Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Iowa Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Plan

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.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public hearing.

SUMMARY:

We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Iowa abandoned mine land reclamation plan (Iowa plan) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Division of Soil Conservation (DSC) proposes to assume responsibility of the abandoned mine land reclamation (AMLR) emergency program in Iowa. DSC also proposes to revise its AMLR plan in response to a letter sent by OSM (Administrative Record No. AML-IA-39) and to update other portions of its AMLR plan to reflect current practices. Iowa intends to revise the Iowa plan to be consistent with the corresponding Federal regulations and to improve operational efficiency. In addition, we are including in this notice Iowa's proposal to revise its statute.

This document gives the times and locations that the Iowa plan and the amendment to that plan are available for your inspection, the comment period during which you may submit written comments on the amendment, and the procedures that will be followed for the public hearing, if one is requested.

DATES:

We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4 p.m., c.d.t., September 12, 2002. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on September 9, 2002. We will accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4 p.m., c.d.t. on August 28, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

You should mail or hand deliver written comments and requests to speak at the hearing to John W. Coleman, Mid-Continent Regional Coordinating Center, at the address listed below.

You may review copies of the Iowa plan, the 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 Mid-Continent Regional Coordinating Center.

John W. Coleman, Mid-Continent Regional Coordinating Center, Office of Surface Mining, Alton Federal Building, 501 Belle Street, Alton, Illinois 62002, Telephone: (618) 463-6460, Internet: jcoleman@osmre.gov.

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Division of Soil Conservation, Henry A. Wallace Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, Telephone (515) 281-6147.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

John W. Coleman, Mid-Continent Regional Coordinating Center. Telephone (618) 463-6460. Internet: jcoleman@osmre.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Iowa Plan

The AMLR Program was established by Title IV of the Act (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.) in response to concerns over extensive environmental damage caused by past coal mining activities. The program is funded by a reclamation fee collected on each ton of coal that is produced. The money collected is used to finance the reclamation of abandoned coal mines and for other authorized activities. Section 405 of the Act allows States and Indian Tribes to assume exclusive responsibility for reclamation activity within the State or on Indian lands if they develop and submit to the Secretary of the Interior for approval, a program (often referred to as a plan) for the reclamation of abandoned coal mines. On the basis of these criteria, the Secretary of the Interior approved the Iowa plan on March 28, 1983. You can find background information on the Iowa plan, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the approval of the plan in the March 28, 1983, Federal Register (48 FR 12711). You can find later actions concerning the Iowa plan and amendments to the plan at 30 CFR 915.25.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated June 14, 2002 (Administrative Record No. AML-IA-44), Iowa sent us a proposed amendment to its AMLR plan under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). Iowa sent the amendment at its own initiative and in response to a letter dated September 26, 1994 (Administrative Record No. AML-IA-39), that we sent to Iowa in accordance with 30 CFR 884.15(d). Iowa intends to revise the Iowa plan to be consistent with the corresponding Federal regulations. In addition, Iowa proposes to revise its statute at Iowa Code, Chapter 207. Below is a summary of the changes proposed by Iowa. The full text of the amendment is available for your inspection at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES.Start Printed Page 52660

A. Iowa's Proposed AMLR Plan Revisions

1. Section 410 of SMCRA authorizes the Secretary to use funds under the AMLR program to abate or control emergency situations in which adverse effects of past coal mining pose an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or general welfare. On September 29, 1982 (47 FR 42729), we invited states to amend their AMLR plans for the purpose of undertaking emergency reclamation programs on our behalf. States would have to demonstrate that they have the statutory authority to undertake emergencies, the technical capability to design and supervise the emergency work, and the administrative mechanisms to quickly respond to emergencies either directly or through contractors.

a. The following information, taken from the approved Iowa plan, is included by reference in Iowa's formal submission to us to verify that the Iowa DSC has the statutory authority to assume AMLR emergency program responsibilities:

i. A letter from the Governor that designates the Iowa Department of Soil Conservation as the agency responsible for the AMLR Program in Iowa. By virtue of the state government reorganization in 1986, all the powers of the Department of Soil Conservation were transferred to the new DSC within the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. A final rule codifying this change was published in the Federal Register on October 7, 1986 (51 FR 35632).

ii. A legal opinion from the office of the Iowa Attorney General that the Iowa Department of Soil Conservation has the power to administer the AMLR Program in Iowa. By virtue of the state government reorganization in 1986, all the powers of the Department of Soil Conservation were transferred to the new DSC within the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

iii. A copy of the Iowa Code (IC) 1999 Supplement (IC sections 207.21, .22, .23, .25, and .29). IC section 207.21 states that the DSC shall participate in the AMLR reclamation program and establishes a state reclamation fund under the control of the DSC. IC section 207.29 authorizes the DSC to engage in any work and do all things necessary or expedient, including adoption of rules, to implement and administer the provisions of an abandoned mine reclamation program.

iv. A copy of the Iowa AMLR Program regulations, Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) 27-50.10 through 27-50.190. Iowa's regulations at IAC 27-50.70 provide authorization and procedures for the DSC to enter upon property to perform reclamation where the owner will give voluntary consent. Iowa's regulations at IAC 27-50.90 provide the right for the DSC or its agents, employees or contractors, to enter upon land to perform reclamation activities if consent of the owner cannot be obtained. Procedures are provided for this entry.

b. Iowa submitted the following statement to demonstrate the DSC's technical capability to design and supervise the emergency work:

DSC has operated a successful AML reclamation program for nearly 20 years. We have completed numerous mine shaft closure projects under that program and have been assisting OSM in its abatement of AML subsidence emergencies since 1995. We have a geotechnical engineer on staff who is familiar with emergency project design practices and we have the ability to prepare project design plans, specifications and contract documents in-house. The DSC staff can also provide in-house project inspection services since emergency projects are normally of short duration. Based on the past experience of the AML Program and the current capabilities of our staff, the Division is seeking authority to assume responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the AML emergency program in Iowa.

c. Iowa proposes to update the following policy and procedure sections of its AMLR plan to reflect that the state has the administrative mechanisms to quickly respond to emergencies either directly or through contractors: Section III. C. Ranking and Selection Procedures (30 CFR 884.13(c)(2)); Section III. G. Rights of Entry (30 CFR 884.13(c)(6)); and Section IV. C. Purchasing and Procurement Systems (30 CFR 884.13(d)(3)).

2. Iowa proposes to amend the following sections in its AMLR plan: Section III. A. Purposes of the State Reclamation Program (30 CFR 884.13(c)(1)); Section III. B. Identification of Eligible Land and Water (30 CFR 884.13(c)(2)); Section III. C. Ranking and Selection Procedures (30 CFR 884.13(c)(2)); Section III. D. Coordination of Reclamation Work (30 CFR 884.13(c)(3)); Section III. E. Acquisition, Management, and Disposition of Land and Water (30 CFR 884.13(c)(4)); Section III. F. Reclamation on Private Land (30 CFR 884.13(c)(5)); Section III. H. Public Participation Policies (30 CFR 884.13(c)(7)); Section IV. A. Organizational Structure (30 CFR 884.13(d)(1)); Section IV. B. Personnel Policies (30 CFR 884.13(d)(2)); Section IV. C. Purchasing and Procurement Systems (30 CFR 884.13(d)(3)); Section IV. D. Management Accounting (30 CFR 884.13(d)(4)); Section V. B. AML Problem Descriptions (30 CFR 884.13(e)(2)); and Section V. C. AML Corrective Measures (30 CFR 884.13(e)(3)).

B. Iowa's Proposed Statute Revisions

Iowa proposes to amend the following sections in its statute at Iowa Code, Chapter 207: Section 207.21 regarding lands and water eligible for reclamation or drainage abatement expenditures under the AMLR program and the priority order for expending the moneys; and Section 207.23 regarding liens. Iowa also proposes to add new Section 207.29 Powers and Authority.

III. Public Comment Procedures

Under the provisions of 30 CFR 884.15(a), we are requesting comments on whether the amendment satisfies the applicable State reclamation plan approval criteria of 30 CFR 884.14. If we approve the amendment, it will become part of the Iowa plan.

Written Comments

Send your written 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 Mid-Continent 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: [IA-007-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 Mid-Continent Regional Coordinating Center at (618) 463-6460.

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 Start Printed Page 52661beginning 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 p.m., c.d.t. on August 28, 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 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 and Tribal abandoned mine land reclamation plans and plan amendments because each plan is drafted and promulgated by a specific State or Tribe, not by OSM. Decisions on proposed abandoned mine land reclamation plans and plan amendments submitted by a State or Tribe are based solely on a determination of whether the submittal meets the requirements of Title IV of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1231-1243) and 30 CFR Part 884 of the Federal regulations.

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 abandoned mine reclamation programs. 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 405(d) of SMCRA requires State abandoned mine reclamation programs to be in compliance with the procedures, guidelines, and requirements established under 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 agency decisions on proposed State and Tribal abandoned mine land reclamation plans and plan amendments are categorically excluded from compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4332) by the Manual of the Department of the Interior (516 DM 6, appendix 8, paragraph 8.4B(29)).

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 corresponding 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 government 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 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.

Start List of Subjects Start Printed Page 52662

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 915

End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: June 24, 2002.

Charles E. Sandberg,

Acting Regional Director, Mid-Continent Regional Coordinating Center.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-20464 Filed 8-12-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P