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Federal Register Volume 77, Number 25 (Tuesday, February 7, 2012)]
[Pages 6138-6139]
Draft Policy on Interpretation of the Phrase ``Significant 
Portion of Its Range'' in the Endangered Species Act's Definitions of 
``Endangered Species'' and ``Threatened Species''
AGENCIES: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Marine 
Fisheries Service, NOAA, Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of extension of public comment period.
SUMMARY: We, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively, the Services), 
announce a 30-day extension of the period for submission of public 
comments on the draft policy interpreting the phrase ``significant 
portion of its range'' in the Endangered Species Act's (Act's) 
definitions of ``endangered species'' and ``threatened species.'' We 
encourage all interested parties to provide us with information and 
comments regarding the draft policy. Information previously submitted 
does not need to be resubmitted, and will be incorporated into the 
public record and fully considered in our development of a final 
DATES: We will consider comments and information we receive from all 
interested parties on or before March 8, 2012.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments
on docket number FWS-R9-ES-2011-0031.
     U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2011-0031; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, 
MS 2042; 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 Public Comments section below for more information).
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Sayers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Endangered Species Program, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 
420, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone (703) 358-2171; 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); fax (301) 713-0376). If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-8339.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 9, 2011, we published a notice 
of our draft policy (76 FR 76987) to establish a joint interpretation 
and application of ``significant portion of its range'' that reflects a 
permissible reading of the law and its legislative history and 
minimizes undesirable policy outcomes, while fulfilling the 
conservation purposes of the Act. That notice established a 60-day 
comment period ending February 7, 2012. We have received a number of 
requests to extend the public comment period. Considering the 
complexity of the issues addressed in the draft policy and the level of 
public interest, we have decided that additional time for public 
comment will be particularly valuable for this action and thus are 
extending the comment period for an additional 30 days. The draft 
policy and supporting materials are available for review at http://www.regulations.gov under 
Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2011-0031.
Public Comments; Request for Information
    We intend that the final policy on interpretation of the phrase 
``significant portion of its range'' in the Act's definitions of 
``endangered species'' and ``threatened species'' will consider 
information and recommendations from all interested parties. We 
therefore solicit comments, information, and recommendations from 
governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific 
community, industry groups, environmental interest groups, and any 
other interested parties. All comments and materials received by the 
date listed in the DATES section above will be considered prior to the 
approval of a final document. For the complete list of subjects on 
which we seek comments, please refer to the December 9, 2011, draft 
policy (76 FR 76987), available on line at http://www.regulations.gov 
under Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2011-0031.
    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as 
references to scientific journal articles or other publications) to 
allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you 
    You may submit your information concerning this draft policy by one 
of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. If you submit 
information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission--
including any personal identifying information--will be posted on the 
Web site. If you submit a hardcopy that includes personal identifying 
information, you may request at the top of your document that we 
withhold this personal identifying 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.
    Information and supporting documentation used in preparing this 
document is available for you to review at http://www.regulations.gov, 
or you may make an appointment during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program (see FOR FURTHER 
    We are taking this action under the authority of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).



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