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Proposed Rule

Virginia 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 Virginia regulatory program under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). The program amendment consists of changes to the Virginia Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations concerning letters of credit. The amendment is intended to revise the Virginia program to be consistent with the corresponding Federal regulations.

DATES:

If you submit written comments, they must be received on or before 4 p.m. (local time), on November 3, 2000. If requested, a public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held on October 30, 2000. Requests to speak at the hearing must be received by 4:00 p.m. (local time), on October 19, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Mail or hand-deliver your written comments and requests to speak at the hearing to Mr. Robert A. Penn, Director, Big Stone Gap Field Office at the address listed below.

You may review copies of the Virginia program, the proposed amendment, a listing of any scheduled hearings, and all written comments received in response to this document at the addresses below during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You may receive one free copy of the proposed amendment by contacting OSM's Big Stone Gap Field Office.

Mr. Robert A. Penn, Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Big Stone Gap Field Office, 1941 Neeley Road, Suite 201, Compartment 116,

Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219, Telephone: (540) 523-4303, E-mail: rpenn@osmre.gov.

Virginia Division of Mined Land Reclamation, P. O. Drawer 900, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219, Telephone: (540) 523-8100, E-mail: whb@mme.state.va.us.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Robert A. Penn, Director, Big Stone Gap Field Office; Telephone: (540) 523-4303.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Virginia Program

On December 15, 1981, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally approved the Virginia program. You can find background information on the Virginia program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval in the December 15, 1981, Federal Register (46 FR 61085-61115). You can find later actions concerning the conditions of approval and program amendments at 30 CFR 946.12, 946.13, 946.15, and 946.16.

II. Discussion of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated September 22, 2000 (Administrative Record Number VA-1008) the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) submitted an amendment to the Virginia program. In its letter, the DMME stated that the program amendment changes the Virginia program rules at 4 VAC 25-130-700.5 and 4 VAC 25-130-800.21 in response to amendments required by OSM in the May 3, 1999, Federal Register (64 FR 23542).

On May 3, 1999, OSM approved an amendment to the Virginia program which amended the Virginia Coal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act by adding “letter of credit” as an acceptable form of collateral bond to satisfy the performance bonding requirements of the Virginia Act. In our approval of the Virginia amendment, we required that the Virginia program regulations be Start Printed Page 59153revised to be no less effective than the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 800.5(b), and 30 CFR 800.21(b)(2) concerning letters of credit. We codified this requirement at 30 CFR 946.16(a).

The amendment submitted by the DMME is described below.

4 VAC 25-130-700.5. Definitions.

The definition of “Collateral bond” is amended by adding a new paragraph (d) to read as follows.

(d) An irrevocable letter of credit of any bank organized or authorized to transact business in the United States, payable only to the Department at sight prepared in accordance with the Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits (1993 revision or the UCP revision current at the time of issuance of the letter of credit) International Chamber of Commerce (Publication No. 500).

4 VAC 25-130-800.21. Collateral bonds.

This provision is amended by revising paragraph (a) by adding the words “except for letters of credit” in the introductory sentence, adding a new paragraph (c), and re-lettering existing paragraph (c) as paragraph (d).

As amended, 4 VAC 25-130-800.21(a) reads as follows.

(a) Collateral bonds, except for letters of credit, shall be subject to the following conditions: The division shall. * * *

As amended, subsections 4 VAC 25-130-800.21(c) and (d) read as follows.

(c) Letters of credit shall be subject to the following conditions:

(1) The letter may be issued only by a bank organized or authorized to do business in the United States and must conform to the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (1993 Revision or revision current at the time of issuance of the letter of credit) International Chamber of Commerce (Publication No. 500);

(2) Letters of credit shall be irrevocable during their terms. A letter of credit used as security in areas requiring continuous bond coverage shall be forfeited and shall be collected by the division if not replaced by other suitable bond or letter of credit at least 30 days before its expiration date; and

(3) The letter of credit shall be payable to the Department at sight, in part or in full, upon receipt from the division of a notice of forfeiture issued in accordance with 4 VAC 25-130-800.50.

(d) Persons with an interest in collateral posted as a bond, and who desire notification of actions pursuant to the bond, shall request the notification in writing to the division at the time collateral is offered.

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 Virginia program.

Written Comments

If you submit written or electronic comments on the proposed amendment 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, Word Perfect, or Word file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include “Attn: SPATS NO. VA-119-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 Big Stone Gap Field office at (540) 523-4303.

Availability of Comments

Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during our 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 p.m. (local time), on October 19, 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 under Executive Order 12866.

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 Start Printed Page 59154effects 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 regulation.

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.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 946

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Dated: September 26, 2000.

Michael K. Robinson,

Acting Regional Director, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

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[FR Doc. 00-25403 Filed 10-3-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P