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Proposed Rule

Pennsylvania Regulatory Program

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public hearing on a proposed amendment.

SUMMARY:

We are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania regulatory program (the “Pennsylvania program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Pennsylvania proposes to revise its program to exclude coal extraction on government-financed construction projects from regulation under the surface coal mining regulations. The proposed amendment is intended to revise the Pennsylvania program to be consistent with the corresponding Federal regulations and to include provisions at its own initiative.

This document gives the times and locations that the Pennsylvania program and this amendment are available for your inspection, the comment period during which you may submit written comments, and the procedures that we will follow for the public hearing, if one is requested.

DATES:

We will accept written comments until 4 p.m., local time March 8, 2007. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on March 5, 2007. We will accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4 p.m., local time on February 21, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by “PA-149-FOR”, by any of the following methods:

  • E-mail: grieger@osmre.gov. Include “PA-149-FOR” in the subject line of the message;
  • Mail/Hand Delivery: Mr. George Rieger, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 415 Market Street, Room 304, Harrisburg, PA 17101 Telephone: (717) 782-4036.
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency docket number “PA-149-FOR” for this rulemaking. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the “Public Comment Procedures” section in this document. You may also request to speak at a public hearing by any of the methods listed above or by contacting the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Docket: You may review copies of the Pennsylvania program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public hearings, and all written comments received in response to this document at OSM's Pittsburgh Field Division Office at the address listed above during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You may receive one free copy of the amendment by contacting OSM's Pittsburgh Field Division's Harrisburg Office. In addition, you may receive a copy of the submission during regular business hours at the following location: Joseph P. Pizarchik, Director, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 8461, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-8461, Telephone: (717) 787-5015.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. George Rieger, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division, Telephone: (717) 782-4036. E-mail: grieger@osmre.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Pennsylvania Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

IV. 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 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 this Act * * *; and rules and regulations consistent with regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to this 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 of the Pennsylvania program in the July 30, 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 33050). You can also find later actions concerning the Pennsylvania program and program amendments at 30 CFR 938.11, 938.12, 938.13, 938.15 and 938.16.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated December 18, 2006 (Administrative Record Number PA 891.00), Pennsylvania sent us a proposed amendment to its program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). The amendment adds new section 25 Pennsylvania Code (PA Code) 86.6 which provides for the exemption from the permitting requirements of 25 PA Code Chapters 87 and 88 when extraction of coal is incidental to government-financed construction or government-financed reclamation projects and specified requirements are Start Printed Page 5381met. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP or Department) believes that this amendment is consistent with the Federal program and is no less effective than the Federal regulations at 30 CFR part 707 (Exemption for Coal Extraction Incident to Government-Financed Highway or Other Construction).

The full text of the proposed amendment is quoted below:

§ 86.6 Extraction of coal incidental to government-financed construction or government-financed reclamation projects.

(a) Extraction of coal incidental to government-financed construction or government-financed reclamation projects is exempt from the permitting requirements of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act Construction [sic] and this chapter as it relates to surface mining activities and operations, and Chapters 87 and 88 (relating to surface mining of coal; and anthracite coal) if the following conditions are met:

(1) During the project site selection process and prior to development of final construction plans or reclamation plans for projects located within coal bearing regions, the government entity financing the construction or reclamation has provided the Department with an opportunity to provide comments on the potential environmental impacts of the project.

(2) The extraction of coal is necessary to enable the construction or reclamation to be accomplished. Only that coal extracted from within the right-of-way, in the case of a road, railroad, utility line or other similar construction, or within the boundaries of the area directly affected by other types of government-financed construction or government-financed reclamation, may be considered incidental to that construction or reclamation.

(3) The construction or reclamation is funded by a Federal, Commonwealth, county, municipal, or local unit of government, or a department, bureau, agency, or office of the unit which, directly or through another unit of government, finances the construction or reclamation.

(4) The construction or reclamation is funded 50% or more by funds appropriated from the government unit's budget or obtained from general revenue bonds. Funding at less than 50% may qualify if the construction is undertaken as a Department-approved reclamation contract or project.

(5) The construction or reclamation is performed under a bond, contract and specifications that substantially provide for and require protection of the environment, reclamation of the affected area, and handling of excavated materials in a manner consistent with the acts and regulations implementing the acts.

(6) The Department has approved the standards and specifications for protection of the environment that will apply to the project when potential adverse environmental impacts have been identified.

(b) Construction funded through government financing agency guarantees, insurance, loans, funds obtained through industrial revenue bonds or their equivalent or in-kind payments do not qualify as government-financed construction.

(c) A person extracting coal incidental to government-financed construction or government-financed reclamation who extracts more than 250 tons of coal or affects more than 2 acres shall maintain on the site of the extraction operation and make available for inspection the following documents:

(1) A written description of the construction or reclamation project.

(2) A map showing the exact location of the construction or reclamation, right-of-way or the boundaries of the area which will be directly affected by the construction or reclamation.

(3) A statement identifying the government agency that is providing the financing and the kind and amount of public financing, including the percentage of the entire construction costs represented by the government financing.

(4) When the area delineated in paragraph (2) is wholly or partially within an area designated unsuitable for mining by the EQB [Environmental Quality Board] under section 86.130 (relating to areas designated as unsuitable for mining), a copy of the detailed report required by section 86.124(e) (relating to procedures: Initial processing, recordkeeping and notification requirements).

(d) Government-financed construction projects and government-financed reclamation shall comply with Chapters 91-96, 102 and 105.

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 Pennsylvania program.

Written Comments

Send your written 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 may 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 Pittsburgh Field Division identified above may not be logged in.

Electronic Comments

Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include “Attn: PA-149-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 Pittsburgh Field Division's Harrisburg Office at (717) 782-4036.

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.

Public Hearing

If you wish to speak at the public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 4 p.m., local time on February 21, 2007. 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 the hearing.

To assist the transcriber and ensure an accurate record, we request, if possible, that each person who speaks at a 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 submission, 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 Start Printed Page 5382a 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, to the extent allowable by law, 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 since each such 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 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 lands.

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

Section 702(d) of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1292(d)) provides that a decision on a proposed State regulatory program provision does not constitute major Federal action within the meaning of section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c). A determination has been made that such decisions are categorically excluded from the NEPA process (516 DM 13.5(A)(2)).

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 has determined 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 amendment that is the subject of this rule is based on 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. Accordingly, this rule will ensure that existing requirements previously promulgated by OSM will be implemented by the State. 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 counterpart 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, geographic regions, or Federal, State or local governmental agencies; 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 a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on any governmental entity or the private sector.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 938

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Dated: January 12, 2007.

H. Vann Weaver,

Acting Regional Director, Appalachian Region.

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[FR Doc. E7-1862 Filed 2-5-07; 8:45 am]

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