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Rule

Pennsylvania Regulatory Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), Interior.

ACTION:

Final rule; approval of amendment.

SUMMARY:

We are announcing the removal of a required amendment to the Pennsylvania regulatory program (the “Pennsylvania program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). We are removing the required amendment because the Federal regulation upon which the required amendment was based no longer exists.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

April 22, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

George Rieger, Telephone: (717) 782-4036. Email: grieger@osmre.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Pennsylvania Program

II. Submission of the Proposed Amendment

III. OSM's Findings

IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments

V. OSM's Decision

VI. 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 State 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 in the July 30, 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 33050). You can also find later actions concerning Pennsylvania's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 938.11, 938.12, 938.15 and 938.16.

II. Submission of the Proposed Amendment

In the January 7, 2003, Federal Register (68 FR 721), we announced our proposal to remove the required amendment to Pennsylvania's program found at 30 CFR 938.16(ss). OSM proposed to remove the required amendment because the Federal regulation upon which the required amendment was based no longer exists. In the same document, we opened the public comment period and provided an opportunity for a public hearing or meeting on the amendments adequacy. We did not hold a public hearing or meeting because no one requested one. The public comment period ended on February 6, 2003. We did not receive any comments.

III. OSM's Findings

Following are the findings we made concerning the amendment under SMCRA and the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 732.15 and 732.17. We are approving the amendment.

At 30 CFR 938.16(ss), OSM required Pennsylvania to submit a change to its regulations under the ownership and control provisions concerning an applicant's eligibility for receiving a permit when outstanding violations are present. Specifically, it mandates that Pennsylvania amend 25 Pa. Code 86.37(a)(8) and (11) to require a permit applicant to submit proof that a violation has been corrected or is in the process of being satisfactorily corrected within 30 days of the initial judicial review affirming the violation.

The Federal provision corresponding to the required amendment at 938.16(ss) was formerly located at 30 CFR 773.15(b)(1)(ii). However, on December 19, 2000, we made changes to the Federal rules regarding ownership and control that eliminated this provision (65 FR 79582). In discussing the rule change at 30 CFR 773.15(b)(1)(ii), we noted:

Under the previous rule at § 773.15(b)(1)(ii), the permittee had 30 days from the date that the initial judicial review Start Printed Page 19743decision affirmed the validity of the violation to submit proof that the violation was being corrected to the satisfaction of the agency with jurisdiction over the violation. In contrast, final § 773.14(c) requires that the regulatory authority initiate action to suspend or revoke the permit as improvidently issued if the disposition of challenges or administrative or judicial appeals affirms the violation or ownership or control listing or finding. We made this change to ensure prompt implementation of the section 510(c) permit block sanction once the validity of a violation or ownership or control listing or finding is affirmed on appeal. (The previous rule did not specify what action the regulatory authority must take if the permittee did not submit the required proof within 30 days.) 65 FR at 79623.

Because the required amendment at 30 CFR 938.16(ss) required the State to comply with the previous regulations found at 30 CFR 773.15(b)(1)(ii) rather than new Federal regulations found at 30 CFR 773.14(c), it is now unnecessary and we are therefore removing it.

IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments

Public Comments

We asked for public comments on the amendment in a January 7, 2003, Federal Register notice (68 FR 721) but did not receive any.

Federal Agency Comments

Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(i) and section 503(b) of SMCRA, we requested comments on the amendment from various Federal agencies with an actual or potential interest in the Pennsylvania program (Administrative Record No. 844.06).

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Concurrence

Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(ii), we are required to get a written concurrence from EPA for those provisions of the program amendment that relate to air or water quality standards issued under the authority of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.). We did not seek EPA concurrence on this amendment because we determined that it contains no such provisions.

State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)

Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(4), we are required to request comments from the SHPO and ACHP on amendments that may have an effect on historic properties. On March 1, 2002, we requested comments on Pennsylvania's amendment (Administrative Record No. 844.06), but neither the SHPO nor the ACHP responded to our request.

V. OSM's Decision

Based on the above findings, we are removing the required amendment. To implement this decision, we are amending the Federal regulations at 30 CFR part 938, which codify decisions concerning the Pennsylvania program. We find that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this final rule effective immediately. Section 503(a) of SMCRA requires that the Pennsylvania program demonstrate that the State has the capability of carrying out the provisions of the Act and meeting its purposes. Making this regulation effective immediately will expedite that process. SMCRA requires consistency of State and Federal standards.

VI. Procedural Determinations

Executive Order 12630—Takings

This rule does not have takings implications because we have removed the counterpart Federal regulation upon which the required amendment was based. Therefore, we are requiring no action by the State.

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, and section 503(a)(7) requires that State programs contain rules and regulations “consistent with” regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to SMCRA.

Executive Order 13175—Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

In accordance with Executive Order 13175, we have evaluated the potential effects of this rule on Federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that the rule does not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian tribes. The basis for this determination is that our decision is on a State regulatory program and does not involve a Federal program involving Indian tribes.

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 Start Printed Page 19744require 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 removal of the required amendment, which is the subject of this rule, will have no significant economic impact upon a substantial number of small entities. We made this determination because we are not requiring action by the State but removing a required amendment concerning the counterpart Federal regulation which no longer exists.

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. We made this determination because we are not requiring action by the State but removing a required amendment concerning the counterpart Federal regulation which no longer exists.

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. We made this determination because we are not requiring action by the State but removing a required amendment concerning the counterpart Federal regulation which no longer exists.

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List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 938

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Dated: March 11, 2003.

Brent Wahlquist,

Regional Director, Appalachian Regional Coordinating Center.

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For the reasons set out in the preamble,

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PART 938—PENNSYLVANIA

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1. The authority citation for part 938 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.

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[Amended]
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2. Section 938.16 is amended by removing and reserving paragraph (ss).

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[FR Doc. 03-9841 Filed 4-21-03; 8:45 am]

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