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Proposed Rule

Maryland Regulatory Program

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), Interior.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public hearing.

SUMMARY:

OSM is announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Maryland regulatory program (Maryland program) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). The proposed amendment consists of revisions to the Maryland regulations regarding a definition of previously mined area, termination of jurisdiction, permitting requirements, bond release requirements and performance standards for inspections. The amendment is intended to revise the Maryland program to be no less effective than the corresponding Federal regulations.

DATES:

If you submit written comments, they must be received by 4:00 p.m., E.D.T., May 30, 2000. If requested, a public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held on May 24, 2000. Requests to speak at the hearing must be received by 4:00 p.m., E.D.T., on May 15, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Mail or hand-deliver your written comments and requests to speak at the hearing to Mr. George Rieger, Manager, Oversight and Inspection Office, at the address listed below. You may review copies of the Maryland program, the proposed 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 proposed amendment by contacting OSM's Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

George Rieger, Manager, Oversight and Inspection Office, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 3 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220, Telephone: (412) 937-2153, E-mail: grieger@osmre.gov

Maryland Bureau of Mines, 160 South Water Street, Frostburg, Maryland 21532, Telephone: (301) 689-4136

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

George Rieger, Manager, Oversight and Inspection Office, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center, Telephone: (412) 937-2153.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Maryland Program

On February 18, 1982, the Secretary of the Interior approved the Maryland program. You can find background information on the Maryland program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval in the February 18, 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 7214). You can find subsequent actions concerning the conditions of approval and program amendments at 30 CFR 920.15 and 920.16.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated September 14, 1999 (Administrative Record No. 577-04), Maryland provided an informal amendment to OSM regarding a definition of previously mined area, termination of jurisdiction, permitting requirements, bond release requirements and performance standards for inspections. Maryland submitted the informal amendment in response to requests made by OSM as required under 30 CFR 732.17(d) in letters dated July 8, 1997, and August 11, 1999 (Administrative Record Nos. 577-01 and 577-03, respectively). OSM completed its review of the informal amendment and submitted comments to Maryland in a letter dated March 20, 2000 (Administrative Record No. 577-05). By letter dated April 11, 2000 (Administrative Record No. MD-577-06), Maryland submitted its response to OSM's comments in the form of a proposed amendment to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) as follows:

1. COMAR 26.20.01.02B Definitions

Maryland proposes to add item (72-1) to the definitions as follows: “Previously Mined Area” means land affected by surface coal mining operations prior to August 3, 1977 that Start Printed Page 24898have not been reclaimed to the standards of this subtitle.

2. COMAR 26.20.02.01 Scope

Maryland proposes to add new paragraphs C. and D. as follows:

C. The Bureau may terminate its jurisdiction under the regulatory program over the reclaimed site of a completed surface coal mining and reclamation operation or increment thereof, when the Bureau determines, in writing, that under the regulatory program, all requirements imposed under the applicable regulatory program have been successfully completed or, where a performance bond was required, the bureau has made a final decision in accordance with this subtitle to fully release the performance bond.

D. Following a termination under section C. of this regulation, the Bureau shall reassert jurisdiction under the regulatory program over a site if it is demonstrated that the bond release or written determination referenced in section C. of this regulation was based upon fraud, collusion, or misrepresentation of a material fact.

3. COMAR 26.20.02.13 Description of Proposed Mining Operations

Maryland proposes to modify paragraph M. by inserting the phrase “Except as provided in COMAR 26.20.26.01B,” before the existing text. This section will now read as “Except as provided in COMAR 26.20.26.01B, maps, plans and cross sections required under §§ K and L of this regulation shall be prepared by, or under the direction of and certified by, a qualified registered professional engineer or professional geologist.”

4. COMAR 26.20.03.05 Prime Farmlands

Maryland proposes to modify paragraph I. by adding new subsection (5) as follows:

The aggregate total prime farmland acreage shall not be decreased from that which existed prior to mining. Water bodies, if any, to be constructed during mining and reclamation operations must be located within the post-reclamation non-prime farmland portions of the permit area. The creation of any such water bodies must be approved by the Bureau and the consent of all affected property owners within the permit area must be obtained.

5. COMAR 26.20.14.09 Procedures for Release of Bonds

Maryland proposes to modify Paragraph A., Application for Release, by adding new subsection (5) as follows:

The permittee shall include in the application for bond release a notarized statement which certifies that all applicable reclamation activities have been accomplished in accordance with the requirements of Environmental Article, Title 15, Subtitle 5, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Regulatory Program, and the approved reclamation plan. Such certification shall be submitted for each application or phase of bond release.

6. COMAR 26.20.31.02 Inspections

Maryland proposes to modify paragraph H. by changing the reference pertaining to Reclamation Phase III from COMAR 26.20.14.08F to COMAR 26.20.14.08E and by adding the following sentence:

If a permit is revoked and the performance bond is forfeited in accordance with COMAR 26.20.33, the Bureau shall continue to inspect the permit area in accordance with this regulation until the completion of all reclamation required on the permit.

III. Public Comment Procedures

In accordance with the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), OSM is seeking comments on whether the proposed amendment satisfies the applicable program approval criteria of 30 CFR 732.15. If the amendment is deemed adequate, it will become part of the Maryland program.

Written Comments

If you submit written or electronic comments on the proposed rule during the 30-day comment period, they should be specific, should be confined to issues pertinent to the notice, and should explain the reason for your recommendation(s). We may not be able to consider or include in the Administrative Record comments delivered to an address other than the one listed above (see ADDRESSES).

Electronic Comments

Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII, WordPerfect, or Word file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include “Attn: SPATS NO. MD-046-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 Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center at (412) 937-2153.

Availability of Comments

Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular business hours at the OSM Administrative Record Room (see ADDRESSES). Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous 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 inspection in their entirety.

Public Hearing

If you wish to speak at the public hearing, you should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 4:00 p.m., E.D.T. on May 15, 2000. The location and time of the hearing will be arranged with those persons requesting the hearing. If no one requests an opportunity to speak at the public hearing, the hearing will not be held.

To assist the transcriber and ensure an accurate record, we request, if possible, that each person who testifies at a public hearing provide us with a written copy of his or her testimony. The public hearing will continue on the specified date until all persons scheduled to speak have 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 all persons scheduled to speak and persons present in the audience who wish to speak have been heard.

Any disabled individual who has need for a special accommodation to attend a public hearing should contact the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Public Meeting

If only one person requests an opportunity to speak at a hearing, a public meeting, rather than a public hearing, may be held. If you wish to meet with OSM representatives to discuss the proposed amendment, you may request a meeting by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All such meetings will be open to the public and, if possible, notices of meetings will be posted at the locations listed under ADDRESSES. A written summary of each meeting will be made a part of the Administrative Record.

IV. Procedural Determinations

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. Start Printed Page 24899

Executive Order 12630—Takings

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

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, and section 503(a)(7) requires that state programs contain rules and regulations “consistent with” regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to SMCRA.

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, to the extent allowed by law, 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 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.

National Environmental Policy Act

Section 702(d) of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1292(d)) provides that a decision on a proposed state regulatory program provision does not constitute a major federal action within the meaning of section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)). A determination has been made that such decisions are categorically excluded from the NEPA process (516 DM 8.4.A).

Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule does not contain information collection requirements that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget 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 which 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.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), 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.

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 upon the fact that the state submittal which is the subject of this rule is based upon 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 a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on any governmental entity or the private sector.

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List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 920

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Dated: April 20, 2000.

Allen D. Klein,

Regional Director, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

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[FR Doc. 00-10609 Filed 4-27-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P