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Proposed Rule

North Dakota Regulatory Program

Document Details

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Start Preamble


Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.


Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public hearing on proposed amendment.


Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the North Dakota regulatory program (hereinafter, the “State program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). North Dakota proposes revisions to its revegetation policy document, “Standards for Evaluation of Revegetation Success and Recommended Procedures for Pre- and Postmining Vegetation Assessments,” as discussed in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, II. Proposed Amendment. It intends to revise its program to improve operational efficiency.


We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m., m.s.t. May 1, 2000. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on April 25, 2000. We will accept requests to speak until 4:00 p.m., m.s.t. on April 17, 2000.


You should mail or hand deliver written comments and requests to speak at the hearing to Guy Padgett at the address listed below.

You may review copies of the North Dakota program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public hearings, and all written comments received in response to this document at 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 Casper Field Office.

Guy Padgett, Director, Casper Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 100 East “B” Street, Casper, Wyoming 82601-1918Start Printed Page 17212

James R. Deutsch, Director, Reclamation Division, Pubic Service Commission, 600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0480, Telephone: 701/328-2400

Start Further Info


Guy Padgett, Telephone: 307/261-6550. Internet: GPADGETT@OSMRE.GOV

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


I. Background on the North Dakota Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

IV. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the North Dakota Program

North Dakota: On December 15, 1980, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally approved the North Dakota program. You can find background information on the North Dakota program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of approval of the North Dakota program in the December 15, 1980 Federal Register (45 FR 82214). You can also find later actions concerning North Dakota's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 934.15 and 934.16.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated March 16, 2000, North Dakota sent to us a proposed amendment to its program (Amendment number XXIX), administrative record No. ND-DD-01 under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). North Dakota sent the amendment to include changes made 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, North Dakota proposes to revise its revegetation policy document to reflect changes in its approved State Program as follows: (1) to give mining companies the option of proving reclamation success for three out of five consecutive years, starting no sooner than the eighth year of the responsibility period; (2) that the time-in-place requirement for tree and shrub standards will be deemed satisfied if the mine operator demonstrates that no tree, shrub or half-shrub replanting has occurred during the last six years of the responsibility period; (3) to clarify the objectives section; (4) to add new provisions for adjusting North Dakota Agricultural Statistical Service crop yield to reflect certain management practices; (5) to include other factors, in addition to precipitation and temperature, in developing a cropland and/or tame pastureland regression equation to clinically adjust yield standards; (6) to add a statement to the native grassland section that established plant species must be predominantly native; (7) to provide more consistency for the standards on native grassland diversity and seasonality, (8) to clarify sampling procedures regarding when plant growth forms must be weighed separately; and (9) miscellaneous minor changes and additions.

III. Public Comment Procedures

Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we are requesting 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 North Dakota program.

Written Comments

Send your written comments to OSM at the address given above. 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 form organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public review in their entirety.

Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include “Attn: SPATS No. ND-040-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 Casper Field Office at 307/261-6555.

Your written comments should be specific and pertain only to the issues proposed in this rulemaking, and include explanations in support of your recommendations. In the final rulemaking, we will not necessarily consider or include in the administrative record any comments received after the time indicated under DATES or at locations other than the Casper Field office.

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., m.s.t. on April 17, 2000. 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. We will not hold the public hearing if no one requests an opportunity to speak.

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 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 contracting 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

Executive Order 12866

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

Executive Order 12988

The Department of the Interior has conducted the reviews required by section 3 of Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform) 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 since each such 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 Start Printed Page 17213its implementing Federal regulations and whether the other requirements of 30 CFR Parts 730, 731, and 732 have been met.

National Environmental Policy Act

No environmental impact statement is required for this rule since 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. 4332(2)(C)).

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. 3507 et seq.).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department of the Interior has determined 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 that is the subject of this rule is based upon counterpart Federal regulations for which an economic analysis was prepared and certification made that such regulations would not have a significant economic effect upon a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, this rule will ensure that existing requirements previously promulgated by OSM will be implemented by the State. In making the determination as to whether this rule would have a significant economic impact, the Department relied upon the data and assumptions for the counterpart Federal regulations.

Unfunded Mandates

This rule will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on any governmental entity or the private sector.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 934

  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Surface mining
  • Underground mining
End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: March 24, 2000.

Brent Wahlquist,

Regional Director, Western Regional Coordinating Center.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 00-8011 Filed 3-30-00; 8:45 am]