[Federal Register: July 5, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 129)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 41404-41405]
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 on Proposed Critical Habitat for the Spectacled Eider 
and Steller's Eider

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of extension of comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), provide 
notice that we are extending the comment periods on the proposed rules 
designating critical habitat for the spectacled eider (Somateria 
fischeri) and the Alaska-breeding population of the Steller's eider 
(Polysticta stelleri). We are extending these comment periods to allow 
the public the opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed 
rules and the associated economic analyses, which we anticipate will be 
available for public review in August 2000. All interested parties are 
invited to submit comments on these proposed rules.

DATES: The comment periods for the proposed rules concerning spectacled 
eiders and Steller's eiders, which previously closed on June 30, 2000, 
now close on August 31, 2000.

ADDRESSES: 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For the proposed rule concerning 
spectacled eiders, contact Ann G. Rappoport, Field Supervisor, 
Ecological Services Field Office, Anchorage (see ADDRESSES above), 
phone: 907/271-2787 or toll-free 800/272-4174; fax: 907/271-2786. For 
the proposed rule concerning Steller's eiders, contact Ted Swem, 
Endangered Species Branch, at Northern Alaska Ecological Services (see 
ADDRESSES above), phone: 907/456-0441; fax: 907/456-0208.



    The spectacled eider is a large seaduck found in marine waters and

[[Page 41405]]

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.
    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 now anticipate that the economic analyses 
will be available for public review and comment during August 2000. 
Accordingly, to ensure simultaneous comment on proposed critical 
habitat and the associated economic analyses, the Service is extending 
the comment periods for both proposed rules until August 31, 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.
    Author: 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.

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

    Dated: June 27, 2000.
Gary Edwards,
Acting Regional Director, Region 7, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-16923 Filed 7-3-00; 8:45 am]