Endangered Species Act

0(a)(1)(A) for the Endangered Species Act if the species is ultimately listed, and that no additional mitigation requirements will be imposed. Recent revisions to the CCAA regulations and policy and the adoption of “net conservation benefit” as an issuance standard has been perceived by some to impose an unnecessary, ambiguous, and burdensome standard that will discourage voluntary conservation. There are also concerns with the preamble language that suggested that CCAAs may not be appropriate vehicles for permitting take of listed species resulting from oil and gas development activities. The FWS will solicit public review and comment on the need and basis for a revision of the CCAA regulation and associated policy for the purpose of evaluating whether it should maintain or revise the current regulation and policy or reinstate the former ones. The FWS anticipates that it will take 3 months to prepare the Federal Register Notice soliciting public review and comments. The FWS will then publish the Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period. Based upon comments received, FWS will decide whether and how to revise the regulation and policy. The anticipated benefits will be ensuring the CCAA standard is clear and encourages stakeholder participation in voluntary conservation of candidate and other at-risk species. Success will be measured by FWS providing timely assistance to developers if they seek a CCAA. The FWS Headquarters will provide Regional and Field Offices with informal guidance through email and regularly scheduled conference calls to remind staff of the regulation and policy review. vi. Mitigation Actions – FWS Mitigation Policy In 2016, FWS finalized revisions to its 1981 Mitigation Policy, which guides FWS recommendations on mitigating the adverse impacts of land and water development on fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. 40 Some stakeholders believe the revised policy’s mitigation planning goal exceeds statutory authority. The FWS will solicit public review and comment for the purpose of evaluating the policy. The FWS anticipates that it will take 3 months to prepare the Federal Register Notice soliciting public review and comment on the policy. The FWS will then publish the Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period. Based upon comments received, FWS will decide whether and how to revise the policy. The anticipated benefits will be timely and practicable mitigation recommendations by FWS staff to energy developers (and others) that promote conservation of species and their habitats. Success will be measured by incorporation of recommendations without delays to the permitting or licensing process. The FWS Headquarters will provide FWS Regional and Field Offices informal guidance through email and regularly scheduled conference calls to remind staff of the policy review. vii. FWS ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy In 2016, FWS finalized its ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy (CMP), which steps down and implements the 2016 revised the FWS Mitigation Policy (including the mitigation planning goal). The CMP was established to improve consistency and effectiveness in the use of compensatory mitigation. Its primary intent is to provide FWS staff with direction and guidance in the planning and implementation of compensatory mitigation. Some stakeholders believe the mitigation planning goal exceeds statutory authority. The FWS will solicit public review and comment for the purpose of evaluating whether it should modify the policy. Additional legal review will be undertaken after comments are reviewed. The FWS anticipates that it will take three months to prepare the Federal Register Notice soliciting public review and comment on the policy. The FWS will then publish the

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