[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 239 (Wednesday, December 12, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 73965-73966]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30031]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 926

[SATS No: MT-033-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2011-0012]


Montana Regulatory Program

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; withdrawal.

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SUMMARY: We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 
(OSM), are announcing the withdrawal of a proposed rule pertaining to 
an amendment to the Montana regulatory program (the Montana program) 
and its coal rules and regulations. Montana submitted the amendment at 
their own initiative to modify coal prospecting procedures and allow 
for a new type of coal prospecting permit.

DATES: The proposed rule published October 17, 2011, at 76 FR 64047, is 
withdrawn December 12, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffrey Fleischman, Director, Casper 
Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 
Dick Cheney Federal Building, POB 11018, 150 East B Street, Casper, 
Wyoming 82601-1018; Telephone: 307-261-6550, email address: 
jfleischman@osmre.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Montana Program
II. Submission of the Withdrawal

I. Background on the Montana 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, ``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 Montana program on April 1, 1980. You can 
find background information on the Montana program, including the 
Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of 
approval of the Montana program in the April 1, 1980, Federal Register 
(45 FR 21560). You can also find later actions concerning Montana's 
program and program

[[Page 73966]]

amendments at 30 CFR 926.15, 926.16, and 926.30.

II. Submission of the Withdrawal

    By letter dated July 20, 2011, Montana sent us an amendment to its 
program (SATS No. MT-033-FOR, Administrative Record Docket ID No. OSM-
2011-0012) under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). Montana submitted the 
amendment to include changes made to the Montana Strip and Underground 
Mine Reclamation Act (MSUMRA) as a result of the 2011 Montana 
Legislature passage of Senate Bill 286 relating to coal prospecting. 
Montana sent the amendment to include the changes made at its own 
initiative.
    We announced receipt of the proposed amendment in the October 17, 
2011, Federal Register (76 FR 64047). In the same document, we opened 
the public comment period and provided an opportunity for a public 
hearing or meeting on the amendment's adequacy (Administrative Record 
ID No. OSM-2011-0012-0004). We did not hold a public hearing or meeting 
because no one requested one. We received comments from the Montana 
Historical Society, Westmoreland Resources Inc., the Bureau of Land 
Management, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration 
(Administrative Record ID No. OSM-2011-0012-0010).
    During our review of the amendment, we identified areas needing 
clarification at MSUMRA Section 82-4-226. We notified Montana of our 
concerns by letter dated November 22, 2011 (Administrative Record ID 
No. OSM-2011-0012-0005).
    We delayed final rulemaking to afford Montana the opportunity to 
submit new material to address the concerns. Montana responded in a 
letter dated December 22, 2011, by submitting additional explanatory 
information (Administrative Record ID No. OSM-2011-0012-0006). Based 
upon Montana's additional explanatory information for its amendment, we 
reopened the public comment period in the March 27, 2012, Federal 
Register [(77 FR 18149); (Administrative Record Document ID No. OSM-
2011-0012-0007)] and provided an opportunity for a public hearing or 
meeting on the adequacy of the revised amendment. We did not hold a 
public hearing or meeting because no one requested one. We received 
comments from the State Historic Preservation Office, the Mine Safety 
and Health Administration, the US Geological Survey, and the Bureau of 
Land Management (Administrative Record ID No. OSM-2011-0012-0011).
    In a letter dated October 5, 2012 (Administrative Record Document 
ID No. OSM-2011-0012-0013), Montana notified us that they were 
withdrawing the proposed amendment at this time. Montana stated in the 
letter that they were submitting additional rule language to be 
reviewed informally by OSM in anticipation of promulgation of the 
revised rule through the Montana State Legislature sometime around 
April 2013.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 926

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Accordingly, the proposed rule published October 17, 2011, at 76 FR 
64047, is withdrawn December 12, 2012.

    Dated: October 16, 2012.
Allen D. Klein,
Regional Director, Western Region.
[FR Doc. 2012-30031 Filed 12-11-12; 8:45 am]
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