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Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards

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Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.




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.


All comments on the petitions must be received by the Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances on or before November 13, 2012.


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

1. Electronic Mail: 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.

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

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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 Numbers: M-2012-161-C and M-2012-162-C.

Petitioner: Pocahontas Coal Company, LLC, 109 Appalachian Drive, Beckley, West Virginia 25801.

Mines: Josephine Mine No. 2, MSHA I.D. No. 46-07191, and Josephine Mine No. 3, located in Raleigh County, West Virginia.

Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1101-1(b) (Deluge-type water spray systems).

Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to eliminate the use of blow-off dust covers for the spray nozzles of a deluge-type water spray system. The petitioner states that the functionality test will be conducted weekly. The petitioner further states that:

(1) Functional tests are currently being conducted weekly and pressure and flow rates for the deluge system are adequately maintained. In some tests, the dust covers do not come off all spray nozzles.

(2) By conducting functional tests weekly, all spray nozzles can be inspected and maintained on a weekly basis.

(3) The dust covers protect the spray nozzles that are tested yearly, and by testing the spray nozzles weekly, the covers are not necessary.

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

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Dated: October 5, 2012.

George F. Triebsch,

Director, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances.

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[FR Doc. 2012-25065 Filed 10-11-12; 8:45 am]