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Proposed Rule

Utah Regulatory Program

Action

Proposed Rule; Public Comment Period And Opportunity For Public Hearing On Proposed Amendment.

Summary

We are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Utah regulatory program (hereinafter, the “Utah program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Utah proposes revisions to the Utah Administrative Rules concerning permit change, renewal, transfer, sale and assignment, cross sections and maps, processing and approval of extensions to the approved permit area, determining civil penalty amounts, and assessing daily civil penalties. Utah intends to revise its program to clarify and strengthen certain parts of the rules.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4 p.m., m.s.t. March 15, 2006. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on March 10, 2006. We will accept requests to speak until 4 p.m., m.s.t. on February 28, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

You may submit comments, identified by docket number UT-043-FOR, by any of the following methods:

  • E-mail: jfulton@osmre.gov. Include “UT-043-FOR” in the subject line of the message;
  • Mail: James F. Fulton, Chief, Denver Field Division, Western Region, Office of Surface Mining, P.O. Box 46667, 1999 Broadway, Suite 3320, Denver, Colorado 80201-6667;
  • Courier/Hand Delivery: James F. Fulton, Chief, Denver Field Division, Office of Surface Mining, 1999 Broadway, Suite 3320, Denver, Colorado 80202-5733; and
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number UT-043-FOR. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the “Public Comment Procedures” heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

Docket: For access to the docket to review copies of the Utah program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public hearings, and all written comments received in response to this document, you must go to the addresses listed below during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You may receive one free copy of the amendment by contacting OSM's Denver Field Division. In addition, you may review a copy of the amendment during regular business hours at the following locations:

James F. Fulton, Chief, Denver Field Division, Office of Surface Mining,1999 Broadway, Suite 3320, Denver, Colorado 80202-5733. Telephone: (303) 844-1400, extension 1424. E-mail: jfulton@osmre.gov.

John R. Baza, Director, Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, 1594 West North Temple, Suite 1210, P.O. Box 145801, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-5801. Telephone: (801) 538-5340. Internet: http://www.ogm.utah.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

James F. Fulton, Chief, Denver Field Division; Telephone: (303) 844-1400, extension 1424; E-mail: jfulton@osmre.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

I. Background on the Utah Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

IV. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the Utah Program Back to Top

Section 503(a) of the Act permits a State to assume primacy for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations on non-Federal and non-Indian lands within its borders by demonstrating that its State program includes, among other things, “a State law which provides for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations in accordance with the requirements of this Act * * *; and rules and regulations consistent with regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to this Act.” See 30 U.S.C. 1253(a)(1) and (7). On the basis of these criteria, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally approved the Utah program on January 21, 1981. You can find background information on the Utah program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval of the Utah program in the January 21, 1981, Federal Register (46 FR 5899). You also can find later actions concerning Utah's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 944.15 and 944.30.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment Back to Top

By letter dated November 28, 2005, Utah sent to us a proposed amendment to its program (Utah administrative record No. UT-1181) under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). We received the amendment on December 28, 2005. Utah sent the amendment to make the changes at its own initiative. The full text of the program amendment is available for you to read at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES.

Specifically, Utah proposes to revise five sections of its rules. In a revision of Utah Administrative Rule (Utah Admin. R.) 645-301-160, the State proposes to add a heading that reads, “Permit change, renewal, transfer, sale, and assignment.” Following that heading is a proposed reference to procedures to change, renew, transfer, assign, or sell existing coal mining and reclamation permit rights that are found at Utah Admin. R. 645-303.

The amendment also proposes to change Utah's permit application requirements for cross sections and maps at Utah Admin. R. 645-301-512.100. This change would allow preparation of certain cross sections and maps by a professional geologist or a qualified, registered, professional land surveyor. The State also proposes editorial changes to this section to make it read more clearly with the proposed substantive revisions described above.

A proposed revision to Utah Admin. R. 645-303-222 would allow applications for extensions to the approved permit area to be processed and approved using the procedural requirements of Utah Admin. R. 645-303-226 for review and processing of significant permit revisions. As part of this proposed change, the State also proposes to remove the requirement at Utah Admin. R. 645-303-222 that extensions to the approved permit area, except for incidental boundary changes, be processed and approved as new permit applications and not be approved under Utah Admin. R. 645-303-221 through R. 645-303-228.

Another revision proposed in this amendment would change Utah's schedule of points and corresponding dollar amounts for civil penalty assessments found at Utah Admin. R. 645-401-330. As proposed, the revision would result in civil penalty ranges of 1 through 64 points and $22 through $4,840, and remove the existing ranges of 1 through 87 points and $10 through $3,560.

Finally, the State's amendment proposes a change at Utah Admin. R. 645-401-410 that would require an assessment officer to assess a civil penalty for a minimum of two separate days for any violation that continues for two or more days and is assigned more than 64 points. This proposed change also would remove the existing threshold of 80 points.

III. Public Comment Procedures Back to Top

Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we are seeking your comments on whether the amendment satisfies the applicable program approval criteria of 30 CFR 732.15. If we approve the amendment, it will become part of the Utah program.

Written Comments

Send your written or electronic comments to OSM at the address given above. Your comments should be specific, pertain only to the issues proposed in this rulemaking, and include explanations in support of your recommendations. We will not consider or respond to your written comments when developing the final rule if they are received after the close of the comment period (see Dates). We will make every attempt to log all comments into the administrative record, but comments delivered to an address other than the Denver Field Division may not be logged in.

Electronic Comments

Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file or Word file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include “Attn: SATS No. UT-043-FOR” and your name and return address in your Internet message. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your Internet message, contact the Denver Field Division at (303) 844-1400, extension 1424. In the final rulemaking, we will not consider or include in the administrative record any electronic comments received after the time indicated under DATES or at e-addresses other than the Denver Field Division.

Availability of Comments

We will make comments, including names and addresses of respondents, available for public review during normal business hours. We will not consider anonymous comments. If individual respondents request confidentiality, we will honor their request to the extent allowable by law. Individual respondents who wish to withhold their name or address from public review, except for the city or town, must state this prominently at the beginning of their comments. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public review in their entirety.

Public Hearing

If you wish to speak at the public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 4 p.m., m.s.t. on February 28, 2006. If you are disabled and need special accommodations to attend a public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. We will arrange the location and time of the hearing with those persons requesting the hearing. If no one requests an opportunity to speak, we will not hold a hearing.

To assist the transcriber and ensure an accurate record, we request, if possible, that each person who speaks at a public hearing provide us with a written copy of his or her comments. The public hearing will continue on the specified date until everyone scheduled to speak has been given an opportunity to be heard. If you are in the audience and have not been scheduled to speak and wish to do so, you will be allowed to speak after those who have been scheduled. We will end the hearing after everyone scheduled to speak and others present in the audience who wish to speak, have been heard.

Public Meeting

If only one person requests an opportunity to speak, we may hold a public meeting rather than a public hearing. If you wish to meet with us to discuss the amendment, please request a meeting by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All such meetings are open to the public and, if possible, we will post notices of meetings at the locations listed under ADDRESSES. We will make a written summary of each meeting a part of the administrative record.

IV. Procedural Determinations Back to Top

Executive Order 12630—Takings

This rule does not have takings implications. This determination is based on the analysis performed for the counterpart Federal regulations.

Executive Order 12866—Regulatory Planning and Review

This rule is exempted from review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Executive Order 12866.

Executive Order 12988—Civil Justice Reform

The Department of the Interior has conducted the reviews required by section 3 of Executive Order 12988 and has determined that this rule meets the applicable standards of subsections (a) and (b) of that section. However, these standards are not applicable to the actual language of State regulatory programs and program amendments because each program is drafted and promulgated by a specific State, not by OSM. Under sections 503 and 505 of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1253 and 1255) and the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 730.11, 732.15, and 732.17(h)(10), decisions on proposed State regulatory programs and program amendments submitted by the States must be based solely on a determination of whether the submittal is consistent with SMCRA and its implementing Federal regulations and whether the other requirements of 30 CFR parts 730, 731, and 732 have been met.

Executive Order 13132—Federalism

This rule does not have federalism implications. SMCRA delineates the roles of the Federal and State governments with regard to the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations. One of the purposes of SMCRA is to “establish a nationwide program to protect society and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining operations.” Section 503(a)(1) of SMCRA requires that State laws regulating surface coal mining and reclamation operations be “in accordance with” the requirements of SMCRA. Section 503(a)(7) requires that State programs contain rules and regulations “consistent with” regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to SMCRA.

Executive Order 13175—Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

In accordance with Executive Order 13175, we have evaluated the potential effects of this rule on Federally-recognized Indian Tribes and have determined that the rule does not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian Tribes, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian Tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian Tribes. The rule does not involve or affect Indian Tribes in any way.

Executive Order 13211—Regulations That Significantly Affect the Supply, Distribution, or Use of Energy

On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 which requires agencies to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for a rule that is (1) considered significant under Executive Order 12866, and (2) likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Because this rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866 and is not expected to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

National Environmental Policy Act

This rule does not require an environmental impact statement because section 702(d) of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1292(d)) provides that agency decisions on proposed State regulatory program provisions do not constitute major Federal actions within the meaning of section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule does not contain information collection requirements that require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). The State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based on counterpart Federal regulations for which an economic analysis was prepared and certification made that such regulations would not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. In making the determination as to whether this rule would have a significant economic impact, the Department relied on the data and assumptions for the counterpart Federal regulations.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million;

b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; and

c. Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

This determination is based on the fact that the State submittal which is the subject of this rule is based on counterpart Federal regulations for which an analysis was prepared and a determination made that the Federal regulation was not considered a major rule.

Unfunded Mandates

This rule will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any given year. This determination is based on the fact that the State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based on counterpart Federal regulations for which an analysis was prepared and a determination made that the Federal regulation did not impose an unfunded mandate.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 944 Back to Top

Dated: January 6, 2006.

Allen D. Klein,

Regional Director, Western Region.

[FR Doc. E6-1974 Filed 2-10-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P

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