[Federal Register: June 13, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 113)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Part 224
Endangered and Threatened Species. Proposed Endangered Status for
the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale; Public Hearings
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of public hearings.
SUMMARY: On April 20, 2007, NMFS proposed the listing of the Cook Inlet
beluga whale as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act
of 1973 (ESA). As part of that proposal, NMFS announced a public
comment period to end on June 19, 2007, and then extended the comment
period to August 3, 2007. NMFS has received requests for public
hearings on this issue. In response, NMFS is announcing that public
hearings will be held at two locations in Alaska to provide additional
opportunities and formats to receive public input.
DATES: The hearings will be held on July 19, 2007, from 6 to 9 p.m. in
Homer and on July 20, 2007, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Anchorage, AK.
Written comments must be received by August 3, 2007.
ADDRESSES: The July 19, 2007, hearing will be held at the Maritime
Refuge, Island and Oceans, 95 Sterling Highway 1, Homer, AK.
The July 20, 2007, hearing will be held in hte Loussac Public Library,
Wilda Marston Room, 3600 Denali Street, Anchorage, AK.
Send comments to Kaja Brix, Assistant Regional Administrator,
Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen
Sebastian. Comments may be submitted by:
E-mail: CIB-ESA-Endangered@noaa.gov. Include in the
subject line the following document identifier: Cook Inlet Beluga Whale
PR. E-mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5
Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for
Mail: P. O Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.
Hand delivery to the Federal Building : 709 W. 9\th\
Street, Juneau, AK.
Fax: (907) 586-7557.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Smith, NMFS, 222 West 7th Avenue,
Anchorage, Alaska 99517, telephone (907) 271-5006; Kaja Brix, NMFS,
(907) 586-7235; or Marta Nammack, (301) 713-1401.
On April 20, 2007, NMFS published a proposed rule (72 FR 19854) to
list the Cook Inlet beluga whale as an endangered species under the
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended. This action followed
completion of the Cook Inlet beluga whale status review, which found
this population to be at risk of extinction within the next 100 years
and described NMFS' determination that this population constitutes a
``species'', or distinct population segment under the ESA.
Joint Commerce-Interior ESA implementing regulations state that the
Secretary shall promptly hold at least one public hearing if any person
requests one within 45 days of publication of a proposed regulation to
list a species or to designate critical habitat (see 50 CFR
424.16(c)(3)). In past ESA rule-making NMFS has conducted traditional
public hearings, consisting of recorded oral testimony from interested
individuals. This format, although providing a means for public input,
does not provide opportunities for dialogue and information exchange.
NMFS believes that the traditional public hearing format can be
improved upon by also including a brief presentation on the results of
the Cook Inlet beluga Status Review and other topics of interest.
The preferred means for providing public comment to the official
record is via written testimony prepared in advance of the meeting
which may also be presented orally. Blank ``comment sheets'' will be
provided at the meetings for those without prepared written comments,
and opportunity will also be provided for additional oral testimony.
There is no need to register for these hearings.
In scheduling these public hearings, NMFS has anticipated that many
affected stakeholders and members of the public may prefer to discuss
the proposed listing directly with staff during the public comment
period. These public meetings are not the only opportunity for the
public to provide input on this proposal. The public and stakeholders
are encouraged to continue to comment and provide input to NMFS on the
proposal (via correspondence, e-mail, and the Internet; see ADDRESSES)
up until the scheduled close of the comment period on August 3, 2007.
The proposed rule, status review, maps, a list of the references
cited in this document, and other materials relating to the proposed
listing can be found on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/
Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.
Dated: June 8, 2007.
Wanda L. Cain,
Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine
[FR Doc. E7-11420 Filed 6-12-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S