[Federal Register: August 24, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 165)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 51577-51578]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AF92; RIN 1018-AF95

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Extension of 
Comment Periods and Notice of Availability of Draft Economic Analyses 
on Proposed Critical Habitat Determinations for the Spectacled Eider 
and Steller's Eider

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of extension of comment period and notice 
of availability of draft economic analyses.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of draft economic analyses of the proposed designation of 
critical habitat for the spectacled eider (Somateria fischeri) and the 
Alaska-breeding population of the Steller's eider (Polysticta 
stelleri). We also provide notice that we are extending the comment 
periods on the proposals to allow all interested parties to submit 
written comments on the proposals and on the draft economic analyses. 
Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they will be 
incorporated into the public records and will be fully considered in 
the final rule.

DATES: The comment periods for the proposed rules concerning spectacled 
eiders and Steller's eiders, which previously closed on August 31, 
2000, now close on September 25, 2000. Comments from all interested 
parties must be received by the closing date. Any comments that are 
received after the closing date may not be considered in the final 
decision on these proposals.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft economic analyses are available on the 
Internet at ``www.r7.fws.gov/es/te.html'' or by contacting the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service at the appropriate field office listed below. 
Submit written data or comments on the spectacled eider to the Field 
Supervisor, Ecological Services Field Office, Anchorage, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 605 W. 4th Ave. Rm G-62, Anchorage, AK 99501; fax: 
907/271-2786. Submit written data or comments on the Steller's eider to 
Ted Swem, Northern Alaska Ecological Services, 101 12th Ave., Rm 110, 
Fairbanks, AK 99701; fax 907/456-0208.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For the proposed rule and economic 
analysis concerning spectacled eiders, contact Ann G. Rappoport, Field 
Supervisor, Ecological Services Field Office, Anchorage at the above 
address, phone: 907/271-2787 or toll-free 800/272-4174; fax: 907/271-
2786. For the proposed rule and economic analysis concerning Steller's 
eiders, contact Ted Swem, Endangered Species Branch, at Northern Alaska 
Ecological Services at the above address, phone: 907/456-0441; fax: 



    The spectacled eider is a large seaduck found in marine waters and 
coastal areas from the Nushagak Peninsula of southwestern Alaska north 
to Barrow and east nearly to the Canadian Border. The species is 
threatened by habitat degradation, lead poisoning, increased predation 
rates, and hunting and other human disturbance. The Steller's eider is 
a seaduck found in coastal and marine waters from the eastern Aleutian 
Islands around the western and northern coasts of Alaska to the Canada 
border. The Alaska-breeding population of this species is thought to 
have decreased significantly, but the causes of the suspected decline 
are unknown. On February 8, 2000, the Service published a proposed rule 
(65 FR 6114) to designate critical habitat for the spectacled eider, 
and on March 13, 2000, the Service published a proposed rule (65 FR 
13262) to designate critical habitat for the Alaska-breeding population 
of the Steller's eider.

[[Page 51578]]

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat based upon the best scientific data available and 
after taking into consideration the economic impact of specifying any 
particular area as critical habitat. We may exclude an area from 
critical habitat if we determine that the benefits of excluding the 
area outweigh the benefits of including the area as critical habitat, 
provided such exclusion will not result in the extinction of the 
species. Based upon the previously published proposals to designate 
critical habitat for the spectacled eider and Steller's eider and 
comments previously received during the comment periods, we have 
conducted a draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat 
    The comment period for the proposed rule designating critical 
habitat for spectacled eiders originally closed on May 8, 2000. The 
comment period for the proposed rule designating critical habitat for 
Steller's eiders originally closed on May 12, 2000. We subsequently 
extended the comment periods for both species to June 30, 2000, in 
response to concerns expressed by several parties that the original 
comment periods did not allow adequate time for review and comment by 
affected individuals and communities. Additionally, we anticipated that 
the comment periods for the economic analyses associated with the 
proposed critical habitat designations would be open during June 2000, 
and we wished to solicit comments on the proposed rules and their 
respective economic analyses simultaneously. The development of the 
economic analyses for the proposed critical habitat designations was 
unexpectedly delayed, and we subsequently extended the comment periods 
through August 31, 2000, with the expectation that the economic 
analyses would be available by August 1, 2000.
    We solicit comments on the draft economic analysis as described in 
this notice, as well as any other aspect of the proposed designation of 
critical habitat for the spectacled eider and Steller's eider. Our 
final determination on the proposed critical habitat will take into 
consideration comments and any additional information received by the 
date specified above. All previous comments and information submitted 
during the comment period need not be resubmitted. The comment period 
is extended to September 25, 2000. Written comments may be submitted to 
the appropriate Service office as specified in the ADDRESSES section.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. In certain circumstances, we would 
withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as 
allowable by law. If you wish for us to withhold your name and/or 
address, you must state this request prominently at the beginning of 
your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will 
make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 
    The deadline for requesting public hearings on the proposed rule 
regarding critical habitat for the spectacled eider was March 24, 2000. 
The deadline for requesting public hearings for the proposed rule 
regarding critical habitat for Steller's eider was April 27, 2000. We 
have not extended these deadlines. In order to be considered valid, 
requests for public hearings must have been submitted in writing and 
received at the appropriate office by the relevant deadline.


    The primary author of this notice is Susan Detwiler, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Division of Endangered Species, 1011 E. Tudor Rd., 
Anchorage, AK 99503.


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

    Dated: August 16, 2000.
Gary Edwards,
Acting Regional Director, Region 7, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-21589 Filed 8-23-00; 8:45 am]