Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.
Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public hearing on proposed amendment.
We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Alabama regulatory program (Alabama program) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Alabama proposes revisions to its rules about forms and license applications. Alabama intends to revise its program to improve operational efficiency.
This document gives the times and locations that the Alabama program and proposed amendment 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.
We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4 p.m., c.s.t., February 18, 2003. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on February 10, 2003. We will accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4 p.m., c.s.t. on January 31, 2003.
You should mail or hand deliver written comments and requests to speak at the hearing to Arthur W. Abbs, Director, Birmingham Field Office, at the address listed below.
You may review copies of the Alabama 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 Birmingham Field Office.
Arthur W. Abbs, Director, Birmingham Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 135 Gemini Circle, Suite 215, Homewood, Alabama 35209. Telephone: (205) 290-7282. Internet: email@example.com.
Alabama Surface Mining Commission, 1811 Second Avenue, P.O. Box 2390, Jasper, Alabama 35502-2390. Telephone: (205) 221-4130.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Arthur W. Abbs, Director, Birmingham Field Office. Telephone: (205) 290-7282. Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
I. Background on the Alabama Program
II. Description of the Proposed Amendment
III. Public Comment Procedures
IV. Procedural Determinations
I. Background on the Alabama 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 Alabama program on May 20, 1982. You can find background information on the Alabama program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval in the May 20, 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 22030). You can also find later actions concerning the Alabama program and program amendments at 30 CFR 901.10, 901.15, and 901.16.
II. Description of the Proposed Amendment
By letter dated October 17, 2002 (Administrative Record No. AL-0654), Start Printed Page 2264Alabama sent us an amendment to its program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). Alabama sent the amendment at its own initiative. Below is a summary of the changes proposed by Alabama. The full text of the program amendment is available for you to read at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES.
A. 880-X-1B Forms
Subchapter 880-X-1B lists the forms used in the operations and organization of the Alabama Surface Mining Commission.
1. Alabama proposes to delete the following forms:
Form ASMC-3 Request for Inspection & Bond Release.
Form ASMC-17 Permit Application for Underground Mining.
Form ASMC-98 Application for Coal Exploration Permit to Remove More Than 250 Tons of Coal or Disturb More Than One-Half Acre.
Form ASMC-137 Permit Application for Coal Processing Plants.
2. Alabama proposes to change the existing descriptions of Forms ASMC-6, ASMC-16, ASMC-176, and ASMC-232 to the descriptions shown below:
Form ASMC-6 Application for Coal Mining License/Application for Annual Update of Coal Mining License/Notification of Change in Ownership or Control.
Form ASMC-16 Permit Application for a Surface Coal Mine/Permit Application for an Underground Coal Mine/Permit Application for a Preparation Facility.
Form ASMC-176 Renewal Application for a Surface Coal Mine/Renewal Application for an Underground Coal Mine/Renewal Application for a Preparation Facility.
Form ASMC-232 Transfer Application for a Surface Coal Mine/Transfer Application for an Underground Coal Mine/Transfer Application for a Preparation Facility.
3. Alabama proposes to add the following new forms to its list at 880-X-1B:
Form ASMC 254 Notice of the Filing of a Renewal Application for Surface Coal Mining Permit (To Agencies).
Form ASMC 255 Notice of the Filing of a Revision Application for Surface Coal Mining Permit (To Agencies).
Form ASMC 256 Notice of the Filing of a Revision Application for Surface Coal Mining Operations (Landowner Notice).
Form ASMC 257 Notice of Filing of a Renewal Application for Surface Coal Mining Operations (Landowner Notice).
Form ASMC 258 Statement as to Negotiability of Certificate of Deposit and Assignment (Subsidence Impacts).
Form ASMC 259 Surety Bond (Subsidence).
B. 880-X-6A-.06 License Application Requirements
Alabama is proposing to revise 880-X-6A-.06(g)2(ii) to allow public accountants to certify and sign current statements of the net worth of applicants for licenses to conduct surface coal mining operations. Currently Alabama only allows certified public accountants to certify and sign these statements. The revised provision reads as follows:
A current statement in letter form, certified by a certified public accountant or public accountant licensed to do business in the State of Alabama that the applicant has a net worth of not less than $100,000. The statement must not be ambiguous, qualified, or otherwise vague. It must state the Alabama certificate or registration number of, and be signed by the certified public accountant or public accountant.
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.
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 Birmingham Field Office may not be logged in.
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: [AL-072-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 Birmingham Field Office at (205) 290-7282.
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.
If you wish to speak at the public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 4 p.m., c.s.t. on January 31, 2003. 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.
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. Start Printed Page 2265
IV. Procedural Determinations
Executive Order 12630—Takings
The revisions made at the initiative of the State have been reviewed and a determination made that they do not have takings implications. This determination is based on the fact that the deletions, revisions, and additions by the Alabama Surface Mining Commission to the forms listed in 880-X-1B are administrative and procedural in nature and are not expected to have a substantive effect on the regulated industry. The same is true for the revisions to 880-X-6A-.06.
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.). This determination is based on the fact that the deletions, revisions, and additions by the Alabama Surface Mining Commission to the forms listed in 880-X-1B are administrative and procedural in nature and are not expected to have a substantive effect on the regulated industry. The same is true for the revisions to 880-X-6A-.06.
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 on the fact that the deletions, revisions, and additions by the Alabama Surface Mining Commission to the forms listed in 880-X-1B are administrative and procedural in nature and are not expected to have a substantive effect on the regulated industry. The same is true for the revisions to 880-X-6A-.06.
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 on the fact that the deletions, revisions, and additions by the Alabama Surface Mining Commission to the forms listed in 880-X-1B are administrative and procedural in nature and are not expected to have a substantive effect on the regulated industry. The same is true for the revisions to 880-X-6A-.06.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 901
- Intergovernmental relations
- Surface mining
- Underground mining
Dated: November 7, 2002.
Charles E. Sandberg,
Acting Regional Director, Mid-Continent Regional Coordinating Center.
[FR Doc. 03-975 Filed 1-15-03; 8:45 am]
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