On May 6, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) published a proposed rule that would amend various aspects of its permitting program under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“Eagle Act”). As widely anticipated, the proposed rule seeks to extend the maximum permit term from five to thirty years, but it also creates more stringent conservation standards and more flexible mitigation requirements for permits. The comment period for the proposed rule ends on July 5, 2016.
Along with the proposed rule, the Service also released a status report, which showed increases in bald eagle populations but possible declines in golden eagle populations; and a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS), which analyzed potential impacts of the proposed rule under NEPA and which the Service intends to use as the basis for tiered, subsequent project-level review.