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Notice

Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards

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ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and 30 CFR Part 44 govern the application, processing, and disposition of petitions for modification. This notice is a summary of petitions for modification submitted to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) by the parties listed below to modify the application of existing mandatory safety standards codified in Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

DATES:

All comments on the petitions must be received by the Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances on or before July 25, 2012.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit your comments, identified by “docket number” on the subject line, by any of the following methods:

1. Electronic Mail: zzMSHA-comments@dol.gov. Include the docket number of the petition in the subject line of the message.

2. Facsimile: 202-693-9441.

3. Regular Mail or Hand Delivery: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939, Attention: George F. Triebsch, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances. Persons delivering documents are required to check in at the receptionist's desk on the 21st floor. Individuals may inspect copies of the petitions and comments during normal business hours at the address listed above.

MSHA will consider only comments postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service or proof of delivery from another delivery service such as UPS or Federal Express on or before the deadline for comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Barbara Barron, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances at 202-693-9447 (Voice), barron.barbara@dol.gov (Email), or 202-693-9441 (Facsimile). [These are not toll-free numbers.]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act) allows the mine operator or representative of miners to file a petition to modify the application of any mandatory safety standard to a coal or other mine if the Secretary of Labor determines that:

(1) An alternative method of achieving the result of such standard exists which will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners of such mine by such standard; or

(2) That the application of such standard to such mine will result in a diminution of safety to the miners in such mine.

In addition, the regulations at 30 CFR 44.10 and 44.11 establish the requirements and procedures for filing petitions for modification.

II. Petitions for Modification

Docket Number: M-2012-081-C.

Petitioner: White Oak Resources, LLC, 121 S. Jackson Street, McLeansboro, Illinois 62859.

Mine: White Oak Mine No. 1, MSHA I.D. No. 11-03203, located in Hamilton County, Illinois.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.500(d) (Permissible electric equipment)

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit the use of nonpermissible electronic testing or diagnostic equipment in or inby the last open crosscut. The petitioner states that:

(1) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment to be used includes: Laptop computers; oscilloscopes; vibration analysis machines; cable fault detectors; point temperature probes; infrared temperature devices; insulation testers (meggers); voltage, current, and power measurement devices; signal analyzer devices; ultrasonic thickness gauges; electronic component testers; and electronic tachometers. Other testing and diagnostic equipment may be used if approved in advance by the MSHA District Manager.

(2) All other testing and diagnostic equipment used in or inby the last open crosscut will be permissible.

(3) All nonpermissible testing and diagnostic used in or inby the last open crosscut will be examined by a qualified person (as defined in 30 CFR 75.153) prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations results will be recorded in the weekly examination book and will be made available to MSHA and the miners at the mine.

(4) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment in or inby the last open crosscut.

(5) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent. When one percent or more methane is detected while the nonpermissible electronic equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn outby the last open crosscut.

(6) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(7) Except for time necessary to troubleshoot under actual mining conditions, coal production in the section will cease. However, coal may remain in or on the equipment to test and diagnose the equipment under “load.”

(8) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will not be used to test equipment when coal dust is in suspension.

(9) All electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will be used in accordance with the safe use procedures recommended by the manufacturer.

(10) Qualified personnel who use electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with use of the equipment.

(11) Any piece of equipment subject to this petition will be inspected by MSHA prior to initially placing it in service underground.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that under the terms and conditions of the petition for modification, the use of nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-082-C.

Petitioner: White Oak Resources, LLC, 121 S. Jackson Street, McLeansboro, Illinois 62859.

Mine: White Oak Mine No. 1, MSHA I.D. No. 11-03203, located in Hamilton County, Illinois.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002(a) (Installation of electric equipment and conductors; permissibility).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit the use of nonpermissible electronic testing or diagnostic equipment within 150 feet of longwall faces. The petitioner states that:

(1) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment to be used includes: Laptop computers; oscilloscopes; vibration analysis machines; cable fault detectors; point temperature probes; infrared temperature devices; insulation testers (meggers); voltage, current, and power measurement devices; signal analyzer devices; ultrasonic thickness gauges; electronic component testers; and electronic tachometers. Other testing and diagnostic equipment may be used if approved in advance by the MSHA District Manager.

(2) All other testing and diagnostic equipment used within 150 feet of longwall faces will be permissible.

(3) All nonpermissible testing and diagnostic equipment used within 150 feet of longwall faces will be examined by a qualified person (as defined in 30 CFR 75.153) prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations results will be recorded in the weekly examination book and will be made available to MSHA and the miners at the mine.

(4) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment within 150 feet of longwall faces.

(5) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent. When one percent or more methane is detected while the nonpermissible electronic equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn further than 150 feet of longwall faces.

(6) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(7) Except for time necessary to troubleshoot under actual mining conditions, coal production in the section will cease. However, coal may remain in or on the equipment to test and diagnose the equipment under “load.”

(8) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will not be used to test equipment when coal dust is in suspension.

(9) All electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will be used in accordance with the safe use procedures recommended by the manufacturer.

(10) Qualified personnel who use electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with use of the equipment.

(11) Any piece of equipment subject to this petition will be inspected by MSHA prior to initially placing it in service underground.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that under the terms and conditions of the petition for modification, the use of nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-083-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Eagle Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-08759, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.500(d) (Permissible electric equipment).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in or inby the last open crosscut will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn outby the last open crosscut.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air outby the last open crosscut.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-084-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Eagle Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-08759, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.507-1(a) (Electric equipment other than power-connection points; outby the last open crosscut; return air; permissibility requirements).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in return airways will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn out of the return airways.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air out of the return.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-085-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Eagle Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-08759, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002(a) (Installation of electric equipment and conductors; permissibility).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary. To ensure the safety of the miners in active mines and to protect miners in future mines that may mine in close proximity to these same active mines it is necessary to determine the exact location and extent of the mine workings.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used within 150 feet of pillar workings will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn further than 150 feet from pillar workings.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air more than 150 feet from pillar workings.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-086-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Peerless Rachel Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09258, located in Boone County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.500(d) (Permissible electric equipment).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in or inby the last open crosscut will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn outby the last open crosscut.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air outby the last open crosscut.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-087-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Peerless Rachel Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09258, located in Boone County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.507-1(a) (Electric equipment other than power-connection points; outby the last open crosscut; return air; permissibility requirements).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in return airways will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn out of the return airways.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air out of the return.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-088-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Peerless Rachel Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09258, located in Boone County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002(a) (Installation of electric equipment and conductors; permissibility).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary. To ensure the safety of the miners in active mines and to protect miners in future mines that may mine in close proximity to these same active mines it is necessary to determine the exact location and extent of the mine workings.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining, by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used within 150 feet of pillar workings will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn further than 150 feet from pillar workings.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air more than 150 feet from pillar workings.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-089-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Coalburg No. 1 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-08993, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.500(d) (Permissible electric equipment).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in or inby the last open crosscut will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn outby the last open crosscut.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air outby the last open crosscut.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-090-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Coalburg No. 1 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-08993, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.507-1(a) (Electric equipment other than power-connection points; outby the last open crosscut; return air; permissibility requirements).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in return airways will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn out of the return airways.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air out of the return.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-091-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Coalburg No. 1 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-08993, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002(a) (Installation of electric equipment and conductors; permissibility).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary. To ensure the safety of the miners in active mines and to protect miners in future mines that may mine in close proximity to these same active mines it is necessary to determine the exact location and extent of the mine workings.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining, by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used within 150 feet of pillar workings will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn further than 150 feet from pillar workings.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air more than 150 feet from pillar workings.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-092-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Coalburg No. 2 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09231, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.500(d) (Permissible electric equipment).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in or inby the last open crosscut will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn outby the last open crosscut.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air outby the last open crosscut.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-093-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Coalburg No. 2 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09231, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.507-1(a) (Electric equipment other than power-connection points; outby the last open crosscut; return air; permissibility requirements).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in return airways will be examined prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn out of the return airways.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air out of the return.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-094-C.

Petitioner: Newtown Energy, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.

Mine: Coalburg No. 2 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09231, located in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002(a) (Installation of electric equipment and conductors; permissibility).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:

(1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary. To ensure the safety of the miners in active mines and to protect miners in future mines that may mine in close proximity to these same active mines it is necessary to determine the exact location and extent of the mine workings.

(2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:

(a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery-operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.

(b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used within 150 feet of pillar workings will be examined by surveying personnel prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:

(i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.

(ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.

(iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.

(iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.

(v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.

(c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.

(d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings.

(e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn further than 150 feet from pillar workings.

(f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as defined in 30 CFR 75.320.

(g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air more than 150 feet from pillar workings.

(h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.

(i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.

Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Docket Number: M-2012-095-C.

Petitioner: Bledsoe Coal Corporation, Route 2008, Box 351A, Big Laurel, Kentucky 40808.

Mine: Mine No. 4, MSHA I.D. No. 15-11065, located in Leslie County, Kentucky.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 77.214(a) (Refuse piles; general).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard for surface areas of underground coal mines to permit the use of refuse material from the BL-1 Preparation Plant to reclaim the face-up area for five portals of Mine No. 4. The portals are located downstream of John Miniard Branch off Greasy Creek. The petitioner states that:

(1) The Mine No. 4 has been abandoned since June 2008, and currently, there is no waterflow from the five portals, although water controls will be constructed so that water could flow from the portals without saturating the fill.

(2) A fireproof barrier of clay or inert material will be constructed 4 feet over the exposed coal seam. Analysis of the material used to construct the fireproof barrier will be provided to verify it as noncombustible.

The petitioner proposes to:

(1) Place coarse refuse over abandoned underground mine openings in the Mine No. 4 coal seam during the reclamation of the portals. There are no steam lines associated with this proposal.

(2) Construct Miniard Branch portals coarse refuse fill over the underground mine openings face up located along the mouth of John Miniard Branch at the confluence of Greasy Creek. Five underground openings along the face up will be covered by coarse refuse. All of the openings are located in the Hazard No. 4 coal seam. (The location of each opening is shown on the Plan View map provided with this petition.) The petitioner further states that:

(1) The Hazard No. 4 coal seam in this area was mined from the early 1980's and closed in 2008.

(2) During the life of the mine, two of the portals fell in and sealed the openings (as shown on the Plan View map). Since this area was used mainly for an exhausting fan site, the portals were not cleaned back out.

(3) On closure of the mine, two water pipes were inserted into two different openings and the portals were backfilled 25 feet back into the mine and then 4 feet over the portals. Due to the dip of the coal seam, the water in this area drains to another set of portals that have pipes and water drains to allow the water to exit, and no water has come out at this site.

(4) The petitioner proposes to reclaim this site using coarse refuse over the backfilled portals. To contend with the eventuality that water might exit the mine through these portals, the petitioner will construct a durable rock underdrain across the front of the backfill spanning all the portals.

(5) Two pipes inserted back into the mine will tie into the rock underdrain so that any water seeping through the coarse refuse or coming out of the underground mine will travel through this rock underdrain. The rock underdrain will be constructed of durable rock and wrapped in filter fabric.

(6) On completion of the coarse refuse fill, the fill will be covered with noncombustible materials. Drawings detailing the construction methods used to seal the openings are provided with this petition.

To examine or obtain a copy of the petition, map, and drawings, contact MSHA using the information in the “For Further Information Contact” section of this notice.

Docket Number: M-2012-004-M.

Petitioner: Troy Mine, Inc., 1099 18th Street, Suite 2150, Denver, Colorado 80202.

Mine: Troy Mine Inc., MSHA I.D. No. 24-01467, Highway 56 South Asarco Mine Road, Troy, Montana, 59935, located in Lincoln County, Montana.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 57.11055 (Inclined escapeways).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard for underground metal and nonmetal mines to permit the use of a 317-foot portion of a designated secondary escapeway that is steel-encased with secure landings and equipped with a leaky feeder communication system. The petition pertains to a secondary escapeway/raisebore from the Upper C Bed to the Lower Quartzite area. The petitioner states that:

(1) The secondary escapeway/raisebore from the C Bed to the Lower Quartzite area is 42 inches in diameter and steel-encased.

(2) The escapeway/raisebore from the C Bed to the Lower Quartzite area is equipped with a ladder and secure landings at least every 30 feet, which conforms with MSHA's standard for surface travelways in 30 CFR 57.11025.

(3) The secondary escapeway/raisebore from the C Bed to the Lower Quartzite area consists of two sections. The first section is 114 feet beginning at the C Bed and ending at the Upper C Bed. The second section is 317 feet beginning at the Upper C Bed and ending at the Lower Quartzite area.

As an alternative method to the existing standard, the petitioner proposes to:

(1) Install a leaky feeder communication system in the steel-encased secondary escapeway from the C Bed to the Lower Quartzite area to provide the miners in the escapeway with continuous communication with the surface, and allow for notification that personnel are in the raise and on their way out.

(2) Use steel encasement of the escapeway/raisebore to protect the leaky feeder system from damage and protect the miners from exposure to falling rocks in the escapeway.

(3) Configure landings so that they are spaced at a maximum of 30-foot intervals to protect resting miners and prevent them from falling down the escapeway.

(4) Modify the escape and evacuation plan required by 30 CFR 57.11053 to provide for ventilation changes in the event of a fire when using the secondary escapeway, using the following procedures as appropriate:

(a) Reversing the fan direction at the top of the secondary escapeway.

(b) Closing ventilation tubes in the air-walls at the access drifts in each level.

(5) Install radio boxes in the secondary escapeway/raisebore from the C bed to the Lower Quartzite area. The radio boxes will contain several radios, a charging station for the radios, and extra batteries.

(6) Install clear and legible markings at 30-foot intervals denoting the remaining distance to the surface in the secondary escapeway/raisebore.

Within 45 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions to the escape and evacuation plan as required in 30 CFR 57.11053. Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. In addition to the requirements specified in this petition, the proposed revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions stated in the Proposed Decision and Order.

The petitioner further states that the proposed alternative method provides additional protection above and beyond the requirements of the existing standard by allowing miners in the secondary escapeway to know their exact location in the raise, while they are traveling out of the mine. With this information and the radios provided, exact information on miner locations can be communicated to personnel on the surface to aid in emergency evacuation and rescue.

The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

Dated: June 20, 2012.

George F. Triebsch,

Director, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances.

[FR Doc. 2012-15394 Filed 6-22-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-43-P