[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 33 (Tuesday, February 19, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11577-11579]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03776]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 901

[SATS No. AL-077-FOR; Docket No. OSM-2012-0016]


Alabama Regulatory Program

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

ACTION: Final rule; approval of amendment.

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SUMMARY: We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 
(OSM), are approving an amendment to the Alabama regulatory program 
(Alabama program) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act 
of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Alabama proposed revisions to its Program 
regarding revegetation success standards. Alabama intends to revise its 
program to improve operational efficiency.

DATES: Effective Date: February 19, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sherry Wilson, Director, Birmingham 
Field Office. Telephone: (205) 290-7280. Email: swilson@osmre.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background on the Alabama Program
II. Submission of the Amendment
III. OSM's Findings
IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments
V. OSM's Decision
VI. Procedural Determinations

I. Background on the Alabama 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 Alabama program effective May 20, 1982. You can find background 
information on the Alabama program, including the Secretary's findings, 
the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval of the 
Alabama program in the May 20, 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 22030). 
You can also find later actions concerning the Alabama program and 
program amendments at 30 CFR 901.10, 901.15, and 901.16.

II. Submission of the Amendment

    By letter dated June 26, 2012 (Administrative Record No. AL-0664), 
Alabama sent us an amendment to its program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 
et seq.). Alabama sent the amendment on its own initiative.
    We announced receipt of the proposed amendment in the September 5, 
2012, Federal Register (77 FR 54490). In the same document, we opened 
the public comment period and provided an opportunity for a public 
hearing or meeting on the adequacy of the amendment. We did not hold a 
public hearing or meeting because no one requested one. The public 
comment period ended on October 5, 2012.

III. OSM's Findings

    The following are the findings we made concerning the amendment 
under SMCRA and the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 732.15 and 732.17. We 
are approving the amendment as described below.

Alabama 880-X-10C-.62 Revegetation: Standards for Success; and Alabama 
880-X-10D-.56 Revegetation: Standards for Success

    Alabama proposed to add new subsections 880-X-10C-.62(1)(c) and (d) 
of its surface mining regulations and 880-X-10D-.56(1)(c) and (d) of 
its underground mining regulations regarding the revegetation standards 
for success related to its ground cover requirements and determining 
stocking success for trees and shrubs. Alabama's new subsections 
contain substantially the same language as their Federal counterparts 
at 30 CFR 816.116(b)(3)(ii) and (iii) and 30 CFR 817.116(b)(3)(ii) and 
(iii), respectively. Concerning its tree and shrub stocking 
requirements, Alabama replaces the Federal requirement related to the 
phrase ``for 60 percent of the applicable minimum period of 
responsibility'' with the phrase ``three years.'' The minimum 
applicable period of responsibility for Alabama is five years. Since 
three years would be 60 percent of the five-year responsibility period, 
OSM finds the revised language no less effective than the Federal and 
is approving the changes. Furthermore, Alabama proposed to delete 
subsections 880-X-10C-.62(2)(c)(iv) of its surface mining regulations 
and 880-X-10C-.56(2)(c)(iv) of its underground mining regulations 
regarding tree count requirements on forest land use areas because 
these subsections became redundant by addition of the previously 
mentioned subsections. Therefore, we approve Alabama's deletion of 
these subsections.
    Alabama revised subsections 880-X-10C-.62(2)(e) and (g) of its 
surface mining regulations and 880-X-10D-.56(2)(e) and (g) of its 
underground mining regulations regarding ground cover requirements and 
woody plant standards for areas with the post-mining land uses of 
recreation, wildlife habitat, or undeveloped land. These proposed 
changes to Alabama's regulations are counterpart to the Federal 
regulations at 30 CFR 816.116(b)(3) and 30 CFR 817.116(b)(3). Alabama 
requires that in order to avoid competition, herbaceous ground cover on 
areas planted with woody vegetation or planted to food plots shall be 
limited to that necessary to adequately control erosion. Herbaceous 
ground cover on areas not planted with woody vegetation or as food 
plots shall equal or exceed 80 percent. We find that this proposed 
language is no less effective than the Federal requirement that 
vegetative ground cover shall not be less than that required to achieve 
the approved postmining land use. Therefore we are approving the 
change.

IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments

Public Comments

    We asked for public comments on the amendment, but did not receive 
any.

Federal Agency Comments

    On July 11, 2012, under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(i) and section 503(b) 
of SMCRA, we requested comments on the amendment from various Federal 
agencies with an actual or potential interest in the Alabama program 
(Administrative Record No. AL-0664-02). We did not receive any 
comments.

[[Page 11578]]

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Concurrence and Comments

    Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(ii), we are required to get a written 
concurrence from EPA for those provisions of the program amendment that 
relate to air or water quality standards issued under the authority of 
the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or the Clean Air Act (42 
U.S.C. 7401 et seq.). None of the revisions that Alabama proposed to 
make in this amendment pertain to air or water quality standards. 
Therefore, we did not ask EPA to concur on the amendment. However, on 
July 11, 2012, under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(i), we requested comments 
from the EPA on the amendment (Administrative Record No. AL-0664-02). 
The EPA did not respond to our request.

State Historical Preservation Officer (SHPO) and the Advisory Council 
on Historic Preservation (ACHP)

    Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(4), we are required to request comments from 
the SHPO and ACHP on amendments that may have an effect on historic 
properties. On July 11, 2012, we requested comments on Alabama's 
amendment (Administrative Record No. AL-0664-02). We received a comment 
letter from the Alabama SHPO stating that Alabama's proposed revisions 
regarding its revegetation success standards will have no adverse 
effect on cultural resources listed on, or eligible for, the National 
Registry of Historic Places (Administrative Record No. AL-0664-03). The 
ACHP did not respond to our request.

V. OSM's Decision

    Based on the above findings, we approve the amendment Alabama sent 
us on June 26, 2012 (Administrative Record No. AL-0664).
    To implement this decision, we are amending the Federal 
regulations, at 30 CFR part 901, that codify decisions concerning the 
Alabama program. We find that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 
553(d)(3) to make this final rule effective immediately. Section 503(a) 
of SMCRA requires that the State's program demonstrate that the State 
has the capability of carrying out the provisions of the Act and 
meeting its purposes. Making this rule effective immediately will 
expedite that process. SMCRA requires consistency of State and Federal 
standards.

VI. Procedural Determinations

Executive Order 12630--Takings

    This rule does not have takings implications. This determination is 
based on the analysis performed for the counterpart Federal regulation.

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.

Executive Order 12988--Civil Justice Reform

    The Department of the Interior has conducted the reviews required 
by section 3 of Executive Order 12988 and has determined that this rule 
meets the applicable standards of subsections (a) and (b) of that 
section. However, these standards are not applicable to the actual 
language of State regulatory programs and program amendments because 
each program is drafted and promulgated by a specific State, not by 
OSM. Under sections 503 and 505 of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1253 and 1255) and 
the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 730.11, 732.15, and 732.17(h)(10), 
decisions on proposed State regulatory programs and program amendments 
submitted by the States must be based solely on a determination of 
whether the submittal is consistent with SMCRA and its implementing 
Federal regulations and whether the other requirements of 30 CFR Parts 
730, 731, and 732 have been met.

Executive Order 13132--Federalism

    This rule does not have Federalism implications. SMCRA delineates 
the roles of the Federal and State governments with regard to the 
regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations. One of 
the purposes of SMCRA is to ``establish a nationwide program to protect 
society and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal 
mining operations.'' Section 503(a)(1) of SMCRA requires that State 
laws regulating surface coal mining and reclamation operations be ``in 
accordance with'' the requirements of SMCRA, and section 503(a)(7) 
requires that State programs contain rules and regulations ``consistent 
with'' regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to SMCRA.

Executive Order 13175--Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments

    In accordance with Executive Order 13175, we have evaluated the 
potential effects of this rule on federally recognized Indian tribes 
and have determined that the rule does not have substantial direct 
effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the 
Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. 
The basis for this determination is that our decision is on a State 
regulatory program and does not involve Federal regulations involving 
Indian lands.

Executive Order 13211--Regulations That Significantly Affect the 
Supply, Distribution, or Use of Energy

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 which 
requires agencies to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for a rule 
that is (1) considered significant under Executive Order 12866, and (2) 
likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution, or use of energy. Because this rule is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866 and is not expected to have a significant 
adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, a 
Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule does not require an environmental impact statement 
because section 702(d) of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1292(d)) provides that 
agency decisions on proposed State regulatory program provisions do not 
constitute major Federal actions within the meaning of section 
102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 
4332(2)(C)).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain information collection requirements that 
require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 
3507 et seq.).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). 
The State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based upon 
counterpart Federal regulations for which an economic analysis was 
prepared and certification made that such regulations would not have a 
significant economic effect upon a substantial number of small 
entities. In making the determination as to whether this rule would 
have a significant economic impact, the Department relied upon the data 
and assumptions for the counterpart Federal regulations.

 Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business

[[Page 11579]]

Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule: (a) Does not have an 
annual effect on the economy of $100 million; (b) Will not cause a 
major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, 
Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; 
and (c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This 
determination is based upon the fact that the State submittal, which is 
the subject of this rule, is based upon counterpart Federal regulations 
for which an analysis was prepared and a determination made that the 
Federal regulation was not considered a major rule.

Unfunded Mandates

    This rule will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or 
tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any 
given year. This determination is based upon the fact that the State 
submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based upon counterpart 
Federal regulations for which an analysis was prepared and a 
determination made that the Federal regulation did not impose an 
unfunded mandate.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 901

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Dated: November 28, 2012.
Ervin J. Barchenger,
Regional Director, Mid-Continent Region.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 30 CFR part 901 is amended 
as set forth below:

PART 901--ALABAMA

0
1. The authority citation for part 901 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.

0
2. Section 901.15 is amended in the table by adding a new entry in 
chronological order by ``Date of final publication'' to read as 
follows:


Sec.  901.15  Approval of Alabama regulatory program amendments.

* * * * *

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Original amendment submission    Date of final
             date                  publication      Citation/description
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                              * * * * * * *
June 26, 2012.................  February 19, 2013  ASMC sections 880-X-
                                                    10C-.62(1)(c) and
                                                    (d); 880-X-10C-
                                                    .62(2)(c)(iv), (e),
                                                    and (g); 880-X-10D-
                                                    .56(1)(c) and (d);
                                                    and 880-X-10D-.56
                                                    (2)(c)(iv), (e), and
                                                    (g).
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[FR Doc. 2013-03776 Filed 2-15-13; 8:45 am]
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