[Federal Register: April 13, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 71)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 19158-19159]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AU49

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Threatened Status for Penstemon grahamii (Graham's beardtongue) With 
Critical Habitat

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period and notice of 
public hearing.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
reopening of the public comment period on the proposed rule to 
determine threatened status and to designate critical habitat for 
Penstemon grahamii (Graham's beardtongue) under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973 as amended (Act). Reopening the public comment period will 
allow an additional opportunity for interested parties to comment on 
the proposed rule. Comments previously submitted on the proposed rule 
need not be resubmitted as they have already been incorporated into the 
public record and will be fully considered in any final decision. We 
will also hold a public hearing on the proposed rule.

DATES: Comments: We will accept written comments on the proposed rule 
until May 19, 2006. Any comments received after the closing date may 
not be considered in the final determination on the proposal. Public 
Hearing: The public hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 
from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

ADDRESSES: Comments: If you wish to comment, you may submit your 
comments and materials by any one of several methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information by mail or hand-
delivery to Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah 
Field Office, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, Utah 
    2. You may fax your comments to Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Utah Field Office at 801-975-3331.
    3. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
fw6_penstemongrahamii@fws.gov. Please see the Public Comments Solicited 

section below for file format and other information about electronic 
    All comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the Utah Field Office.
    Public Hearing: The public hearing will be held at the Uintah 
County Building, 152 East 100 North, Vernal, Utah.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John L. England, Utah Field Office 
(address above), telephone 801-975-3330, extension 138.


Public Comments Solicited

    We expect any final rule resulting from the proposal to be as 
accurate and effective as possible. Therefore, we are soliciting 
comments from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the 
scientific community, industry, or any other interested party 
concerning the proposed rule. Comments particularly are sought 

Critical Habitat

    We seek specific information on:
    (1) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threat (or lack thereof) to this species;
    (2) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, and 
population size of this species, including the locations of any 
additional populations of this species;
    (3) Current or planned activities in the subject area and their 
possible impacts on this species;
    (4) Reasons why any habitat should or should not be determined to 
be critical habitat for this species pursuant to section 4 of the Act; 
    (5) Any foreseeable economic or other impacts resulting from the 
proposed designation of critical habitat.
    It is our practice to make all comments, including names and 
addresses of respondents who provide that information, available for 
public review following the conclusion of the rulemaking process. 
Individuals may request that we withhold their name and/or address from 
public disclosure. If you wish to do this, you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your comment. We will honor such 
requests to the extent allowable by law, but you should be aware that 
we may still be required to disclose your name and address pursuant to 
the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). We will make all 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of

[[Page 19159]]

organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 
entirety. Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours (see 
    All previous comments and information submitted during the initial 
comment period on the proposed rule need not be resubmitted. Please 
submit electronic comments in ASCII file format, and avoid the use of 
any special characters or any form of encryption. Also, please include 
``Attn: RIN 1018-AU49'' in the subject line, and your name and return 
address in your e-mail message.


    On January 19, 2006, we published a proposed rule in the Federal 
Register (71 FR 3158) to determine Penstemon grahamii (Graham's 
beardtongue), a plant species from Colorado and Utah, to be a 
threatened species under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). We further 
proposed to designate critical habitat for this plant. We accepted 
public comments on the proposed rule for 60 days, ending March 20, 
    Penstemon grahamii is an herbaceous perennial plant that exists in 
a series of small populations that extend in a narrow band from Raven 
Ridge west of the town of Rangely in Rio Blanco County, Colorado, 
westward to the vicinity of Sand Wash near the point where Carbon, 
Duchesne, and Uintah Counties meet in Utah's Uinta Basin. The species' 
habitat is a discontinuous series of exposed raw shale knolls and 
slopes derived from the Parachute Creek and Evacuation Creek members of 
the geologic Green River Formation. Most populations are associated 
with the surface exposure of the petroleum bearing oil shale Mahogany 
    Threats to the species may include degradation of the species' 
habitat by oil and gas exploration, drilling and field development, and 
tar sand and oil shale mining. Off-road vehicle use, overutilization by 
domestic and wild grazers, and overutilization for horticultural use 
also may affect some populations. These threats, in combination with 
small population sizes and limited distribution, could result in 
species' vulnerability to natural and human-caused stochastic events. 
The proposal, if made final, would determine threatened status for this 
plant and implement Federal protection under the Act.
    In addition, we proposed to designate 2,102 hectares (3,504 acres) 
as critical habitat for P. grahamii in five units in Rio Blanco County, 
Colorado, and Duchesne and Uintah Counties, Utah.

Public Hearing

    We will conduct a public hearing on the date and at the address 
described in the DATES and ADDRESSES sections above.
    Anyone wishing to make an oral statement for the record is 
encouraged to provide a written copy of their statement and present it 
to us at the hearing. In the even there is a large attendance, the time 
allotted for oral statements may be limited. Oral and written 
statements receive equal consideration. There are no limits on the 
length of written comments submitted to us. If you have any questions 
concerning the public hearing, please contact the Utah Field Office 
    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public hearings should contact the Utah Field Office 
at 801-975-3330 as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time 
to process requests, please call no later than one week before the 
hearing date.


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

    Dated: April 7, 2006.
Matt Hogan,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 06-3578 Filed 4-11-06; 10:06 am]