On June 30, 2009 the Etowah Habitat Conservation Plan was listed in the Federal Register. The listing announces the opening of the sixty-day public comment period, in which anyone may comment on the components of the HCP. Simultaneously, USFWS is asking for public comments on the accompanying Environmental Assessment. Furthermore, applications fromthe thirteen local governments who requested Incidental Take Permits are being reviewed. After the sixty-day public comment period, USFWS will review all comments and determine whether the HCP needs to be revised.
The Council for Quality Growth continues to have significant concerns over the long-term economic development consequences of the proposed regulations. The Council has concerns that more scientific studies need to be performed before potentially damaging regulations are imposed across the entire basin.
The Council is requesting that the following actions be performed before the HCP is implemented:
1) Complete the mandatory five-year status updates
2) Develop and Environmental Impact Statement
3) Solicit a more thorough public outreach campaign that involves landowner participation
The official listing in the Federal Register can be found HERE.