[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 144 (Friday, July 30, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 41000-41001]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-16260]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2021-0015; FF09E21000 FXES11110900000 212]
RIN 1018-BB27

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Lesser Prairie-
Chicken; Threatened Status With Section 4(d) Rule for the Northern 
Distinct Population Segment and Endangered Status for the Southern 
Distinct Population Segment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are 
extending the comment period on our June 1, 2021, proposed rule to list 
two distinct population segments (DPSs) of the lesser prairie-chicken 
(Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a grassland bird known from southeastern 
Colorado, western Kansas, eastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and the 
Texas Panhandle under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). We are extending the proposed rule's comment period for 30 days 
to give all interested parties an additional opportunity to comment on 
the proposed rule. Comments previously submitted need not be 
resubmitted as they are already incorporated into the public record and 
will be fully considered in the final rule.

DATES: The comment period on the proposed rule that published June 1, 
2021, at 86 FR 29432, is extended. We will accept comments received or 
postmarked on or before September 1, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Comment submission: You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter the docket number or RIN 
for this rulemaking (presented above in the document headings). For 
best results, do not copy and paste either number; instead, type the 
docket number or RIN into the Search box using hyphens. Then, click on 
the Search button. On the resulting page, in the panel on the left side 
of the screen, under the Document Type heading, check the Proposed Rule 
box to locate the document. You may submit a comment by clicking on 
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail to: Public Comments 
Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2021-0015, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
MS: PRB/3W, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see Public Comments, below, for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Debra Bills, Field Supervisor, 
Arlington Ecological Services Field Office, 2005 NE Green Oaks Blvd. 
Suite 140, Arlington, TX 76006; telephone 817-277-1129. Persons who use 
a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Relay Service at 800-877-8339.



    On June 1, 2021, we published a proposed rule (86 FR 29432) to list 
the Southern DPS of the lesser prairie-chicken as endangered and the 
Northern DPS of the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened with a rule 
issued under section 4(d) of the Act. The proposed rule opened a 60-day 
comment period, ending August 2, 2021, and announced public hearings on 
July 8 and 14, 2021. On June 11, 2021, we received a request to extend 
the public comment period. With this document, we extend the public 
comment period for an additional 30 days, as specified above in DATES.

Public Comments

    We will accept written comments and information during the extended 
comment period on our proposed rule to list the Southern and Northern 
DPSs of the lesser prairie-chicken. We will consider information and 
recommendations from all interested parties. We intend that any final 
action resulting from the proposal will be based on the best scientific 
and commercial data available and will be as accurate and as effective 
as possible. Our final determination will take into consideration all 
comments and any additional information we receive during the open 
comment period on the proposed rule.
    Because we will consider all comments and information we receive 
during the open comment period, our final determinations may differ 
from our June 1, 2021, proposed rule (86 FR 29432). Based on the new 
information we receive (and any comments on that new information), we 
may conclude that the Southern DPS is threatened instead of endangered, 
or that the Northern DPS is endangered instead of threatened, or we may 
conclude that either DPS does not warrant listing as either an 
endangered species or a threatened species. In addition, we may change 
the parameters of the prohibitions or the exceptions to those 
prohibitions in the proposed rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act 
(i.e., the ``proposed 4(d) rule'') for the Northern DPS if we conclude 
it is appropriate in light of comments and new information received. 
For example, we may expand the prohibitions in the proposed 4(d) rule 
for the Northern DPS to include prohibiting additional activities if we 
conclude that those additional activities are not compatible with 
conservation of the species. Conversely, we may establish additional 
exceptions to the prohibitions in the final rule if we conclude that 
the activities would facilitate or are

[[Page 41001]]

compatible with the conservation and recovery of the species.
    If you already submitted comments or information on the June 1, 
2021, proposed rule, please do not resubmit them. Any such comments are 
incorporated as part of the public record of the rulemaking proceeding, 
and we will fully consider them in the preparation of our final 
    Comments should be as specific as possible. Please include 
sufficient information with your submission (such as scientific journal 
articles or other publications) to allow us to verify any scientific or 
commercial information you assert.
    Please note that submissions merely stating support for, or 
opposition to, the action under consideration without providing 
supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in 
making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is an endangered species or a 
threatened species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best 
scientific and commercial data available.''
    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you send comments only by the 
methods described in ADDRESSES.
    If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your 
entire submission--including your personal identifying information--
will be posted on the website. If your submission is made via a 
hardcopy 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. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing the proposed rule, will be available 
for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov at FWS-R2-ES-2021-


    The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the 
Fish and Wildlife Service's Species Assessment Team and the Arlington 
Ecological Services Field Office.


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

Martha Williams,
Principal Deputy Director, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the 
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-16260 Filed 7-29-21; 8:45 am]