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Proposed Rule

Wyoming Regulatory Program

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Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.


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


We are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Wyoming regulatory program (hereinafter, the “Wyoming program”) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (“SMCRA” or “the Act”). Wyoming proposes revisions and additions to rules concerning noncoal mine waste, valid existing rights, and individual civil penalties. Wyoming intends to revise its program to be consistent with the corresponding Federal regulations and SMCRA, clarify ambiguities, and improve operational efficiency.

This document gives the times and locations that the Wyoming program and proposed amendment to that program are available for your Start Printed Page 36041inspection, the comment period during which you may submit written comments on the amendment, and the procedures that we will follow for the public hearing, if one is requested.


We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m., M.D.T. July 21, 2011. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on July 18, 2011. We will accept requests to speak until 4 p.m., M.D.T. on July 6, 2011.


You may submit comments by either of the following two methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: This proposed rule has been assigned Docket ID: OSM-2011-0004. If you would like to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, go to and follow the instructions.
  • Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Jeffrey Fleischman, Director, Casper Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Dick Cheney Federal Building, POB 11018, 150 East B Street, Casper, Wyoming 82601-1018.

For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see III. Public Comment Procedures in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

In addition to viewing the docket and obtaining copies of documents at, you may review copies of the Wyoming program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public hearings, and all written comments received in response to this document, may be obtained at the addresses listed below during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You may also receive one free copy of the amendment by contacting OSM's Casper Field Office.

Jeffrey Fleischman, Director, Casper Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Dick Cheney Federal Building, POB 11018, 150 East B Street, Casper, Wyoming 82601-1018, (307) 261-6547,

John V. Corra, Director, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Herschler Building, 122 West 25th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, (307) 777-7046,

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Jeffrey Fleischman, Telephone: (307) 261-6547. Internet:

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I. Background on the Wyoming Program

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

III. Public Comment Procedures

IV. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the Wyoming 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 Wyoming program on November 26, 1980. You can find background information on the Wyoming program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval of the Wyoming program in the November 26, 1980, Federal Register (45 FR 78637). You can also find later actions concerning Wyoming's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 950.12, 950.15, 950.16, and 950.20.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

By letter dated April 28, 2011, Wyoming sent us a proposed amendment to its approved regulatory program (Administrative Record Docket ID No. OSM-2011-0004) under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). Wyoming submitted the amendment partly in response to a February 13, 2008, letter that we sent to Wyoming notifying them that OSM's December 17, 1999, Valid Existing Rights (VER) rule changes had been upheld in court and the State should respond to our April 2, 2001, letter sent in accordance with 30 CFR 732.17(c). That letter required Wyoming to submit amendments to ensure its program remains consistent with the Federal program. This amendment package is intended to address all required rule changes pertaining to VER. Wyoming also submitted the proposed amendment to address required program amendments at 30 CFR 950.16(r), (s), and (t), respectively, and deficiencies identified in a November 7, 1988, letter we sent in accordance with 30 CFR 732.17(c). These included changes to Wyoming's rules for noncoal mine waste, and individual civil penalties.

Specifically, Wyoming proposes to amend the Land Quality Division Coal Rules and Regulations at Chapter 2, Section 2(a)(v)(A) and 2(a)(v)(A)(II) (adjudication requirements for noncoal mine waste); Chapter 2, Section 5(a)(xx) and (xxi) (permit application plans for the management and disposal of noncoal mine waste); Chapter 4, Section 2(c)(xiii) (general environmental protection performance standards for noncoal mine waste); Chapter 7, Section 1(a) (underground coal mining permit application content requirements); Chapter 7, Section 2(b) (applicability of noncoal mine waste management and performance standards to underground mining operations); Chapter 1, Section 2(fl) (definition of VER and the applicable standards and procedures used to evaluate VER claims); Chapter 10, Section 2(a), (b)(xiii) and 3(c)(iv) (clarifying language regarding the operation of VER in relation to coal exploration activities); Chapter 12, Section 1(a)(v)-(xi) (VER determination and permitting procedures); and Chapter 16, Section 4 (procedural mechanisms related to the assessment of individual civil penalties). The full text of the program amendment is available for you to read at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES.

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 Wyoming 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 Start Printed Page 36042your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available in the electronic docket for this rulemaking at 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.

Public Hearing

If you wish to speak at the public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 4 p.m., M.D.T. on July 6, 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. If only one person expresses an interest, a public meeting rather than a hearing may be held, with the results included in the docket for this rulemaking.

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.

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 950

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Dated: May 9, 2011.

Allen D. Klein,

Director, Western Region.

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[FR Doc. 2011-15400 Filed 6-20-11; 8:45 am]