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Proposed Rule

North Dakota Regulatory Program

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.


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


The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the North Dakota regulatory program (hereinafter, the “North Dakota program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). North Dakota proposes revisions of rules about: Rulemaking notices; prime farmland reclamation plans; permit approval and denial criteria; performance bond liability period; bond release applications; surface water monitoring; revegetation success standards; prime farmland reclamation standards; and small operator assistance.

North Dakota intends to revise its program to be consistent with the corresponding Federal regulations, clarify ambiguities, and improve operational efficiency.


We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m., m.d.t. August 16, 2000. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on August 11, 2000. We will accept requests to speak until 4:00 p.m., m.d.t. on August 1, 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, Chief, Casper Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 100 East “B” Street, Federal Building, Room 2128, Casper, Wyoming 82601-1918

James R. Deutsch, Director, Reclamation Division, North Dakota Public Service Commission, Capitol Building, Bismarck, North Dakota 58505, Telephone: 701-328-2251.

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

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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

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 June 20, 2000, North Dakota sent us a proposed amendment to its program (Amendment number XXX, administrative record No. ND-EE-01) under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et Start Printed Page 44016seq.). North Dakota sent the amendment in response to a July 17, 1997 letter (administrative record No. ND-EE-02) that we sent to it in accordance with 30 CFR 732.17(c) and, in addition, 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.

The provisions of the North Dakota Administrative Code that North Dakota proposes to revise are: (1) NDAC 69-05.2-01-03, Rulemaking notices; (2) NDAC 69-05.2-09-15, Prime farmland reclamation plans; (3) NDAC 69-05.2-10-03(6)(c), Permit approval or denial criteria; (4) NDAC 69-05.2-12-09, Period of performance bond liability; (5) NDAC 69-05.2-12(2), Bond release applications; (6) NDAC 69-05.2-16-05, Surface water monitoring; (7) NDAC 69-05.2-22-07, Revegetation success standards; (8) NDAC 69-05.2-26-05, Prime farmland revegetation requirements; and (9) NDAC 69-05.2-29-03, Small operator assistance.

III. Public Comment Procedures

Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we request 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 us at the address given above. Your written comments should be specific, 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.

Electronic Comments

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-041-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 307/261-6550.

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 4:00 p.m., m.d.t. on August 1, 2000. If you are disabled and need special accommdations 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 the 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 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

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, to the extent allowable 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 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.

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 (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).Start Printed Page 44017

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 relief 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, geographic regions, or Federal, State or local governmental agencies; 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 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 934

  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Surface mining
  • Underground mining
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Dated: July 7, 2000.

Brent Wahlquist,

Regional Director, Western Regional Coordinating Center.

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[FR Doc. 00-18009 Filed 7-14-00; 8:45 am]