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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BJ52 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Designation of Critical Habitat for Threatened Indo-Pacific Reef-Building Corals 

On November 27, 2020, we, NMFS, published in the Federal Register a proposal to designate 17 island units of critical habitat in the Pacific Islands Region for 7 Indo-Pacific coral species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Based on public comments and new information regarding the interpretation of the records of the listed corals and application to critical habitat, a substantial revision of the proposed rule is warranted. Accordingly, we are withdrawing the 2020 proposed rule and publishing this new proposed rule. We propose to designate critical habitat for five of the seven coral species that were addressed in the 2020 proposed rule: Acropora globiceps, Acropora retusa, Acropora speciosa, Euphyllia paradivisa, and Isopora crateriformis. Proposed critical habitat includes 16 island units encompassing approximately 251 square kilometers (km2; 97 square miles, mi2) of marine habitat. In the development of this proposed rule, NMFS considered economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of the proposed designations, but we are not proposing to exclude any areas from the critical habitat designations due to anticipated impacts.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 226   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
NPRM  Judicial  Court settlement agreement. Submission of the proposed rule to the Federal Register October 6, 2020.  10/06/2020 
Final  Statutory  ESA Sec. 4(b)(6)(A) requires the Final Rule be published in the Federal Register within one year of the date of the proposed rule.  11/27/2021 
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  11/27/2020  85 FR 76262   
NPRM Comment Period End  01/26/2021 
NPRM Comment Period Extended  12/23/2020  85 FR 83899   
NPRM Comment Period Extended End  02/25/2021 
Second NPRM Comment Period Extended  02/09/2021  86 FR 8749   
Second Extended Comment Period End  03/27/2021 
Third NPRM Comment Period Extended  03/29/2021  86 FR 16325   
Third NPRM Comment Period Extended End  05/26/2021 
Second NPRM  11/00/2023 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Related RINs: Split from 0648-BG26 
Agency Contact:
Kim Damon-Randall
Director, Office of Protected Resources
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1315 East-West Highway,
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone:301 427-8400