AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Marine
Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
ACTION: Proposed rule.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively referred to as the
"Services'' or "we''), propose to amend portions of our regulations,
which implements the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).
Our regulation clarifies, interprets, and implements portions of the
Act concerning the procedures and criteria used for adding species to
the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants and
designating and revising critical habitat. Specifically, we propose to
amend portions of our regulations that clarify procedures for
designating and revising critical habitat. The proposed amendments
would make minor edits to the scope and purpose, add and remove some
definitions, and clarify the criteria for designating critical habitat.
These proposed amendments are based on the Services' review of the
regulations and are intended to add clarity for the public, clarify expectations regarding critical habitat and provide for a
credible, predictable, and simplified critical-habitat-designation
process. Finally, the proposed amendments are also part of the
Services' response to Executive Order 13563 (January 18, 2011), which
directs agencies to review their existing regulations and, among other
things, modify or streamline them in accordance with what has been
DATES: We will accept comments from all interested parties until July
11, 2014. Please note that if you are using the Federal eRulemaking
Portal (see ADDRESSES below), the deadline for submitting an electronic
comment is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on this date.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In
the Search box, enter the Docket Number for this proposed rule, which
is FWS-HQ-ES-2012-0096. You may submit a comment by clicking on
"Comment Now!''. Please ensure that you have found the correct
rulemaking before submitting your comment.
U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing,
Attn: [Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2012-0096]; Division of Policy and
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide
us (see the Request for Information section below for more
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Krofta, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Division of Conservation and Classification, 4401 N Fairfax
Drive, Suite 420, Arlington, VA, 22203, telephone 703/358-2527;
facsimile 703/358-1735; or Marta Nammack, National Marine Fisheries
Service, Office of Protected Resources, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver
Spring, MD 20910, telephone 301/427-8469; facsimile 301/713-0376. If
you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the
Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.