[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 123 (Thursday, June 26, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36284-36285]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-14774]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 402 and 424

[Docket Nos. FWS-HQ-ES-2012-0096; FWS-R9-ES-2011-0072; 120106026-4518-
02; 120106025-4514-02; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-AX86; 1018-AX88; 0648-BB80; 0648-BB79


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Changes to the 
Definitions and Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat

AGENCIES: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Marine 
Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 
Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed rules; extension of comment periods.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National 
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively referred to as the 
``Services'' or ``we''), announce the extension of the public comment 
periods on our May 12, 2014, proposals to revise definitions and 
regulations regarding critical habitat. Comments previously submitted 
need not be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in 
preparation of each final rule.

DATES: We will consider comments received or postmarked on or before 
October 9, 2014. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES, below) must be received by 11:59 
p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In 
the Search box, enter the appropriate docket number; for the proposed 
revised definition of destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat, use FWS-R9-ES-2011-0072, and for the proposed rule to amend 
the regulations for designating critical habitat, use FWS-HQ-ES-2012-
0096. You may submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment Now!'' Please 
ensure that you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting 
your comment.
     U.S. mail:
    [cir] Submit comments on the proposed revised definition of 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2011-0072; Division of 
Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 
N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    [cir] Submit comments on the proposed rule to amend the regulations 
for designating critical habitat to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: 
Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2012-0096; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 
2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally 
means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see 
the Public Comments section, below, for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
    For proposed revised definition of destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat: Patrice Ashfield, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Division of Environmental Review, 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, Suite 420, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone 703/358-2171; 
facsimile 703/358-1735; or Cathryn E. Tortorici, National Marine 
Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources, Interagency 
Cooperation Division, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910; 
telephone 301/427-8405;

[[Page 36285]]

facsimile 301/713-0376. If you use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800/
877-8339.
    For the proposed rule to amend the regulations for designating 
critical habitat: Douglas Krofta, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Division of Conservation and Classification, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Suite 420, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone 703/358-2527; facsimile 703/
358-1735; or Marta Nammack, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office 
of Protected Resources, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 
20910; telephone 301/427-8469; facsimile 301/713-0376. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800/877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comments

    We will accept written comments and information during this 
extended comment period on our proposed rule to revise the definition 
of destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat and our 
proposed rule to amend the regulations for designating critical habitat 
that were published in the Federal Register on May 12, 2014 (79 FR 
27060 and 79 FR 27066, respectively). We will consider information we 
receive from all interested parties on or before the close of the 
comment period (see DATES).
    If you submitted comments or information on either proposed rule 
during the public comment period that began May 12, 2014, please do not 
resubmit them. We have incorporated them into the public record, and we 
will fully consider them in the preparation of our final rules.
    You may submit your comments and materials regarding either 
proposed rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request 
that you send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES.
    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
comment--including any personal identifying information--will be posted 
on the Web site. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov as well. If you submit a hardcopy comment that 
includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top 
of your document that we withhold this information from public review. 
However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Background

    On May 12, 2014, we published three related documents concerning 
designation and implementation of critical habitat under the Act: Two 
proposed regulation amendments and one draft policy. This notice 
extends the comment period for the two proposed regulation amendments, 
and a separate notice published elsewhere in today's issue of the 
Federal Register extends the comment period for the draft policy. The 
two proposed rules for which we are extending the comment period in 
this document propose to revise definitions and regulations regarding 
critical habitat.
    Specifically, the proposed rule to revise the definition of 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat proposes to 
amend title 50, part 402, of the Code of Federal Regulations, which 
implements the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Part 402 establishes the procedural regulations 
governing interagency cooperation under section 7 of the Act. The Act 
requires Federal agencies, in consultation with and with the assistance 
of the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce, to insure that their 
actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat of such species. In 1986, the 
Services established a definition for ``destruction or adverse 
modification'' (Sec.  402.02) that was found to be invalid by the U.S. 
Court of Appeals for the Fifth (2001) and Ninth (2004) Circuits. We 
propose to amend part 402 to replace the invalidated definition with 
one that is consistent with the Act and the circuit court opinions.
    The proposed rule to revise the regulations for designating 
critical habitat proposes to amend portions of title 50, part 424, of 
the Code of Federal Regulations, which also implements the Act. Part 
424 clarifies, interprets, and implements portions of the Act 
concerning the procedures and criteria used for adding species to the 
Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants and designating 
and revising critical habitat. Specifically, we propose to amend 
portions of part 424 that clarify procedures for designating and 
revising critical habitat. The proposed amendments would make minor 
edits to the scope and purpose, add and remove some definitions, and 
clarify the criteria for designating critical habitat.

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Endangered Species Program, Headquarters Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.

Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: June 17, 2014.
Michael J. Bean,
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and 
Parks.
    Dated: June 17, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-14774 Filed 6-25-14; 8:45 am]
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