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Proposed Rule

Ohio Regulatory Program

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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AGENCY:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

ACTION:

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

SUMMARY:

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Ohio regulatory program (hereinafter, the “Ohio program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Ohio proposes revisions to its rule defining “inactive coal mining and reclamation operation” to include permits containing restored prime farmland when certain requirements have been met. Ohio intends to revise its program to improve operational efficiency.

DATES:

We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m., e.s.t. on December 7, 2001. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on December 3, 2001. We will accept requests to speak until 4:00 p.m., e.s.t. on November 23, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

You should mail or hand deliver written comments and requests to speak at the hearing to Mr. George Rieger at the address listed below.

You may review copies of the Ohio 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 the Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

Mr. George Rieger, Field Office Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 3 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220, (412) 937-2153.

Mr. Michael Sponsler, Chief, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mineral Resources Management, 1855 Fountain Square Court, Columbus, OH 43224, (614) 265-6893.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

George Rieger, Telephone: (412) 937-2153. Internet: grieger@osmre.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Ohio Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

IV. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the Ohio Program

Section 503(a) of the Act permits a State to assume primacy for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations on non-Federal and non-Indian lands within its borders by demonstrating that its State program includes, among other things, “a State law which provides for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations in accordance with the requirements of the Act * * *; and rules and regulations consistent with regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to the Act.” See 30 U.S.C. 1253(a)(1) and (7). On the basis of these criteria, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally approved the Ohio program on August 16, 1982. You can find background information on the Ohio program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of approval of the Ohio program in the August 10, 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 34717). You can also find later actions concerning Ohio's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 935.15 and 935.25.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated September 13, 2001, Ohio sent us a proposed amendment to its program (Administrative Record No. OH-2181-00) under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). Ohio sent the amendment to include the 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 provision of the Ohio Administrative Code (O.A.C.) that Ohio proposes to revise is: O.A.C 1501:13-14-01, Inspections.

Specifically, Ohio proposes to revise the definition of “inactive coal mining and reclamation operation” with respect to prime farmland. Under the current rule, “inactive coal mining and reclamation operation” means an operation:

(a) For which the chief has secured from the permittee the written notice required under paragraph (A) of rule 1501:13-9-16 of the Administrative Code;

(b) Conducted under a D-permit, for which reclamation phase II as defined in (B)(1)(b)(I, II, AND IV) of rule 1501:13-7-05 of the Administrative Code has been completed.

The proposed amendment would add the following language to the end of part (b) of the current rule:

With respect to prime farmland, soil replacement has been carried out in accordance with the requirements of Rule 1501:13-13-03 of the Administrative Code and Division (A)(7) of Section 1513.16 of the Revised Code and sufficient Ground Cover has been established to prevent erosion or, where row crops are the approved reference crop, the initial planting has occurred.

Because the required frequency of inspections is lower for inactive mine sites than active mine sites, Ohio asserted in its September 13, 2001 letter that this proposed rule revision would help it to effectively and efficiently manage its inspection resources in the future.

III. Public Comment Procedures

Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we are seeking 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 program.

Written Comments

Send your written comments to OSM at the address given above. Your written comments should be specific, pertain Start Printed Page 56264only to the issues proposed in this rulemaking, and include explanations in support of your recommendations. We will not consider or respond to your comments when developing the final rule if they are received after the close of the comment period (see DATES). We will make every attempt to log all comments into the administrative record, but comments delivered to an address other than the Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center may not be logged in.

Electronic Comments

Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII or Word file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include “Attn: SPATS No. OH-247-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

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., e.s.t. on November 23, 2001. 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. 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 given an opportunity to be 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. If you are disabled and need a special accommodation to attend a public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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 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.

Executive Order 13211—Regulations That Significantly Affect the Supply, Distribution, or Use of Energy

On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 which requires agencies to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for a rule that is (1) considered significant under Executive Order 12866, and (2) likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Because this rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866 and is not expected to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

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(2)).

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 certifies 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 Start Printed Page 56265which 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. 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, 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 an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any given year. 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 did not impose an unfunded mandate.

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List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 935

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Dated: October 19, 2001.

Roger Calhoun,

Acting Regional Director, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

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[FR Doc. 01-27982 Filed 11-6-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P