[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 76 (Friday, April 19, 2013)]
[Pages 23586-23587]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09201]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-ES-2012-0036; FXES11120300000F2-134-FF03E15000]

Final Environmental Impact Statement, Habitat Conservation Plan, 
and Implementing Agreement and Draft Programmatic Agreement, Buckeye 
Wind Power Project, Champaign County, Ohio

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: final environmental impact statement, 
habitat conservation plan, implementing agreement and draft 
programmatic agreement.


SUMMARY: Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is advising the public of the 
availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) 
associated with an application received from Buckeye Wind, LLC (Buckeye 
Wind, applicant) for an incidental take permit (permit) pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). We also announce the 
availability of the Buckeye Wind Power Project Habitat Conservation 
Plan (HCP), prepared in accordance with the ESA, and the availability 
of a Draft Programmatic Agreement (PA) to address the National Historic 
Preservation Act (NHPA) and its implementing regulations, ``Protection 
of Historic Properties.'' Buckeye Wind submitted the HCP, as well as a 
proposed Implementing Agreement (IA), as part of its incidental take 
permit application. If issued, the permit would authorize incidental 
take of the federally listed endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) 
from construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning 
associated with the Buckeye Wind Power Project. Buckeye Wind is 
requesting a 30-year permit term.
    We request comments from the public on the permit application, the 
HCP, the IA, the FEIS, and the Draft PA, all of which are available for 
review. The Service is furnishing this notice to allow other agencies 
and the public an opportunity to review and comment on these documents. 
All comments received will become part of the public record and will be 
available for review pursuant to the ESA. For locations to review the 
documents, please see the Availability of Documents section below.

DATES: Comments: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or 
before May 20, 2013. Comments submitted electronically using the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) must be 
received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. The Service's 
decision on issuance of the permit will occur no sooner than 30 days 
after the publication of the Environmental Protection Agency notice of 
the FEIS in the Federal Register and will be documented in a Record of 

ADDRESSES: Document availability:
     Internet: You may obtain copies of the documents on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket Number FWS-R3-ES-2012-
0036) or http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/permits/hcp/r3hcps.html.
     U.S. Mail: You can obtain the documents by mail from the 
Ecological Services Office in the Midwest Regional Office (see FOR 
     In-Person: To view hard copies of the documents in person, 
go to one of the Ecological Services Offices (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, or to one of the following 
libraries during normal business hours: Champaign County Library, 1060 
Scioto Street, Urbana, OH 43078-2228; or North Lewisburg Branch, 161 
Winder Street, North Lewisburg, OH 43060.
    Comment submission: In your comment, please specify whether your 
comment addresses the HCP, the FEIS, the IA, or the PA. You may submit 
written comments by one of the following methods:
     Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R3-ES-2012-
0036, which is the docket number for this notice. Then, on the left 
side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the 
Notices link to locate this document and submit a comment.
     By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: 
Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R3-ES-2012-0036; Division of 
Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 
N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments by only the methods described 
above. We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section 
below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Megan Seymour, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, Ohio Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 4625 Morse Road, Suite 104, Columbus, OH 43230; 614-
416-8993, extension 16; or Rick Amidon, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, 
Ecological Services, Midwest Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 5600 American Blvd., West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-
1458; 612-713-5164.



    We have received an application from Buckeye Wind, LLC, for an 
incidental take permit (TE66315A) under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). If approved, the permit would be for a 30-year period and would 
authorize incidental take of the Indiana bat.
    The applicant has prepared a draft HCP to cover the construction, 
operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of the project. The project 
consists of a 100-turbine wind-powered electric generation facility 
located in an approximately 80,051-acre area (the action area) located 
in portions of Union, Wayne, Urbana, Salem, Rush, and Goshen Townships, 
in Champaign County, Ohio. The draft HCP describes the following: (1) 
Biological goals and objectives of the HCP; (2) the covered activities; 
(3) permit duration; (4) permit area; (5) alternatives to the taking 
that were considered; (5) public participation; (6) life history of the 
Indiana bat; (6) a quantification of the take for which authorization 
is requested; (7) an assessment of direct and indirect effects of the 
taking on the Indiana bat within the action area and within the Midwest 
Recovery Unit (as delineated in the 2007 Indiana Bat Draft Recovery 
Plan, USFWS); (8) a conservation program consisting of avoidance and 
minimization measures, mitigation, monitoring, and adaptive management; 
(9) funding for the HCP; (10) procedures to deal with changed and 
unforeseen circumstances; and (11) methods for permit amendments.
    In addition to the HCP, the applicant has prepared an IA to 
document the responsibilities of the parties.

[[Page 23587]]

    Pursuant to the NHPA (16 U.S.C. 470, 470f), the Service has 
initiated Section 106 consultation with the Ohio State Historic 
Preservation Office for the project. Architectural surveys have been 
completed for the full 100-turbine project. Only 52 turbines have been 
sited to date. Thus, archaeological surveys have only been conducted 
for the 52-turbine Project footprint. Therefore, additional effort will 
be required to identify archaeological sites and historic properties 
that may be adversely affected within the footprint of the remaining 48 
turbines and associated infrastructure. Following siting of the 
additional 48 turbines, additional archaeological surveys will be 
conducted, with plans and reports submitted to the Ohio State Historic 
Preservation Office for review. The draft PA between the Service, 
Buckeye Wind, and Ohio State Historic Preservation Office describes the 
process for conducting the remaining surveys, evaluating the results of 
the surveys, and determining if resources can be avoided or if 
additional surveys or mitigation are necessary before the Section 106 
process is completed. The final PA will be signed prior to issuance of 
the EIS Record of Decision. The Section 106 process will be completed 
prior to Project construction beginning. Public comments are solicited 
on the content of the draft PA.

Public Involvement

    Public scoping for the Draft EIS was first initiated in the form of 
a Notice of Intent to conduct a 30-day scoping period for a NEPA 
decision on the proposed HCP and permit and request for comments, 
published in the Federal Register on January 29, 2010 (75 FR 4840). The 
Service formally initiated an environmental review of the project 
through publication of a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental 
Impact Statement in the Federal Register on May 26, 2010 (75 FR 29575). 
Utilizing the public scoping comments, the Service prepared a draft EIS 
to analyze the effects of the alternatives on the human environment. 
The draft EIS was released for a 90-day public comment on June 29, 2012 
(77 FR 38819). A public meeting was held on July 12, 2012, at the 
Champaign County Community Center Auditorium, 1512 S. U.S. Highway 68, 
Urbana, OH to solicit additional input from the public on the HCP and 
Draft EIS. The official comment period ended on September 27, 2012.

Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials concerning the notice by 
one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you send 
comments only by one of the methods described in ADDRESSES.
    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
comment--including any personal identifying information--will be posted 
on the Web site. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov as well. If you submit a hardcopy comment that 
includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top 
of your document that we withhold this information from public review. 
However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as documents associated 
with the notice, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2012-0036, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the Ohio Ecological 
Services Field Office in Columbus, Ohio (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 


    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1531, 1539(c)) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22), NEPA 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6; 43 CFR Part 46), and Section 106 of the NHPA (16 U.S.C. 470, 
470f) and its implementing regulations (36 CFR Part 800). We will 
evaluate the application, associated documents, and comments submitted 
to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 
10(a) of the ESA. A permit decision will be made no sooner than 30 days 
after the publication of the EPA's FEIS notice in the Federal Register 
and completion of the Record of Decision. If we determine that all 
requirements are met, we will issue an incidental take permit under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA to Buckeye Wind for take of the Indiana 
bat, incidental to otherwise lawful activities in accordance with the 
HCP, the IA, and the permit.

    Dated: April 4, 2013.
Lynn Lewis,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Midwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-09201 Filed 4-18-13; 8:45 am]