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Proposed Construction of City of Lander Water Treatment Plant

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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


Notice of application for grant funding; public comment period on request to fund the City of Lander Water Treatment Plant.


OSM is announcing its receipt of a grant application from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Abandoned Mine Land Division (AMLD). Wyoming is requesting $1,000,000 from the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund to pay part of the cost of building a City of Lander Water Treatment Plant. In its application, the State proposes paying for part of the construction cost as a public facility project that will benefit a community impacted by mineral mining.

This notice describes when and where you may read the grant application for funding the City of Lander Water Treatment Plant. It also sets the time period during which you may send written comments on the request to us.


We will accept written comments until 4 p.m., m.s.t., April 24, 2002.


You should mail or hand-deliver written comments to Guy V. Padgett, Casper Field Office Director, at the address shown below. You may read Wyoming's grant application for this proposed project during normal business hours Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) at the same address. Also, we will send one free copy of the grant application to you if you contact OSM's Casper Field Office.

Guy V. Padgett, Director, Casper Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Federal Building, Rm. 2403, 100 East “B” Street, Casper, Wyoming 82601-1918.

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Guy V. Padgett, Telephone: (307) 261-6555.

Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the rulemaking [or administrative] record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the rulemaking [or administrative] 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 take 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.

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I. Background on Title IV of SMCRA

Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) established an Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation (AMLR) program. The purpose of the AMLR program is to reclaim and restore lands and waters that were adversely affected by past mining. The program is funded by a reclamation fee paid by active coal mining operations. Rands and waters eligible for reclamation under Title IV are primarily those that were mined, or affected by mining, and abandoned or inadequately reclaimed before August 3, 1977, and for which there is no continuing reclamation responsibility under State, Federal, or other laws.

Title IV of SMCRA allows States to submit AMLR plans to us. We, on behalf of the Secretary review those plans and consider any public comments we receive about them. If we determine that a State has the ability and necessary legislation to operate an AMLR program, the Secretary can approve it. The Secretary's approval gives a State exclusive authority to put its AMLR plan into effect.

Once the Secretary approves a State's AMLR plan, the State may apply to us for money to fund specific projects that will achieve the goals of its approved plan. We follow the requirements on the Federal regulations at 30 CFR parts 874, 875, and 886 when we review and approve such applications.

II. Background on the Wyoming AMLR Plan

The Secretary of the Interior approved Wyoming's AMLR plan on February 14, 1983. You can find background information on the Wyoming AML program, including the Secretary's findings and our responses to comments, in the February 14, 1983 Federal Register (48 FR 6536). Wyoming changed its plan a number of times since the Secretary first approved it. In 1984, we accepted the State's certification that it had addressed all known coal-related impacts in Wyoming that were eligible for funding under its program. As a result, the State may now Start Printed Page 13660reclaim low priority non-coal reclamation projects. You can read about the certification and OSM's acceptance in the May 25, 1984, Federal Register (49 FR 22139). At the same time, we also accepted Wyoming's proposal that it will ask us for funds to reclaim any additional coal-related problems that occur during the life of the AML program as soon as it becomes aware of them. In the April 13, 1992, Federal Register (57 FR 12731), we announced our decision to accept other changes in Wyoming's plan that describe how it will rank eligible coal, non-coal, and public facility projects for funding. Those changes also authorized the Governor of Wyoming to elevate the priority of a project based upon the Governor's determination of need and urgency. They also expanded the State's ability to construct public facilities under section 411 of SMCRA. We approved additional changes in Wyoming's plan concerning non-coal lien authority and contractor eligibility that improved the efficiency of the State's AML program. That approval is described in the February 21, 1996, Federal Register (61 FR 6537).

Once a State certifies that it has addressed all remaining abandoned coal mine problems and the Secretary concurs, then it may request funds to undertake abandoned non-coal mine reclamation, community impact assistance, and public projects under sections 411(b), (e), and (f), of SMCRA.

State law and regulations that apply to the proposed Abandoned Coal Mine Land Program City of Lander Water Treatment Plant funding request include Wyoming Statue 35-11-1202 and Wyoming Abandoned Mine Land Regulations, Chapter VII, of the Wyoming Abandoned Mine Program.

III. Wyoming's Request To Fund the Cost of the City of Lander Water Treatment Plant

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality will submit to us a grant application in the fall of 2003. In that application, Wyoming will ask for $1,000,000 to pay for a part of the cost of constructing the City of Lander Water Treatment Plant. The Governor of Wyoming certified the need and urgency to fund this project prior to completing the State's remaining inventory of non-coal reclamation work, as allowed by section 411(f) of SMCRA. That certification says the project is in a community impacted by mineral mining activities. This project is the second phase of AML Project 44 which was included in the 2001 AML grant. This grant provided $887,239 of funding for the initial design and construction of the City of Lander Water Treatment Plant.

This project addresses an Enforcement Order from the EPA. The Governor's certification states that the safety hazards impacting the City of Lander water users warrant funding of this project before the remaining inventory of non-coal projects are completed.

IV. How We Will Review Wyoming's Grant Application

We will review the grant application using regulations at 30 CFR 875.15; specifically subsections 875.15(e)(1) through (7). As stated in those regulations, the application must include the following information: (1) The need or urgency for the activity or the construction of the public facility; (2) the expected impact the project will have on Wyoming's coal or minerals industry; (3) the availability of funding from other sources and, if other funding is provided, its percentage of the total cost involved; (4) documentation from other local, State, Federal agencies with oversight for such utilities or facilities describing what funding they have available and why their agency is not fully funding this specific project; (5) the impact on the State, the public, and the minerals industry if the facility is not funded; (6) the reason why this project should be selected before the priority projects relating to the protection of public health and safety or the environment from the damages caused by past mining activities, and (7) an analysis and review of the procedures Wyoming used to notify and involve the public in this request, and a copy of all comments received and their resolution by the State. Wyoming's application for the City of Lander Water Treatment Plant project contains the information described in these seven subsections.

Section 875.15(f) requires us to evaluate all comments we received and determine whether the funding meets the requirements of sections 875.15(e)(1) through (7) described above. It also requires us to determine if the request is in the best interests of the State's AML program. We will approve Wyoming's request to fund this project if we conclude that it meets all the requirements of 30 CFR 875.15.

V. What To Do If You Want To Comment on the Proposed Project

We are asking for public comments on Wyoming's request for funds to pay for part of the cost of constructing the City of Lander Water Treatment Plant. You are welcome to comment on the project. If you do, please send us written comments. Make sure your comments are specific and pertain to Wyoming's funding request in the context of the regulations at 30 CFR 875.15 and the provisions of section 411 of SMCRA. You should explain any recommendations you make. If we receive your comments after the time shown under DATES or at locations other than the Casper Field Office, we will not necessarily consider them in our final decision or include them in the administrative record.

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Dated: March 18, 2002.

Guy Padgett,

Director, Casper Field Office.

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[FR Doc. 02-7089 Filed 3-22-02; 8:45 am]