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(a) At the time of publication of a proposed rule to designate critical habitat, the Secretary will make available for public comment the draft economic analysis of the designation. The draft economic analysis will be summarized in the Federal Register notice of the proposed designation of critical habitat. The Secretary will also identify any national security or other relevant impacts that the Secretary determines are contained in a particular area of proposed designation. Based on the best information available regarding economic, national security, and other relevant impacts, the proposed designation of critical habitat will identify the areas that the Secretary has reason to consider for exclusion and explain why. The identification of areas in the proposed rule that the Secretary has reason to consider for exclusion is neither binding nor exhaustive. “Economic impacts” may include, but are not limited to, the economy of a particular area, productivity, jobs, and any opportunity costs arising from the critical habitat designation (such as those anticipated from reasonable and prudent alternatives that may be identified through a section 7 consultation) as well as possible benefits and transfers (such as outdoor recreation and ecosystem services). “Other relevant impacts” may include, but are not limited to, impacts to Tribes, States, local governments, public health and safety, community interests, the environment (such as increased risk of wildfire or pest and invasive species management), Federal lands, and conservation plans, agreements, or partnerships. The Secretary will consider impacts at a scale that the Secretary determines to be appropriate and will compare the impacts with and without the designation. Impacts may be qualitatively or quantitatively described.
(b) Prior to finalizing the designation of critical habitat, the Secretary will consider the probable economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of the designation upon proposed or ongoing activities.
(c)(1) Subject to paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the Secretary has discretion as to whether to conduct an exclusion analysis under 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(2).
(2) The Secretary will conduct an exclusion analysis when:
(i) The proponent of excluding a particular area (including but not limited to permittees, lessees or others with a permit, lease, or contract on federally managed lands) has presented credible information regarding the existence of a meaningful economic or other relevant impact supporting a benefit of exclusion for that particular area; or
(ii) The Secretary otherwise decides to exercise discretion to evaluate any particular area for possible exclusion.
(d) When the Secretary conducts a discretionary exclusion analysis pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, the Secretary shall weigh the benefits of including or excluding particular areas in the designation of critical habitat, according to the following principles:
(1) When analyzing the benefits of including or excluding any particular area based on impacts identified by experts in, or by sources with firsthand knowledge of, areas that are outside the scope of the Service's expertise, the Secretary will give weight to those benefits consistent with the expert or firsthand information, unless the Secretary has knowledge or material evidence that rebuts that information. Impacts that are outside the scope of the Service's expertise include, but are not limited to:
(i) Nonbiological impacts identified by federally recognized Indian Tribes, consistent with all applicable Executive and Secretarial orders;
(ii) Nonbiological impacts identified by State or local governments;
(iii) Impacts based on national security or homeland security implications identified by the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, or any other Federal agency responsible for national security or homeland security; and
(iv) Nonbiological impacts identified by a permittee, lessee, or contractor applicant for a permit, lease, or contract on Federal lands.
(2) When analyzing the benefit of including or excluding any particular area based on economic impacts or other relevant impacts described in paragraph (b) of this section, the Secretary will weigh such impacts relative to the conservation value of that particular area. For benefits of inclusion or exclusion based on impacts that fall within the scope of the Service's expertise, the Secretary will give weight to those benefits in light of the Service's expertise.
(3) When analyzing the benefits of including or excluding particular areas covered by conservation plans, agreements, or partnerships that have been authorized by a permit under section 10 of the Act, the Secretary will consider the following factors:
(i) Whether the permittee is properly implementing the conservation plan or agreement;
(ii) Whether the species for which critical habitat is being designated is a covered species in the conservation plan or agreement; and
(iii) Whether the conservation plan or agreement specifically addresses the habitat of the species for which critical habitat is being designated and meets the conservation needs of the species in the planning area.
(4) When analyzing the benefits of including or excluding particular areas covered by conservation plans, agreements, or partnerships that have not been authorized by a permit under section 10 of the Act, factors that the Secretary may consider include, but are not limited to:
(i) The degree to which the record of the plan, or information provided by proponents of an exclusion, supports a conclusion that a critical habitat designation would impair the realization of the benefits expected from the plan, agreement, or partnership.
(ii) The extent of public participation in the development of the conservation plan.
(iii) The degree to which agency review and required determinations (e.g., State regulatory requirements) have been completed, as necessary and appropriate.
(iv) Whether National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) reviews or similar reviews occurred, and the nature of any such reviews.
(v) The demonstrated implementation and success of the chosen mechanism.
(vi) The degree to which the plan or agreement provides for the conservation of the physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species.
(vii) Whether there is a reasonable expectation that the conservation management strategies and actions contained in a management plan or agreement will be implemented.
(viii) Whether the plan or agreement contains a monitoring program and adaptive management to ensure that the conservation measures are effective and can be modified in the future in response to new information.
(e) If the Secretary conducts an exclusion analysis under paragraph (c) of this section, and if the Secretary determines that the benefits of excluding a particular area from critical habitat outweigh the benefits of specifying that area as part of the critical habitat, then the Secretary shall exclude that area, unless the Secretary determines, based on the best scientific and commercial data available, that the failure to designate that area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species concerned.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Code of Federal Regulations Title 50. Wildlife and Fisheries § 50.17.90 Impact analysis and exclusions from critical habitat - last updated October 03, 2022 | https://codes.findlaw.com/cfr/title-50-wildlife-and-fisheries/cfr-sect-50-17-90/
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