[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 158 (Tuesday, August 16, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 50708-50710]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-20548]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 943

[SATS Nos. TX-061-FOR; TX-062-FOR; TX-063-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2011-
0007]


Texas Regulatory Program

AGENCY: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; public comment period and opportunity for public 
hearing.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 
(OSM), are announcing receipt of three proposed amendments to the Texas 
regulatory program under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act 
of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act).
    Texas at its own initiative submitted three separate amendments to 
its program: SATS Nos. TX-061-FOR, TX-062-FOR, and TX-063-FOR. Texas 
proposes revisions in TX-061-FOR by adding language that no longer 
requires an operation with only reclamation activities ongoing to renew 
their mining permit, to clarify the requirement to maintain public 
liability insurance for sites where the permit is not renewed because 
the only activities ongoing are reclamation, and to clarify midterm 
review times for sites where the permit is not renewed because the only 
ongoing activities are reclamation. Texas proposes revisions in TX-062-
FOR by adding a new definition for ``Previously mined land,'' adding 
new language on the effects of previous mining violations from 
operations on previously mined lands in relation to permit application 
denials, and adding new language explaining performance standards for 
revegetation liability timeframes for coal mining and reclamation 
operations. Texas proposes revisions in TX-063-FOR by adding a new 
definition for ``Director;'' deleting old language, and adding new 
language clarifying the review periods for new permits, renewals, and 
significant revisions. Texas intends to revise its program to improve 
operational efficiency.
    This document provides the times and locations that the Texas 
program and proposed amendments to that program are available for 
public inspection, the comment period during which you may submit 
written comments on these amendments, and the procedures that we will 
follow for the public hearing, if one is requested.

DATES: We will accept written comments on these amendments until 4 
p.m., c.d.t., September 15, 2011. If requested, we will hold a public 
hearing on the amendments on September 12, 2011. We will accept 
requests to speak at a hearing until 4 p.m., c.d.t. on August 31, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by SATS Nos. TX-061-FOR, 
TX-062-FOR, or TX-063-FOR by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: aclayborne@osmre.gov. Include SATS Nos. TX-061-
FOR, TX-062-FOR, or TX-063-FOR in the subject line of the message.
     Mail/Hand Delivery: Alfred L. Clayborne, Director, Tulsa 
Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 
1645 South 101st East Avenue, Suite 145, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74128-4629.
     Fax: (918) 581-6419.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: The amendment has been 
assigned Docket ID OSM-2011-0007. If you would like to submit comments, 
go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions.
    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: For access to the docket to review copies of the Texas 
regulations, these amendments, a listing of any scheduled public 
hearings, and all written comments received in response to this 
document, you must go to the address listed below during normal 
business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You may 
receive one free copy of the amendments by contacting OSM's Tulsa Field 
Office; or you can view the full text of the program amendments 
available for you to read at http://www.regulations.gov.

    Alfred L. Clayborne, Director, Tulsa Field Office, Office of 
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1645 South 101st East 
Avenue, Suite 145, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74128-4629, Telephone: (918) 581-
6430, E-mail: aclayborne@osmre.gov.

    In addition, you may review a copy of the amendments during regular 
business hours at the following location:

Railroad Commission of Texas, 1701 North Congress Ave., Austin, Texas 
78711-2967, Telephone: (512) 463-6900.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alfred L. Clayborne, Director, Tulsa 
Field Office. Telephone: (918) 581-6430. E-mail: aclayborne@osmre.gov.

[[Page 50709]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Texas Program
II. Description of the Proposed Amendments
III. Public Comment Procedures
IV. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the Texas 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 program includes, among other things, ``a State law which provides 
for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations in 
accordance with the requirements of this Act * * *; and rules and 
regulations consistent with regulations issued by the Secretary 
pursuant to this Act.'' See 30 U.S.C. 1253(a)(1) and (7). On the basis 
of these criteria, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally approved 
the Texas program effective February 16, 1980. You can find background 
information on the Texas program, including the Secretary's findings, 
the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval of the 
Texas program in the February 27, 1980, Federal Register (45 FR 12998). 
You can also find later actions concerning the Texas program and 
program amendments at 30 CFR 943.10, 943.15, and 943.16.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendments

    1. By letter dated May 18, 2011, (Administrative Record No. TX-667) 
Texas sent us an amendment to its Program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 
et seq.) at its own initiative. Below is a summary of the changes 
proposed by Texas. The full text of the program amendment is available 
for you to read at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES or at 
http://www.regulations.gov.

A. 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Sec.  12.100--Responsibilities

    Texas proposes to add new language allowing a permittee to not 
renew their mining permit if the activities on the site are solely for 
reclamation purposes.

B. 16 TAC Sec.  12.225--Commission Review of Outstanding Permits

    Texas proposes to add new language clarifying the requirement for 
midterm permit reviews on permits that are not renewed because the only 
activities are solely for reclamation.

C. 16 TAC Sec.  12.311--Terms and Conditions for Liability Insurance

    Texas proposes to add new language clarifying the need to maintain 
liability insurance on a site if the permit is not renewed because the 
only activities are solely for reclamation.
    2. By letter dated May 26, 2011, (Administrative Record No. TX-668) 
Texas sent us an amendment to its Program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 
et seq.) at its own initiative. Below is a summary of the changes 
proposed by Texas. The full text of the program amendment is available 
for you to read at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES or at 
http://www.regulations.gov.

A. Texas Natural Resource Code (NRC) Sec.  134.004--Definitions

    Texas proposes to add a new definition for ``Previously mined 
land.''

B. Texas NRC Sec.  134.069--Effect of Past or Present Violation

    Texas proposes to add a new paragraph in this section, explaining 
that the Commission may not deny a permit application based on previous 
violations by the applicant that occurred in connection with a surface 
coal mining operation conducted on previously mined land if the 
violation resulted from an event or condition that was not contemplated 
in the permit for the surface coal mining operation.

C. Texas NRC Sec.  134.092--PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

    Texas proposes to add new language in this section establishing 
timeframes regarding the assumption of responsibility for successful 
revegetation as required by Subdivision (19). These are established 
five years after the last year of augmented seeding, fertilizing, 
irrigation, or other work in order to assure compliance with that 
subdivision, if the land is not previously mined land; or two years 
after the last year of augmented seeding, fertilizing, irrigation, or 
other work in order to assure compliance with that subdivision, if the 
land is previously mined land.

D. Texas NRC Sec.  134.104--Responsibility for Revegetation: Area of 
Low Precipitation.

    Texas proposes to add new language in this section clarifying that 
where the annual average precipitation is 26 inches or less, an 
operator's assumption of responsibility and liability extends for 10 
years after the last year of augmented seeding, fertilizing, 
irrigation, or other work, if the land is not previously mined land; or 
five years after the last year of augmented seeding, fertilizing, 
irrigation, or other work, if the land is previously mined land.

E. Texas NRC Sec.  134.105--Responsibility for Revegetation: Long-Term 
Intensive Agricultural Postmining Use

    Texas proposes to delete language in this section pertaining to the 
applicable period of responsibility for revegetation beginning on the 
date of initial planting.
    3. By letter dated June 3, 2011, (Administrative Record No. TX-669) 
Texas sent us an amendment to its Program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 
et seq.) at its own initiative. Below is a summary of the changes 
proposed by Texas.

A. Texas Natural Resource Code (NRC) Sec.  134.004--Definitions

    Texas proposes to add a new definition for ``Director.''

B. Texas NRC Sec.  134.080--Approval or Disapproval of Permit Revision

    Texas proposes to delete the word ``DISAPPROVAL'' from this section 
heading and delete the paragraph that gives the timeframes for the 
Commission to approve or disapprove a permit revision application.

C. Texas NRC Sec.  134.085--Review Periods for New Permits, Renewals, 
and Revisions

    Texas proposes to add this section clarifying review timeframes 
upon receipt of an application for a new permit, permit renewal, or 
significant permit revision.

III. Public Comment Procedures

    Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we are seeking your 
comments on whether Texas' proposed amendments satisfy the applicable 
program approval criteria of 30 CFR 732.15. If we approve the 
amendments, they will become part of Texas' State Program.

Electronic or Written Comments

    If you submit written comments, they should be specific, confined 
to issues pertinent to the proposed regulations, and explain the reason 
for any recommended change(s). We appreciate any and all comments, but 
those most useful and likely to influence decisions on the final 
regulations will be those that either involve personal experience or 
include citations to and analyses of SMCRA, its legislative history, 
its implementing regulations, case law, other pertinent 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)

[[Page 50710]]

will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that 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 p.m., c.d.t. on 
August 31, 2011. If you are disabled and need reasonable accommodations 
to attend a public hearing, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT. We will arrange the location and time of the 
hearing with those persons requesting the hearing. If no one requests 
an opportunity to speak, we will not hold 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 amendments, please request a meeting by contacting 
the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All such 
meetings are open to the public; 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

    This rule is exempted from review by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) under Executive Order 12866.

Other Laws and Executive Orders Affecting Rulemaking

    When a State submits a program amendment to OSM for review, our 
regulations at 30 CFR 732.17(h) require us to publish a notice in the 
Federal Register indicating receipt of the proposed amendment, its text 
or a summary of its terms, and an opportunity for public comment. We 
conclude our review of the proposed amendment after the close of the 
public comment period and determine whether the amendment should be 
approved, approved in part, or not approved. At that time, we will also 
make the determinations and certifications required by the various laws 
and executive orders governing the rulemaking process and include them 
in the final rule.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 943

     Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Dated: June 23, 2011.
Len Meier,
Acting Regional Director, Mid-Continent Region.
[FR Doc. 2011-20548 Filed 8-15-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-05-P