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Proposed Rule

Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania regulatory program (Pennsylvania program) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). The proposed amendment references Pennsylvania's anthracite coal mining regulations when describing conditions for meeting Stage 2 bond release where prime farmlands were present prior to mining. The amendment is intended to satisfy the conditions of the required regulatory program amendment at 30 CFR 938.16(p) and make the Pennsylvania program consistent with the corresponding federal regulations.

DATES:

If you submit written comments, they must be received by 4:00 p.m. (local time), April 4, 2001. If requested, a public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held on March 30, 2001. Requests to speak at the hearing must be received by 4:00 p.m. (local time), on March 20, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Mail or hand-deliver your written comments and requests to speak at the hearing to Mr. Robert J. Biggi, at the address listed below.

You may review copies of the Pennsylvania 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 Harrisburg Field Office.

Robert J. Biggi, Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Harrisburg Field Office, Harrisburg Transportation Center, Third Floor, Suite 3C, 4th and Market Streets, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101, Telephone: (717) 782-4036, e-mail: bbiggi@osmre.gov.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 8461, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-8461, Telephone: (717) 787-5103.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert J. Biggi, Director, Harrisburg Field Office, Telephone: (717) 782-4036.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Pennsylvania Program

On July 31, 1982, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally approved the Pennsylvania program. You can find background information on the Pennsylvania program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the conditions of the approval in the July 31, 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 33050). You can find subsequent actions concerning the conditions of approval and program amendments at 30 CFR 938.11, 938.12, 938.15 and 938.16.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated January 3, 2001, (Administrative Record No. PA-875.00), Pennsylvania submitted a proposed amendment to its program at 25 PA Code 86.174(b)(3). The full text of this section as proposed is:

If prime farmlands are present, the soil productivity has been returned to the required level when compared with nonmined prime farmland in the surrounding area, to be determined from the soil survey performed under the reclamation plan approved in Chapters 87-90.

This amendment was submitted to satisfy a required regulatory program amendment at 30 CFR 938.16(p). The Director required this amendment in the May 31, 1991, Federal Register (56 FR 24687) as our review of Pennsylvania's proposed amendment submitted on December 22, 1989 (Administrative Record Number PA 790.00) showed that Pennsylvania had inadvertently omitted the cross reference to Chapter 88 in section 86.174(b)(3) dealing with prime farmlands. If prime farmlands are present, the soil productivity must be returned to the required level of yield when compared with nonmined prime farmland in the surrounding area as determined from the soil survey performed under the approved reclamation plan prior to approval for Stage II bond release. Through the required amendment, Pennsylvania was to amend its program to include the omitted cross reference to Chapter 88. In the current amendment, Pennsylvania believes it addressed the omitted cross reference by inserting the reference to Chapters 87-90 at 25 Pa Code 86.174(b)(3).

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 Pennsylvania 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. PA-133-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 Harrisburg Field Office at (717) 782-4036.

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 Start Printed Page 13278record, 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. (local time), on March 20, 2001. 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.

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 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 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 Start Printed Page 13279on any governmental entity or the private sector.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 938

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Dated: February 21, 2001.

Allen D. Klein,

Regional Director, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

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[FR Doc. 01-5226 Filed 3-2-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P