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Proposed Rule

Pennsylvania Regulatory Program

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


Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public hearing on removal of required amendment.


We are announcing receipt of a request to remove 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). In response to a required program amendment codified in the Federal regulations, Pennsylvania has submitted information that it believes demonstrates that sufficient funds exist to guarantee coverage of the full cost of land reclamation at all sites originally permitted and bonded under its now-defunct alternative bonding system. Pennsylvania requests that the program amendment be removed based on the information provided.

This document gives the times and locations that the Pennsylvania program and this submittal 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.


We will accept written comments until 4 p.m., local time March 9, 2011. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on March 4, 2011. We will accept requests to speak until 4 p.m., local time on February 22, 2011.


You may submit comments, identified by “PA-159-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2010-0017” by either of the following two methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: The proposed rule has been assigned Docket ID: OSM-2010-0017. If you would like to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, go to and follow the instructions.

Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Mr. George Rieger, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Harrisburg Transportation Center, 415 Market St., Suite 304, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the “Public Comment Procedures” heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

Docket: In addition to obtaining copies of documents at, information may also be obtained at the addresses listed Start Printed Page 6588below 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 Office.

George Rieger, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Harrisburg Transportation Center, 415 Market St., Suite 304, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101, Telephone: (717) 782-4036, E-mail:

Thomas Callaghan, P.G., 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, E-mail:

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George Rieger, Telephone: (717) 782-4036. E-mail:

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I. Background on the Pennsylvania Program

II. Description of the Request

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 Request

By letter dated October 1, 2010, (Administrative Record Number PA 802.72), Pennsylvania sent us a response to a program amendment that was required by OSMRE in a final rule notice published in the Federal Register on August 10, 2010, (75 FR 48526) and codified in the Federal Regulations at 30 CFR 938.16(h). The revised required amendment was in response to a previously required bonding amendment requirement codified at 30 CFR 938.16(h) and Pennsylvania's subsequent submission. After review of the amendment submission, we approved the majority of the submission but determined Pennsylvania had not provided guaranteed funding to cover the cost of the outstanding land reclamation liabilities at the Lehigh Coal and Navigation and Coal Contractors, Inc. sites in the event the bonds for these sites are forfeited. We revised the required amendment at 30 CFR 938.16(h) and required the PADEP to ensure its program provides suitable, enforceable funding mechanisms that are sufficient to guarantee coverage of the full cost of land reclamation at all sites originally permitted and bonded under the alternative bonding system.

Pennsylvania provided information it believes demonstrates that available funds are more than sufficient to guarantee coverage of the full cost of land reclamation at these two sites. The supporting information, can be obtained from the locations listed under ADDRESSES, includes a Demonstration of Available Funding; Coal Contractors 2009 Annual Bond Review; Lehigh Coal and Navigation Annual Bond Review; Updated Estimates for the Alternative Bonding System Bond Forfeiture Discharge Treatment Sites; and Updated Land Reclamation Estimates. Pennsylvania requests that we remove the condition found at 30 CFR 938.16(h) based on this demonstration.

III. Public Comment Procedures

Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we are seeking your comments on whether the submission satisfies the applicable program approval criteria of 30 CFR 732.15. If we approve the amendment, it will become part of the Pennsylvania program.

Electronic or Written Comments

If you submit written comments, they should be specific, confined to issues pertinent to the proposed regulations, and explain the reason for any recommended change(s). We appreciate any and all comments, but those most useful and likely to influence decisions on the final regulations will be those that either involve personal experience or include citations to and analyses of SMCRA, its legislative history, its implementing regulations, case law, other pertinent Tribal or Federal laws or regulations, technical literature, or other relevant publications. We cannot ensure that comments received after the close of the comment period (see DATES) or sent to an address other than those listed above (see ADDRESSES) will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered.

Public 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 may 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. We will not consider anonymous comments.

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 February 22, 2011. If you are disabled and need reasonable 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 there is only limited interest in participating in a public hearing, 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 a written summary of each meeting a part of the administrative record.Start Printed Page 6589

IV. Procedural Determinations

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.

Other Laws and Executive Orders Affecting Rulemaking

When a State submits a program amendment to OSM for review, our regulations at 30 CFR 732.17(h) require us to publish a notice in the Federal Register indicating receipt of the proposed amendment, its text or a summary of its terms, and an opportunity for public comment. We conclude our review of the proposed amendment after the close of the public comment period and determine whether the amendment should be approved, approved in part, or not approved. At that time, we will also make the determinations and certifications required by the various laws and executive orders governing the rulemaking process and include them in the final rule.

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List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 938

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Dated: November 12, 2010.

Thomas D. Shope,

Regional Director, Appalachian Region.

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[FR Doc. 2011-2601 Filed 2-4-11; 8:45 am]