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Montana Regulatory Program

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AGENCY:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

ACTION:

Final rule; approval of amendment.

SUMMARY:

We are approving an amendment to the Montana regulatory program (the “Montana program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (“SMCRA” or “the Act”). Montana proposed revisions to the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) at Chapter 17.24.1109 (BONDING: LETTERS OF CREDIT). Montana is revising its program to incorporate the additional flexibility afforded by the revised Federal regulations and SMCRA, as amended, and to improve operational efficiency.

DATES:

Effective Date: March 9, 2011.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeffery Fleischman, Field Office Director, Casper Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 150 East B Street, Room 1018, Casper, Wyoming 82604-1018, 307-261-6552, jfleischman@osmre.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Montana Program

II. Submission of the Proposed Amendment

III. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement's (OSM's) Findings

IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments

V. OSM's Decision

VI. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the Montana 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 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 Montana program on April 1, 1980. You can find background information on the Montana program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of approval in the April 1, 1980, Federal Register (45 FR 21560). You can also find later actions concerning Montana's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 926.15, 926.16, and 926.30.

II. Submission of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated July 14, 2010, Montana sent us an amendment to its program (Administrative Record Docket ID: OSM-2010-0010) under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). Montana sent the amendment to include the changes made at its own initiative. The amendment changes a condition for irrevocable letters of credit issued by banks as collateral in order to correct an error in the definition.

Specifically, in ARM 17.24.1109(1)(e)(iii), Montana (1) substitutes “capital stock” for “shareholder equity” to tailor the definition of “total stockholder's equity” to that used by the banking industry; and (2) deletes the criterion to evaluate the financial strength of a bank issuing a letter of credit set forth in ARM 17.24.1109(1)(f). The deletion of requirements in subsection (1)(f) recognizes that credit rating agencies change over time and that not all credit rating agencies use a rating scale that includes a `B+' rating as required by the regulation. In addition, credit rating agencies rate national banks and not state chartered banks. The deletion of subsection (1)(f) now allows qualifying state chartered banks to issue letters of credit as collateral for reclamation bonds. With the deletion of subsection (f), (g) through (j)(iii) will remain the same, but are renumbered (f) through (i)(iii).

We announced receipt of the proposed amendment in the October 5, 2010, Federal Register (Vol. 75, No. 192 FR 61366). In the same document, we opened the public comment period and provided an opportunity for a public hearing or meeting on the amendment's adequacy (Administrative Record No. OSM-2010-0010-0004).

We did not receive any comments. We did not hold a public hearing or meeting because no one requested one. The public comment period ended on November 4, 2010.

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 as described below.

A. Revisions to Montana's Rules With No Corresponding Federal Regulation

The following are proposed revisions to the Montana regulations that have no corresponding Federal regulation.

Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 17.24.1109, BONDING: LETTERS OF CREDIT.

The substitution of the term “capital stock” for “shareholders equity” brings subsection (1)(e)(iii) in line with the standard definition used by the banking and financial institutions.

The deletion of the requirements in subsection (1)(f) recognizes that credit rating agencies change over time and that not all credit rating agencies use a rating scale that includes a B+ rating as required by the regulation. In addition, credit rating agencies rate national banks and not state chartered banks. The deletion of subsection (1)(f) now allows qualifying state chartered banks to issue letters of credit as collateral for reclamation bonds.

We find that Montana's revision of ARM 17.24.1109 BONDING: LETTERS OF CREDIT adds specificity beyond that contained in the Federal regulations and is no less effective. Accordingly, we are approving Montana's revision.

IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments

Public Comments

We asked for public comments on the amendment (Administrative Record Docket ID: OSM-2010-0010), but did not receive any.Start Printed Page 12858

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 Montana program (Administrative Record No. OSM-2010-0010-0003), but did not receive any.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Concurrence and Comments

Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(i) and (ii), we are required to get 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 note that none of the proposed changes relate to air or water quality standards. Nevertheless, under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(ii), OSM requested comments on the amendment from EPA (Administrative Record No. OSM-2010-0010-0003). EPA did not respond to our request.

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 July 26, 2010, we requested comments on Montana's amendment (Administrative Record No. OSM-2010-0010-0003), but neither responded to our request.

V. OSM's Decision

Based on the above finding, we approve Montana's July 14, 2010, amendment.

To implement this decision, we are amending the Federal regulations at 30 CFR part 926, which codify decisions concerning the Montana 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 State's program demonstrates 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. This determination is based on the analysis performed for the counterpart Federal regulation.

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 (Regulatory Planning and Review).

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 rule does not involve or affect Indian Tribes in any way.

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 CFR 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) et seq.).

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. 3501 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 State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based upon 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. 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 Federal regulations.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million.Start Printed Page 12859

b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions.

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 an unfunded Mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any given year. 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 did not impose an unfunded mandate.

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List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 926

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Dated: January 3, 2011.

Allen D. Klein,

Regional Director, Western Region.

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For the reasons set out in the preamble, 30 CFR part 926 is amended as set forth below:

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PART 926—MONTANA

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1. The authority citation for part 926 continues to read as follows:

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

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2. Section 926.15 is amended in the table by adding a new entry in chronological order by “Date of Final Publication” to read as follows:

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Approval of Montana regulatory program amendments.
* * * * *
Original amendment submission dateDate of final publicationCitation/description
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
July 14, 2010March 9, 2011ARM 17.24.1109.
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[FR Doc. 2011-5388 Filed 3-8-11; 8:45 am]

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