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Notice

Information Collection; Request for Comments; Locatable Minerals

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AGENCY:

Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the extension of an information collection associated with Locatable Minerals operations on National Forest System lands.

DATES:

Comments must be received in writing on or before March 7, 2005 to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES:

Comments concerning this notice should be addressed to Director, Minerals and Geology Management, Mail Stop 1126, USDA Forest Service, USDA, P.O. Box 96090, Washington, DC 20090-6090.

Comments also may be submitted via facsimile to (703) 605-1575 or by e-mail to 36cfr228a@fs.fed.us.

The public may inspect comments received at the Office of Director, Minerals and Geology Management, Forest Service, USDA, 5th Floor, Rosslyn Plaza “C” Building, 1601 North Kent Street, Arlington, VA 22209 during normal business hours. Visitors are encouraged to call (703) 605-4852 to facilitate entry into the building.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sam Hotchkiss, Minerals and Geology Management, at (703) 605-4852. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Locatable Minerals.

OMB Number: 0596-0022.

Expiration Date of Approval: July 31, 2005.

Type of Request: Extension with no revision.

Abstract: This collection of information is necessary to ensure that the environmental impacts associated with locatable mineral operations on National Forest System lands are minimized to the extent practicable. The Forest Service regulations at 36 CFR 228.5 require operators, with some exceptions, to submit a Notice of Intent or a Plan of Operations for conducting locatable minerals operations on National Forest System lands. The information that an operator must provide in a Plan of Operations is set out in 36 CFR 228.4(c), (d), and (e). The content of a Notice of Intent is described in 36 CFR 228.4(a)(2), and the content regarding Cessation of Operations is described in 36 CFR 228.10. Paragraph (g) of 36 CFR 228.4 displays the OMB number assigned to the information collection associated with locatable mineral operations.

Mineral operators notify the authorized Forest Service officer of their intention to conduct a locatable mineral operation on National Forest System lands by filing either a Notice of Intent or a Plan of Operations. No specific format is required for the information collection, but the form, FS-2800-5, Plan of Operations for Mining Activities on National Forest System lands, is available for use by the operators.

A Plan of Operations includes the following information: (1) The name and legal mailing address of operators (and claimants if they are not the operators) and their lessees, assigns, or designees; (2) a map or sketch showing information sufficient to locate the proposed area of operations on the ground, existing and/or proposed roads or access routes to be used in connection with the operations as set forth in 228.12 on access and the approximate location and size of areas where surface resources will be disturbed; and (3) information sufficient to describe the type of operations proposed and how they would be conducted, the type and standard of existing and proposed roads or access routes, the means of transportation used or to be used as set forth in 228.12, the period during which the proposed activity will take place, and measures to be taken to meet the requirements for environmental protection in 36 CFR 228.8.

A Notice of Intent includes the following information: (1) Information sufficient to identify the area involved; (2) the nature of the proposed operation; (3) the route of access to the area of operations; and (4) the method of transport. A Cessation of Operations statement includes verification of intent to maintain structures, equipment, and other facilities; expected reopening date; and an estimate of extended durations of operations.

These collections of information are crucial for protecting surface resources, plants, animals and their habitat, as well as the public safety on National Forest System lands. The collected information will help ensure that the exploration, development, and production of mineral resources are conducted in an environmentally sensitive manner; that these mineral operations are integrated with the planning and management of other resources using the principles of ecosystem management; and, that lands disturbed by minerals operations are reclaimed using the best scientific knowledge and principles and returned to other productive uses.

The following table shows the estimated time it takes an operator for an average Plan of Operations, Notice of Intent, and a Cessation of Operations to gather the appropriate information and put it into a logical order before submitting it to the Forest Service. The table also shows the number of the various types of locatable mineral operations received:

Plan of operationsNotice of intentCessation of operations
Estimate of Annual Burden8 hours2 hours1 hour.
Type of RespondentsMineral OperatorsMineral OperatorsMineral Operators.
Estimated Annual Number of Respondents7361,39619
Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent111
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Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents5,8882,79219

Comment is invited on: (1) Whether this collection of information is necessary for the stated purposes and the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical or scientific utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

All comments received in response to this notice, including names and addresses when provided, will be a matter of public record. Comments will be summarized and included in the submission for Office of Management and Budget approval.

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Dated: December 28, 2004.

Dave Holland,

Acting Deputy Chief for National Forest System.

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[FR Doc. 05-180 Filed 1-4-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P