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Proposed Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations; Notification of Methane Detected in Mine Atmosphere

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The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) [44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)]. This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.

Currently, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is soliciting comments concerning the extension of the information collection related to the 30 CFR sections 57.22004(c), 57.22229, 5722230, 5722231, and 57.22239; Methane Detected in Mine Atmosphere.


Submit comments on or before June 16, 2003.


Send comments to Jane Tarr, Management Analyst, Administration and Management, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2171, Arlington, VA 22209-3939. Commenters are encouraged to send their comments on computer disk, or via Internet E-mail to Tarr-Jane@Msha.Gov. Ms. Tarr can be reached at (202) 693-9824 (voice), or (202) 693-9801 (facsimile).

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Jane Tarr, Management Analyst, Records Management Group, U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Room 2171, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209-3939. Ms. Tarr can be reached at Tarr-Jane@Msha.Gov (Internet E-mail), (202) 693-9824 (voice), or (202) 693-9801 (facsimile).

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I. Background

Sections 103(c), (I), and (j) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 authorizes the inspection, recordkeeping and reporting requirements implemented in 30 CFR 57, Subpart T-Safety Standards for Methane in Metal and Nonmetal mines. Methane is a flammable gas found in underground mining. Methane is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, and it tends to rise to the roof of a mine because it is lighter than air. Although methane itself is nontoxic, its presence reduces oxygen content by dilution when mixed with air, and consequently can act as an asphyxiant when present in large quantities. Methane mixed with air is explosive in the range of 5 to 15 percent, provided that 12 percent or more oxygen is present. The presence of dust containing volatile matter in the mine atmosphere may further enhance the explosion potential of methane in a mine.

Metal and Nonmetal mine operators are required to notify MSHA as soon as possible if any of the following events occur: (a) There is an outburst that results in 0.25 percent or more methane in the mine atmosphere; (b) there is a blowout that results in 0.25 percent or more methane in the mine atmosphere; (c) there is an ignition of methane; (d) air sample results indicate 0.25 percent or more methane in the mine atmosphere of a Subcategory I-B, I-C, II-B, V-B, or Category VI mine. If methane reaches 2.0 percent in a Category IV mine; or methane reaches 0.25 percent in the mine atmosphere of a Subcategory I-B, II-B, V-B, and VI mines, MSHA shall be notified immediately. MSHA investigates these occurrences to determine that the mine is placed in the proper category.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

MSHA is particularly interested in comments which:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

A copy of the proposed information collection request can be obtained by contacting the employee listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice, or viewed on the Internet by accessing the MSHA Home page ( and then choosing “Statutory and Regulatory Information” and “Federal Register Documents.”

III. Current Actions

MSHA is seeking an extension of the information collection related to certification and notification of methane detected in mine atmosphere.

Type of Review: Extension.

Agency: Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Title: Methane Detected in Mine Atmosphere.

OMB Number: 1219-0103.

Recordkeeping: Certification of examinations shall be kept for at least one year.

Frequency: On Occasion.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.

Respondents: 8.Start Printed Page 19034

Estimated Time Per Respondent: 3.88 hours.

Total Burden Hours: 31 hours.

Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): $0.

Total Burden Cost (operating/maintaining): $0.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated at Arlington, Virginia, this third day of April, 2003.

David L. Meyer,

Director, Office of Administration and Management.

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[FR Doc. 03-9445 Filed 4-16-03; 8:45 am]