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Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Operations Under Water

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Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.


60-Day Notice.


The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This program helps to assure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.


All comments must be postmarked or received by midnight Eastern Standard Time on July 23, 2013.


Comments concerning the information collection requirements of this notice may be sent by any of the methods listed below.

  • Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments for docket number [MSHA-2013-0009].
  • Regular Mail or Hand Delivery: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, 21st floor, Room 2350, Arlington, VA 22209-3939.
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Sheila McConnell, Deputy Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at (email); 202-693-9440 (voice); or 202-693-9441 (facsimile).

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I. Background

Title 30 CFR 75.1716, 75.1716 1 and 75.1716 3 require operators of underground coal mines to provide MSHA notification before mining under bodies of water and to obtain a permit to mine under a body of water if, in the judgment of the Secretary, it is sufficiently large to constitute a hazard to miners. The regulation is necessary to prevent the inundation of underground coal mines with water that has the potential of drowning miners. Section 103(h) of the Mine Act, 30 U.S.C. 813, authorizes MSHA to collect information necessary to carry out its duty in protecting the safety and health of miners.

The coal mine operator submits an application for the permit to the District Manager in whose district the mine is located. Applications contain the name and address of the mine; projected mining and ground support plans; a mine map showing the location of the river, stream, lake or other body of water and its relation to the location of all working places; and a profile map showing the type of strata and the distance in elevation between the coal bed and the water involved. MSHA has provided an exemption from notification and permit application for mine operators where the projected mining is under any water reservoir constructed by a Federal agency as of December 30, 1969, and where the operator is required by such agency to operate in a manner that adequately protects the safety of miners. The exemption for such mining is addressed by 30 CFR 75.1716 and 75.1717.

MSHA also encourages a mine operator to provide more information in an application. When the operator files an application for a permit, in addition to the information required under 30 CFR 75.1716-3, MSHA recommends mine operators include a map of the active areas of the mine under the body of water showing the following: Bottom of coal elevations (minimum 10-ft contour intervals); the limits of the body of water and the estimated quantity of water in the pool; the limits of the proposed “safety zone” within which precautions will be taken; overburden thickness (depth of cover) contours; corehole locations; and known faults, lineaments, and other geologic features.

If the body of water is contained within an overlying mine, then MSHA recommends a map of the overlying mine showing bottom of coal elevations (minimum 10-ft contour intervals), when available; corehole locations; the limits of the body of water with the estimated quantity of water in the pool; and, interburden to active mine below be provided. Operators are also encouraged to submit other information such as the methods used to estimate the quantity of water in the pool; borehole logs, including geotechnical information (RQD, fracture logs, etc.) if available; rock mechanics data on the overburden, interburden, mine roof, and mine floor, if available; mining height of the seam being mined; pillar and floor stability analyses for the active mine; Start Printed Page 31599whether second mining is planned; whether mining will be conducted down-dip or up-dip; where water will flow to in the active mine if encountered; pumping capabilities for dewatering; a comprehensive evacuation plan for the miners, and a statement of what in-mine conditions would trigger the implementation of the evacuation plan; and training that will be provided to the miners regarding the potential hazards.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is soliciting comments concerning the proposed extension of the information collection related to Operations Under Water. MSHA is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information has practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the MSHA's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Suggest methods to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Address the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses), to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond.

The public may examine publicly available documents, including the public comment version of the supporting statement, at MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, VA 22209-3939. OMB clearance requests are available on MSHA's Web site at under “Federal Register Documents” on the right side of the screen by selecting “New and Existing Information Collections and Supporting Statements”. The document will be available on MSHA's Web site for 60 days after the publication date of this notice. Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be made available for public inspection on Because comments will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information, MSHA cautions the commenter against including any information in the submission that should not be publicly disclosed. Questions about the information collection requirements may be directed to the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice.

III. Current Actions

The information obtained from applicants will be used to determine compliance with safety and health standards. MSHA has updated the data in respect to the number of respondents and responses, as well as the total burden hours and burden costs supporting this information collection request.

MSHA does not intend to publish the results from this information collection and is not seeking approval to either display or not display the expiration date for the OMB approval of this information collection.

There are no certification exceptions identified with this information collection and the collection of this information does not employ statistical methods.


Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved collection.

Agency: Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Title: Operations Under Water.

OMB Number: 1219-0020.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.

Cite/Reference/Form/etc: 30 CFR 75.1716-3 and 75.1716-1.

Total Number of Respondents: 70.

Frequency: Various.

Total Number of Responses: 70.

Total Burden Hours: 385 hours.

Total Annual Respondent or Recordkeeper Cost Burden: $1,060.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A).

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Dated: May 20, 2013.

George F. Triebsch,

Certifying Officer.

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[FR Doc. 2013-12398 Filed 5-23-13; 8:45 am]