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Proposed Rule

West Virginia Regulatory Program

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period.

SUMMARY:

We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), are reopening the public comment period on the effectiveness of a recently approved amendment to the West Virginia surface mining regulatory program (the West Virginia program) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act) to satisfy the Federal requirements regarding an alternative bonding system (ABS).

We are reopening the comment period to provide an opportunity to review and comment on a proposed regulatory change by the State. The proposed amendment concerns water quality enhancement, and deletes regulatory language that limits expenditures from the State's Fund for water quality enhancement projects to 25 percent of the Fund's gross annual revenue. The amendment is intended to satisfy the required program amendment codified in the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 948.16(jjj). The proposed amendment is part of the State's efforts to fully resolve all ABS deficiencies and to satisfy the required program amendment at 30 CFR 948.16(lll).

This document gives the times and locations that the amendment is available for your inspection, and the comment period during which you may submit written comments.

DATES:

We will accept written comments until 4:30 p.m. (local time), on May 21, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

You may mail or hand-deliver written comments to Mr. Roger W. Calhoun, Director, Charleston Field Office at the address listed below.

You may review copies of the West Virginia program, this amendment, 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 amendment by contacting OSM's Charleston Field Office.

Mr. Roger W. Calhoun, Director, Charleston Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1027 Virginia Street, East, Charleston, West Virginia 25301, Telephone: (304) 347-7158. E-mail: chfo@osmre.gov.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, 10 McJunkin Road, Nitro, West Virginia 25143, Telephone: (304) 759-0510. The approved amendment is posted at the Division of Mining and Reclamation's Internet web page: http://www.dep.state.wv.us/​mr.

In addition, you may review copies of the amendment and all written comments received in response to this document during regular business hours at the following locations:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Morgantown Area Office, 75 High Street, Room 229, P.O. Box 886, Morgantown, West Virginia 26507, Telephone: (304) 291-4004. (By Appointment Only)

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Beckley Area Office, 313 Harper Park Drive, Suite 3, Beckley, West Virginia 25801, Telephone: (304) 255-5265.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Roger W. Calhoun, Director, Charleston Field Office; Telephone: (304) 347-7158.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the West Virginia Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

IV. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the West Virginia 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 West Virginia program on January 21, 1981. You can find background information on the West Virginia program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of approval of the West Virginia program in the January 21, 1981, Federal Register (46 FR 5915). You can also find later actions concerning West Virginia's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 948.10, 948.12, 948.13, 948.15, and 948.16.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated April 9, 2002 (Administrative Record Number WV-1296A), West Virginia sent us a proposed amendment to its program under SMCRA. The amendment that we are seeking comment on concerns the water quality enhancement provisions at Code of State Regulations (CSR) 38-2-12.5. The amendment to CSR 38-2-12.5. was submitted as part of a larger program amendment authorized by Enrolled Committee Substitute for House Bill 4163 that was passed by the Legislature on March 9, 2002, and signed into law by the Governor on April 3, 2002 (Administrative Record Number WV-1293).

We are seeking your comments on the deletion, at CSR 38-2-12.5.d., of the 25-percent limitation on expenditures from the Fund for water quality enhancement projects. The specific language that the State proposed to delete at subsection 12.5.d. is as follows:

Expenditures from the special reclamation fund for water quality enhancement projects shall not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the funds gross annual revenue as provided in subsection g, section 11 of the [West Virginia] Act.

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After the deletion, CSR 38-2-12.5.d. reads as follows:

12.5.d. In selecting such sites for water quality improvement projects, the Secretary shall determine the appropriate treatment techniques to be applied to the site. The selection process shall take into consideration the relative benefits and costs of the projects.

Related Information

This proposed amendment is part of the State's efforts to fully resolve all ABS deficiencies and to satisfy the required program amendment codified at 30 CFR 948.16(lll). On December 28, 2001, we approved an amendment to the West Virginia program concerning the ABS. The amendment was submitted in response to our 30 CFR part 733 notification of June 29, 2001 (Administrative Record Number WV-1218). The amendment consisted of changes to the Code of West Virginia (W. Va. Code) as contained in Enrolled Senate Bill 5003. It established the Special Reclamation Fund Advisory Council to ensure the effective, efficient and financially stable operation of the Fund; provided for a contract with a qualified actuary to determine the Fund's soundness on a four-year basis; increased the special reclamation tax rate to provide additional revenue for the reclamation of bond forfeiture sites; and deleted language in the statute that limited expenditures from the State's ABS for water treatment.

In our December 28, 2001 (66 FR 67446), approval, we deferred our decision on the broader question of whether the amendment fully satisfies the requirement at 30 CFR 948.16(lll), concerning the adequacy of the State's ABS. We also revised the required program amendment codified at 30 CFR 948.16(jjj) to require, in part, the removal of the 25-percent limitation on the expenditure of funds for water treatment at CSR 38-2-12.5.d. The State had previously removed the 25-percent limitation on the expenditure of funds for water treatment from its statute, but had failed to remove the 25-percent limitation in its rules.

On December 28, 2001, we opened a comment period to allow more time to consider and provide additional comment on the question of whether the State has fully satisfied the requirement at 30 CFR 948.16(lll) concerning the adequacy of the State's ABS. That comment period closed on March 28, 2002.

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 amendment 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 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 recommendation(s). In the final rulemaking, we will not necessarily consider or include in the administrative record any comments received after the time indicated under DATES or at locations other than the Charleston Field Office.

Electronic Comments

Please submit Internet comments as ASCII or Word file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include “Attn: SPATS No. WV-094-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 Charleston Field Office at (304) 347-7158.

Availability of Comments

We will make comments, including names and addresses of respondents, available for public review during our 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 names 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 inspection in their entirety.

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 exempt 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, to the extent allowable 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 because 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 affect 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. Start Printed Page 30338

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 OMB 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, geographic regions or Federal, State, or local government 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 a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on any governmental entity or the private sector.

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List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 948

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Dated: April 24, 2002.

George J. Rieger,

Acting Regional Director, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

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[FR Doc. 02-11247 Filed 5-3-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P