The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a process to engage the public as it works toward revising a rule governing how permits are issued for the non-purposeful take of bald and golden eagles. These regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act relate to permits where the take of eagles is associated with, but not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities.
The Service will host five public information meetings in various locations around the country and open a 90-day public comment period. The meetings will be held on July 22, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif.; July 24, 2014, in Minneapolis, Minn.; July 29, 2014, in Albuquerque, N.M.; July 31, 2014, in Denver, Colo.; and Aug. 7, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
“The Service is committed to an open and transparent process, and we value the additional information public input can provide to make the final rule robust and as effective as possible,” said Service Director Dan Ashe.
The public information sessions will serve as scoping meetings as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Service will review information from the meetings and use it to prepare either a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and proposed revisions to the permit regulations. The Service will then open another comment period for an additional round of public review and input before finalizing the EA/EIS and revised permit regulations.
As part of this scoping process, the Service is requesting information from government agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties in light of the Service’s overall reexamination of its 2009 permit regulations and eagle management objectives. This reexamination includes, among other things, a December 2013 revision to regulations extending the maximum duration for programmatic eagle non-purposeful take permits from five to 30 years.
“The bald eagle's recovery from near extinction in the lower 48 states is an American success story, written in part by the Service, the dedication of its staff, its leadership in eagle conservation, and its administration and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act,” said Ashe. “The Service remains committed to the conservation of bald and golden eagles, and the final rule will be consistent with the long-term conservation of eagle populations across the nation.”
The process to revise the eagle rule began in April 2012, when the Service put forth an Advanced Notice of Rulemaking (ANPR) about permits for non-purposeful take of eagles. The ANPR highlighted three issues on which the Service invited public comment: eagle population management objectives, compensatory mitigation and programmatic permit issuance criteria. The upcoming public information meetings are a continuation of this process.
For more information about the public information meetings, please visit http://www.eaglescoping.org
Written comments must be submitted on or before Sept. 22, 2014, by one of the following methods:
Electronically: Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov FWS-R2- MB-2011-0094 or by hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail to Public Comments Processing, Attention: Eagle Management and Permitting FWS-R2-MB-2011-0094; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203. Comments will be posted all information received on http://www.regulations.gov
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