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Endangered Species Permits
NiSource Habitat Conservation Plan
Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement
Comment Period Closed December 13, 2011
News Releases and Federal Register Notices
Federal Register Notice of Availability and Extension of Public Comment Period (October 14, 2011): Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of Applicaiton for Incidental Take Permit; NiSource, Inc.
News Release (July 13, 2011): Service Announces Multi-state, Multi-species Draft Habitat Conservation Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Federal Register Notice of Availability: Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of Application for Incidental Take Permit; NiSource, Inc.
Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers: Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and EIS Available for Public Review and Comment
Draft HCP and EIS Documents for Public Review and Comment
NiSource Incidental Take Permit Application (12-page PDF)
Strategic Conservation Planning Using a Green Infrastructure Approach - The NiSource Approach to Mitigation Planning
View written public comments received in response to the Notice of Availability of the NiSource Draft HCP and EIS
NiSource is a natural gas distribution company that is seeking an Incidental Take Permit for the take of threatened and endangered species that may result from their routine operation and maintenance activities. The company operates a 17,500-mile network of interstate natural gas pipelines across 17 states. Routine operation and maintenance includes repairing, upgrading, replacing and expanding pipelines and associated infrastructure. These activities are sometimes in or near endangered or threatened species habitat, and thus could result in taking a listed species. NiSource is currently developing an HCP in conjunction with its application for an Incidental Take Permit. The permit would cover all pipeline work within a one mile-wide corridor (in effect, one-half mile on either side of the centerline of the pipe) that might result in take of a listed species. An Incidental Take Permit does not authorize the pipeline work itself, only the take of listed species.
Role of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the NiSource HCP Process
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the federal agency that provides the Incidental Take Permit. Our role is to evaluate the HCP and decide whether to issue an Incidental Take Permit. We will work with NiSource, as we do with other Incidental Take Permit applicants, to provide technical guidance as NiSource prepares their HCP. In addition, it is our responsibility to evaluate the federal action of issuing the Incidental Take Permit under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Also, it is our responsibility to evaluate the environmental impacts that will result if the permit is issued and the HCP implemented, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Therefore, we will prepare both a biological opinion and an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the impacts of the NiSource Incidental Take Permit and HCP.
NiSource's HCP is unusual because it covers a wide geographic area and multiple species. However, the process that we use to evaluate the HCP, review the environmental impacts, and consider NiSource's application for an Incidental Take Permit is the same as it is for other permit applications.
Information about the Scope of the NiSource HCP
General Information about HCPs and the NEPA process:
National Environmental Policy Act and Environmental Impact Statement
A Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the NiSource HCP was published on Oct. 11, 2007. Public comments on the scope of the EIS were accepted through December 8, 2007.
Last updated: February 25, 2013