Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Virginia Regulatory Program

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period.

SUMMARY:

We are reopening the public comment period on a proposed amendment to the Virginia regulatory program under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Since the close of the comment period, Virginia revised its revegetation standards for success for areas planted with a mixture of herbaceous and wood species by withdrawing one amendment and adding a new amendment. The amendments are intended to render the State's regulations consistent with SMCRA.

DATES:

We will accept written comments on the proposal until 4 p.m. (local time) on July 20, 2007.

Start Printed Page 36633

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by “VA-124-FOR”, by any of the following methods:

  • E-mail: tdieringer@osmre.gov. Include “VA-124-FOR” in the subject line of the message.
  • Mail/Hand Delivery: Mr. Tim Dieringer, Director, Knoxville Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1941 Neeley Road, Suite 201, Compartment 116, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219.

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency docket number for this rulemaking. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the “Public Comment Procedures” heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 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 Virginia 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:

Mr. Tim Dieringer, Director, Knoxville Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1941 Neeley Road, Suite 201, Compartment 116, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219, Telephone: (276) 523-4303. E-mail: tdieringer@osmre.gov.

Mr. Gavin Bledsoe, Virginia Division of Mined Land Reclamation, P. O. Drawer 900, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219, Telephone: (276) 523-8100. E-mail: gavin.bledsoe@dmme.virginia.gov.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Tim Dieringer, Director, Knoxville Field Office; Telephone: (276) 523-4303. E-mail: tdieringer@osmre.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Virginia Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

I. Background on the Virginia 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 Virginia program on December 15, 1981. You can find background information on the Virginia program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of approval of the Virginia program in the December 15, 1981, Federal Register (46 FR 61088). You can also find later actions concerning Virginia's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 946.12, 946.13, and 946.15.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated February 13, 2007 (Administrative Record Number VA-1059), the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) submitted an amendment to the Virginia program. In its letter, the DMME stated that the program amendment reflects revisions of the Virginia Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations concerning the distribution of topsoil and subsoil materials, revegetation standards for success, and to allow approval of natural stream restoration channel design, as developed in consultation with the Army Corps of Engineers.

We announced receipt of the proposed amendment in the April 9, 2007, Federal Register (72 FR 17452).

By electronic mail dated April 18, 2007, (Administrative Record Number VA-1074), the DMME stated that it wished to withdraw the changes it previously made to 4 VAC 25-130-816.116(a)(2) and 816.117(a)(2) due to an error. The amendments are to occur at sections 4 VAC 25-130-816.116(b)(3)(v)(C) and 817.116(b)(3)(v)(C) by changing its success standard for areas planted with a mixture of herbaceous and woody species from 90% to 80%.

In its initial amendment to 4 VAC 25-130-816.116/817(b)(3)(v)(C), Virginia deleted its “90%” success standard for areas planted with a mixture of herbaceous and woody species and replaced it with a “70%” success standard for areas planted with a mixture of herbaceous and woody species.

With this new amendment, 4 VAC 25-130-816/817.116(b)(3)(v)(C) provides as follows:

Areas planted with a mixture of herbaceous and woody species shall sustain a herbaceous vegetative ground cover of 80% and an average of 400 woody plants per acre. At least 40 of the woody plants for each acre shall be wildlife food-producing shrubs located suitably for wildlife enhancement, which may be distributed or clustered on the area.

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 Virginia program.

Written Comments

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 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 Big Stone Gap Area Office may not be logged in.

Electronic Comments

Please submit Internet comments as an E-mail or Word file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include Attn: SATS NO. “VA-124-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 Big Stone Gap Area office at (276) 523-4303.

Availability of Comments

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 946

End List of Subjects Start Signature
Start Printed Page 36634

Dated: May 31, 2007.

H. Vann Weaver,

Acting Regional Director, Appalachian Region.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E7-12977 Filed 7-3-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-05-P