2018-04911. Pennsylvania Regulatory Program  

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    AGENCY:

    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), Interior.

    ACTION:

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

    SUMMARY:

    We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania program under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Through this proposed amendment, Pennsylvania seeks to revise its Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conversation Act to include language clarifying the circumstances where a finding of presumptive evidence of pollution is warranted under the Commonwealth's Clean Streams Law.

    This document gives the locations and times where the Pennsylvania program documents and this proposed amendment to that program are available for your inspection, establishes the comment period during which you may submit written comments on the amendment, and describes the procedures we will follow for the public hearing, if one is requested.

    DATES:

    We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (e.s.t.), April 11, 2018. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on April 6, 2018. We will accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4:00 p.m., e.s.t. on March 27, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by SATS No. PA-166-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2017-0008 by any of the following methods:

    • Mail/Hand Delivery: Mr. Ben Owens, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 3 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220.
    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the “Public Comment Procedures” heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    Docket: In addition to obtaining copies of documents at www.regulations.gov, you may receive one free copy of the amendment by contacting OSMRE's Pittsburgh Field Division. To access the docket to review copies of the Pennsylvania program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public hearings, and all written comments received in response to this document, you may visit the address listed below during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

    Mr. Ben Owens, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 3 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220, Telephone: (412) 937-2827, Email: bowens@osmre.gov.

    Thomas Callaghan, P. G., Director, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 8461, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8461, Telephone: (717) 787-5015, E-Mail: tcallaghan@pa.gov.

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    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Ben Owens, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 3 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220; Telephone: (412) 937-2827; Email: bowens@osmre.gov.

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    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background on the Pennsylvania Program

    II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

    III. Public Comment Procedures

    IV. Procedural Determinations

    I. Background on the Pennsylvania 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, State laws and regulations that govern surface coal mining and reclamation operations in accordance with the Act and consistent with the Federal regulations. See 30 U.S.C. 1253(a)(1) and (7). On the basis of these criteria, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally approved the Pennsylvania program, effective July 31, 1982.

    You can find additional background information on the Pennsylvania program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of approval in the July 30, 1982, Federal Register, at 47 FR 33050. You can also find later actions concerning Pennsylvania's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 938.11, 938.12, 938.13, 938.15 and 938.16.

    II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

    By letter dated August 4, 2017 (Administrative Record No. PA 899.00), Pennsylvania sent us an amendment to its program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). The Pennsylvania General Assembly recently amended the BMSLCA to include language clarifying the circumstances where a finding of presumptive evidence of pollution is warranted under the Commonwealth's Clean Streams Law.

    A. By way of State Bill 624, Pennsylvania proposes additional language to the BMSLCA, Section 5 (i) that states:

    In a permit application to conduct bituminous coal mining operations, subject to this act, planned subsidence in a predictable and controlled manner which is not predicted to result in the permanent disruption of premining existing or designated uses of surface waters of the Commonwealth shall not be considered presumptive evidence that the proposed bituminous coal mining operations have the potential to cause pollution as defined in section 1 of the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L. 1987, No. 394), known as `The Clean Streams Law.

    B. Further, Pennsylvania proposes additional language to BMSLCA, Section 5 (j) as follows:

    The provisions of subsection (i) shall only apply if: (1) A person submits an application to conduct bituminous mining operations subject to this act to the department that provides for the restoration of the premining range of flows and restoration of premining biological communities in any waters of this Commonwealth predicted to be adversely affected by subsidence. The restoration shall be consistent with the premining existing and designated uses of the waters of this Commonwealth; and (2) the application is approved by the department.

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    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 State program.

    Electronic or Written Comments

    If you submit written or electronic comments on the proposed rule during the 30-day comment period, 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 State 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 (see ADDRESSES) will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered.

    Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. 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 4:00 p.m., e.s.t. on March 27, 2018. 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 a hearing.

    To assist the transcriber and ensure an accurate record, we request, if possible, that each person who speaks at the 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.

    Public Meeting

    If only one person requests an opportunity to speak, we may hold a public meeting rather than a public hearing. If you wish to meet with us to discuss the amendment, please request a meeting by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All such meetings are open to the public and, if possible, we will post notices of meetings at the locations listed under ADDRESSES. We will make a written summary of each meeting a part of the administrative record.

    IV. Procedural Determinations

    Executive Order 12866—Regulatory Planning and Review

    Pursuant to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidance dated October 12, 1993, the approval of state program amendments is exempted from OMB review under Executive Order 12866.

    Other Laws and Executive Orders Affecting Rulemaking

    When a State submits a program amendment to OSMRE 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 938

    • Intergovernmental relations
    • Surface mining
    • Underground mining
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    Dated: September 15, 2017.

    Thomas D. Shope,

    Regional Director, Appalachian Region.

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    [FR Doc. 2018-04911 Filed 3-9-18; 8:45 am]

    BILLING CODE 4310-05-P

Document Information

Published:
03/12/2018
Department:
Interior Department
Agency:
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office
EntryType:
Proposed Rule
Action:
Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public hearing on proposed amendment.
Document Number:
2018-04911
Dates:
We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (e.s.t.), April 11, 2018. If requested, we will hold a public hearing on the amendment on April 6, 2018. We will accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4:00 p.m., e.s.t. on March 27, 2018.
Pages:
10647-10648 (2 pages)
Docket Numbers:
PA-166-FOR, Docket ID: OSM-2017-0008, S1D1S SS08011000 SX064A000 189A180110 S2D2S SS08011000 SX064A000 18XS501520
SectionNoes:
Topics:
Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining
PDF File:
2018-04911.pdf
CFR: (1)
30 CFR 938