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Endangered Species Permits
NiSource Habitat Conservation Plan
NiSource is a natural gas distribution company that applied for an Incidental Take Permit for the take of threatened and endangered species that may result from their routine operation and maintenance activities.
Final Habitat Conservation Plan and
Environmental Impact Statement
June 7, 2013 Federal Register Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, Habitat Conservation Plan (2-page PDF )
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 applied for 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 15,562-mile network of interstate natural gas pipelines across 14 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 developed an HCP in conjunction with its application for an Incidental Take Permit. The HCP identifies how impacts to listed species from NiSource maintenance activities will be avoided and minimized and how any resulting “take” will be mitigated. 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 worked with NiSource, as we do with other Incidental Take Permit applicants, to provide technical guidance as NiSource prepared 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 prepared an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate those impacts. We will complete our biological opinion and incidental take permit following the notice of the availability of the Final EIS and HCP.
NiSource's HCP is unusual because it covers a wide geographic area and multiple species. However, the process that we used 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.
General Information about HCPs and the NEPA process:
Last updated: June 11, 2013