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FR Notice – Critical Habitat for the Threatened Indo-Pacific Corals, Public Hearings and Extension of Public Comment Period (Dec. 23, 2020)

Federal Register Notices, Hawaii Archipelago, Mariana Archipelago, News and Updates, Pacific Remote Island Areas

AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of public hearings, extension of comment period.

SUMMARY:

We, NMFS, will hold two public hearings related to our proposed rule to designate critical habitat for seven threatened corals in U.S. waters in the Indo-Pacific (Acropora globiceps, Acropora jacquelineae, Acropora retusa, Acropora speciosa, Euphyllia paradivisa, Isopora crateriformis, and Seriatopora aculeata) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We are also extending the public comment period for this proposed rule by 30 days to February 25, 2021.

DATES:

Public hearings on the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the seven threatened Indo-Pacific corals will be held online on the following dates, during the early evening hours of the affected jurisdictions (Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa). Times are given in Chamorro Standard Time (GMT+10:00), Samoa Standard Time (GMT-11:00), and Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10:00).

  • The first hearing is scheduled for the early evening in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, from 4 to 7 p.m. Chamorro Standard Time on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 (7 to 10 p.m. Samoa Standard Time on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, and 8 to 11 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time on Tuesday, January 19, 2021).
  • The second hearing is scheduled for the early evening in American Samoa, from 4 to 7 p.m. Samoa Standard Time on Thursday, January 21, 2021 (1 to 4 p.m. Chamorro Standard Time on Friday, January 22, 2021, and 5 to 8 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time on Thursday, January 21, 2021).

Since the hearings will be held online, any member of the public can join by internet or phone regardless of location. Instructions for joining the hearings are provided under ADDRESSES below.

The proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the seven ESA-listed corals was issued on November 27, 2020 (85 FR 76262), and provided for a public comment period to end on January 26, 2021. The comment period is now extended 30 days and will close on February 25, 2021. Comments must be received by February 25, 2021, as specified under ADDRESSES. Comments received after this date may not be accepted.

ADDRESSES:

Both public hearings will be conducted as Webex meetings. You may join the Webex meetings using a web browser, the Webex desktop app (app installation required), a mobile app on a phone (app installation required), or audio-only using just a phone call, as specified below.

More information about the public hearings is provided under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. You may submit comments verbally or in writing at the public hearings, or in writing by any of the following methods. Comments must be received by February 25, 2021:

  • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​NOAA-NMFS-2016-0131 click the “Comment Now” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.Start Printed Page 83900
  • Mail: Lance Smith, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, Pacific Islands Regional Office, NOAA Inouye Regional Center, 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

Instructions: You must submit comments by one of the previously described methods to ensure that we receive, document, and consider them. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lance Smith at lance.smith@noaa.gov or 808-725-5131, or Layne Bolen at layne.bolen@noaa.gov.

Click here for complete FR notice. 

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