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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, Interior.

ACTION:

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

SUMMARY:

We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania regulatory program (the “Pennsylvania program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Pennsylvania proposes revisions to rules regarding criteria for permit approval or denial and for performance standards for retention of roads following completion of surface mining activities. Pennsylvania intends to revise its program to be consistent with the corresponding Federal regulations and SMCRA and to clarify ambiguities.

This document gives the times and locations that the Pennsylvania program and proposed amendments to that program are available for your inspection, the comment period during which you may submit written comments on the amendment, and the procedures that we will follow for the public hearing, if one is requested.

DATES:

We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m.,e.d.t., May 16, 2002. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on May 13, 2002. We will Start Printed Page 18519accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4:00 p.m., e.s.t. on May 1, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

You should mail or hand deliver written comments and requests to speak at the hearing to Beverly Brock, Acting Director, Harrisburg Field Office at the address listed below.

You may review copies of the Pennsylvania 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 Harrisburg Field Office.

Beverly Brock, Acting Director, Harrisburg Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Harrisburg Transportation Center, Third Floor, Suite 3C, 4th and Market Streets, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101, Telephone: (717) 782-4036, Email: bbrock@osmre.gov

J. Scott Roberts, Director, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 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:

Beverly Brock, Telephone: (717) 782-4036. Email: bbrock@osmre.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Pennsylvania Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

IV. Procedural Determinations

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

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated February 25, 2002, Pennsylvania sent us a proposed amendment to its program (administrative record No. PA 889.00) under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). Pennsylvania sent the amendment in response to the required program amendment at 30 CFR 938.16(gggg) and 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.

Specifically, Pennsylvania proposes to remove the phrase, “The proposed permit area * * *,” from 25 Pa. Code 86.37(a)(5) and replace it with, “The area covered by the operator's bond and upon which the operator proposes to conduct surface mining activities within the boundary of the proposed surface or coal mining activities permit * * *.” 25 Pa. Code 86.37(a) requires that a permit or revised permit application will not be approved unless Pennsylvania makes a written finding that certain conditions exist. Section (a)(5) now reads:

(5) The area covered by the operator's bond and upon which the operator proposes to conduct surface mining activities within the boundary of the proposed surface or coal mining activities permit is not one of the following:

(i) Included within an area designated unsuitable for mining under Subchapter D (relating to areas unsuitable for mining).

(ii) Within an area which has been included in a petition for designation under § 86.124(a)(6) (relating to procedures: initial processing, recordkeeping and notification requirements).

(iii) On lands subject to the prohibitions or limitations of Subchapter D.

(iv) Within 100 feet (30.48 meters) of the outside right-of-way line of any public road, except as provided for in Subchapter D.

(v) Within 300 feet (91.44 meters) from any occupied dwelling, except as provided for in Subchapter D.

(vi) Within 100 feet (30.48 meters) of a stream, except as provided for in § 86.102 (relating to areas where mining is prohibited or limited).

Additionally, Pennsylvania is making a change regarding performance standards for haul roads and access roads to its regulations at 25 Pa. Code Sections 87.160(a), 88.138(a), 88.231(a), 88.335(a), and 90.134(a). In these sections Pennsylvania has removed the requirement that a haul road or an access road's maintenance plan must be approved as part of the postmining land use before a road can be retained at the conclusion of mining activities. Specifically, the phrase, “* * * and its maintenance plan * * *” is removed from these sections.

In addition, in 25 Pa. Code 90.134(a), Pennsylvania has added the requirement that haul roads and access roads must be designed, constructed and maintained to control or prevent erosion, among other things. This was accomplished by adding the phrase, “erosion and” prior to the existing phrase, “contributions of sediment to streams or runoff outside the affected area.” This section was revised to respond to the required amendment at 30 CFR 938.16(gggg).

Finally, minor grammatical changes were made to 25 Pa. Code 87.160(a) and 90.134(a).

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 State program.

Written Comments

Send your written comments or electronic comments to OSM 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. 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 Harrisburg Field Office 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. PA-136-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. Start Printed Page 18520

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 May 1, 2002. 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 a hearing.

To assist the transcriber and ensure an accurate record, we request, if possible, that each person who speaks at the 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.

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 regulation.

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 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 because each 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

This rule does not require an environmental impact statement because section 702(d) of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1292(d)) provides that agency decisions on proposed State regulatory program provisions do not constitute major Federal actions within the meaning of section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)).

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 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. 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, Federal, State, or local governmental agencies or geographic regions; 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 Start Printed Page 18521that 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 938

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Dated: March 8, 2002.

Vann Weaver,

Acting Regional Director, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

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[FR Doc. 02-9233 Filed 4-15-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P