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Proposed Rule

Texas Regulatory Program


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


We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Texas regulatory program (Texas program) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Texas proposes revisions to its regulations regarding annual permit fees. Texas intends to revise its program to improve operational efficiency.

This document gives the times and locations that the Texas program and proposed amendment to that program are available for your inspection, the comment period during which you may submit written comments on the amendment, and the procedures that we will follow for the public hearing, if one is requested.


Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m., c.s.t., April 9, 2014. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on April 4, 2014. We will accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4:00 p.m., c.s.t. on March 25, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

You may submit comments, identified by SATS No. TX-066-FOR, by any of the following methods:

  • Mail/Hand Delivery: Bill Joseph, Acting Director, Tulsa Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1645 South 101st East Avenue, Suite 145, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74128-4629
  • Fax: (918) 581-6419
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. 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 Texas 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 address listed below during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You may receive one free copy of the amendment by contacting OSM's Tulsa Field Office or going to

Bill Joseph, Acting Director, Tulsa Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1645 South 101st East Avenue, Suite 145, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74128-4629, Telephone: (918) 581-6430.

In addition, you may review a copy of the amendment during regular business hours at the following location: Surface Mining and Reclamation Division, Railroad Commission of Texas, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Capitol Station, P.O. Box 12967, Austin, Texas 78711-2967, Telephone: (512) 463-6900.


Acting Director, Tulsa Field Office. Telephone: (918) 581-6430.


I. Background on the Texas Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

IV. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the Texas 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 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 Texas program effective February 16, 1980. You can find background information on the Texas program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval of the Texas program in the February 27, 1980, Federal Register (45 FR 12998). You can also find later actions concerning the Texas program and program amendments at 30 CFR 943.10, 943.15, and 943.16.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment Back to Top

By letter dated December 19, 2103 (Administrative Record No. TX-703), Texas sent us an amendment to its program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.) at its own initiative. Below is a summary of the changes proposed by Texas. The full text of the program amendment is available for you to read at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES.

Texas fully funds its share of costs to regulate the coal mining industry with fees paid by the coal industry. Texas charges four fees to meet these costs: a permit application fee and three annual permit fees. Texas estimates collecting $90,000 in permit application fees annually in each of FY 2014 and FY 2015, which is approximately 3 percent of their state share of costs. The three annual fees comprise the remaining approximately 97 percent of state share costs and are allocated by the following distribution: mined acreage fees (9 percent), bonded acreage fees (81 percent), and annual permit fees (7 percent).

Texas proposes to revise its regulation at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) section 12.108(b) regarding annual permit fees by:

(1) Decreasing the amount of the fee from the current $154 to $84 for each acre of land within the permit area on which coal or lignite was actually removed during the calendar year,

(2) Increasing the amount of the fee from current $10.40 to $12 for each acre of land within a permit area covered by a reclamation bond on December 31st of the year, and

(3) Decreasing the amount of the fee from current $6,900 to $6,540 for each permit in effect on December 31st of the year.

The proposed fee revisions are intended to provide adequate funding to pay the State's cost of operating its regulatory program, and provide incentives for industry to accomplish reclamation and achieve bond release as quickly as possible.

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 State program.

Electronic or Written Comments

If you submit written comments, they should be specific, confined to issues pertinent to the proposed regulations, and explain the reason for any recommended change(s). We appreciate any and all comments, but those most useful and likely to influence decisions on the final regulations will be those that either involve personal experience or include citations to and analyses of SMCRA, its legislative history, its implementing regulations, case law, other pertinent State or Federal laws or regulations, technical literature, or other relevant publications.

We cannot ensure that comments received after the close of the comment period (see DATES) or sent to an address other than those listed (see ADDRESSES) will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered.

Public Availability of Comments

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Public Hearing

If you wish to speak at the public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 4:00 p.m., c.s.t. on March 25, 2014. If you are disabled and need reasonable 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 the 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 12866—Regulatory Planning and Review

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

Other Laws and Executive Orders Affecting Rulemaking

When a State submits a program amendment to OSM for review, our regulations at 30 CFR 732.17(h) require us to publish a notice in the Federal Register indicating receipt of the proposed amendment, its text or a summary of its terms, and an opportunity for public comment. We conclude our review of the proposed amendment after the close of the public comment period and determine whether the amendment should be approved, approved in part, or not approved. At that time, we will also make the determinations and certifications required by the various laws and executive orders governing the rulemaking process and include them in the final rule.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 943 Back to Top

Dated: January 10, 2014.

Ervin J. Barchenger,

Regional Director, Mid-Continent Region.

[FR Doc. 2014-04917 Filed 3-7-14; 8:45 am]


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