[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 227 (Tuesday, November 25, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 70154-70155]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-27872]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056; FXES11130900000C2-134-FF09E32000]
RIN 1018-AY46


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Revision 
to the Regulations for the Nonessential Experimental Population of the 
Mexican Wolf

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; availability of a final environmental impact 
statement and a draft record of decision.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), make 
available the final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the 
proposed revisions to the regulations for the nonessential experimental 
population designation of the Mexican wolf and our draft record of 
decision (ROD), under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as 
amended. Our intended action is to revise the regulations established 
in our 1998 Final Rule for the nonessential experimental population of 
the Mexican wolf. We also propose to extend the authority of the 
Mexican Wolf Recovery Program's section 10(a)(1)(A) research and 
recovery permit to areas that are outside of the Mexican Wolf 
Experimental Population Area. In the EIS we analyzed the environmental 
consequences of a range of alternatives, including the Proposed Action 
and No Action alternative, for our proposed rule. The action would be 
implemented through a final rule, a revised section 10(a)(1)(A) 
research and recovery permit, and the provision of Federal funding.

DATES: We will consider comments received on or before December 27, 
2014. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 
the closing date. We will issue a final ROD no sooner than December 27, 
2014.

ADDRESSES: Document availability: The final EIS and draft ROD are 
available electronically on http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. 
FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056, on the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program's Web site at 
http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/, or from the office listed 
in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Document submission: You may submit written comments on the final 
EIS and draft ROD by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056, which is the 
docket number for this rulemaking. You may submit a comment by clicking 
on ``Comment Now!''. Please ensure that you have found the correct 
rulemaking before submitting your comment.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: 
BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We request that you send comments on the final EIS and draft ROD 
only by the methods described above. 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). To increase our efficiency in downloading 
comments, groups providing mass submissions should submit their 
comments in an Excel file.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sherry Barrett, Mexican Wolf Recovery 
Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological 
Services Field Office, 2105 Osuna Road, NE., Albuquerque, NM 87113; by 
telephone 505-761-4704; or by facsimile 505-346-2542. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339. Further contact 
information can be found on the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program's Web 
site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this Federal Register document, we 
announce the availability of the final EIS and our draft ROD for the 
Proposed Revision to the Regulations for the Nonessential Experimental 
Population of the Mexican Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi). We developed the 
final EIS and our draft ROD in compliance with the agency decision 
making requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
as amended.
    We have described all alternatives in detail, and we have evaluated 
them in our final EIS. Our draft decision is based on our review of the 
alternatives and their environmental consequences as described in our 
final EIS.

Reviewing Documents

    You may obtain a copy of the final EIS and draft ROD by going to 
the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Web site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/. Alternatively, you may obtain a compact disk 
with an electronic copy of the final EIS by writing to Ms. Sherry 
Barrett, Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT). The final EIS and draft ROD will also be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 
4:30 p.m.) at the New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, 2105 
Osuna Road NE., Albuquerque, NM 87113. In cooperation with the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southwest Region, we have 
also established information repositories at the Supervisor Offices for 
the National Forests throughout Arizona and New Mexico. Links to the 
National Forests with the addresses of the supervisor offices are 
available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/r3.

Background

    On June 13, 2013 (78 FR 35719), we published a proposed rule to 
revise the existing nonessential experimental population designation of 
the Mexican wolf. That proposal had a 90-day comment period ending 
September 11, 2013. On August 5, 2013 (78 FR 47268), we published a 
notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement in 
conjunction with the proposed rule to revise the existing nonessential 
experimental population designation of the Mexican wolf. That notice of 
intent to prepare an environmental impact statement had a 45-day 
comment period ending September 19, 2013. On September 5, 2013 (78 FR 
54613), we extended the public comment period on the proposed rule to 
revise the existing nonessential experimental population designation of 
the Mexican wolf to end on October 28, 2013, and announced a public 
hearing. On October 28, 2013 (78 FR 64192), we once again extended the 
public comment period on the proposed rule to revise the existing 
nonessential experimental population designation of the Mexican wolf to 
end on December 17, 2013, and announced public hearings on the proposed 
rule to revise the existing nonessential experimental population 
designation of the Mexican wolf.
    On July 25, 2014 (79 FR 43358), we published a revised proposed 
rule to the

[[Page 70155]]

existing nonessential experimental population designation of the 
Mexican wolf and announced the availability of a draft environmental 
impact statement, the reopening of the public comment period, and the 
holding of public hearings. That proposal had a 60-day comment period 
ending September 23, 2014. We developed our final EIS after assessing 
and considering all comments both individually and collectively. Our 
response to the substantive comments that we received are provided as 
an appendix to the final EIS.

Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials concerning the final EIS 
and the draft ROD by one of the methods listed 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.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as some of the 
supporting documentation we used, will be available for public 
inspection on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-
0056, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the New 
Mexico Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

    Dated: October 31, 2014.
Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2014-27872 Filed 11-24-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P