing public comment to the official 
record is via written testimony prepared in advance of the hearing 
which may also be presented orally. Blank ``comment sheets'' will be 
provided at the hearing for those without prepared written comments, 
and opportunity will also be provided for additional oral testimony. 
There is no need to register for this hearing.
    In scheduling this additional public hearing, we have anticipated 
that many affected stakeholders and members of the public may prefer to 
discuss the proposed listing directly with staff during the public 
comment period. However, this public hearing is not the only 
opportunity for the public to provide input on this proposal. The 
public and stakeholders are encouraged to continue to comment and 
provide input to NMFS on the proposal (via the Federal e-Rulemaking 
Portal www.regulations.gov, correspondence, or fax; see ADDRESSES) up 
until the scheduled close of the comment period on April 6, 2013.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: February 19, 2013.
Helen M. Golde,
Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-04150 Filed 2-22-13; 8:45 am]