[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 97 (Tuesday, May 20, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28858-28860]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-11670]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 948

[WV-122-FOR; Docket ID OSM-2013-0011; 
S1D1SSS08011000SX066A00067F144S180110; 
S2D2SSS08011000SX066A00033F14XS501520]


West Virginia Regulatory Program

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

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

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

SUMMARY: We are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the West 
Virginia regulatory program (the West Virginia program) under the 
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). 
West Virginia is submitting a proposed amendment to revise its Surface 
Coal Mining and Reclamation Act to conform the State's requirements for 
informal conferences and decisions on surface mining permit 
applications with parallel provisions of Federal law, and to provide 
tax incentives for mine operators who reclaim bond forfeiture sites.

DATES: We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4 p.m. 
E.S.T., on June 19, 2014. If requested, we will hold a public hearing 
on the amendment on June 16, 2014. We will accept requests to speak at 
a hearing until 4 p.m. E.S.T., on June 4, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by WV-122-FOR; Docket ID 
OSM 2013-11, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: The proposed rule has been 
assigned Docket ID OSM-2013-11. If you would like to submit comments 
though the Federal eRulemaking Portal, go to http://www.regulations.gov 
and follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail/Hand Delivery: Mr. Roger W. Calhoun, Director, 
Charleston Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and 
Enforcement, 1027 Virginia Street East, Charleston, West Virginia 
25301. Please include the rule identifier (WV-122-FOR; Docket ID OSM 
2013-11) with your written comments.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency 
Docket ID OSM 2013-11 for this rulemaking. For detailed instructions on 
submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking 
process, see the ``Public Comment Procedures'' heading in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. You may also 
request to speak at a public hearing by any of the methods listed above 
or by contacting the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT.
    Docket: The proposed rule and any comments that are submitted may 
be viewed over the internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Look for 
Docket ID OSM-2013-11. In addition, you may review copies of the West 
Virginia program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public 
hearings, and all written comments received in response to this 
document at the addresses listed below during normal business hours, 
Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You may also receive one 
free copy of this amendment by contacting OSM's Charleston Field Office 
listed below.
    Mr. Roger W. Calhoun, Director, Charleston Field Office, Office of 
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1027 Virginia Street East, 
Charleston, West Virginia 25301, Telephone: (304) 347-7158. Email: 
chfo@osmre.gov.
    West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, 601 57th 
Street SE., Charleston, WV 25304, Telephone: (304) 926-0490.
    In addition, you may review a copy of the amendment during regular 
business hours at the following locations:
    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Morgantown 
Area Office, 604 Cheat Road, Suite 150, Morgantown, West Virginia 
26508, Telephone: (304) 291-4004. (By Appointment Only)
    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Beckley Area 
Office, 313 Harper Park Drive, Suite 3, Beckley, West Virginia 25801, 
Telephone: (304) 255-5265.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Roger W. Calhoun, Director, 
Charleston Field Office, Telephone: (304) 347-7158. Email: 
chfo@osmre.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
I. Background on the West Virginia Program
II. Description and Submission of the Proposed Amendment
III. Description of OSM's Proposed Action
IV. Public Comment Procedures
V. Procedural Determinations

[[Page 28859]]

I. Background on the West Virginia 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 the Act . . .; and 
rules and regulations consistent with regulations issued by the 
Secretary pursuant to the 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 West Virginia program on January 21, 1981. 
You can find background information on the West Virginia program, 
including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and 
conditions of approval of the West Virginia program in the January 21, 
1981, Federal Register (46 FR 5915). You can also find later actions 
concerning West Virginia's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 
948.10, 948.12, 948.13, 948.15, and 948.16.

II. Description and Submission of the Proposed Amendment

    The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) is 
submitting a proposed amendment to revise the West Virginia Surface 
Coal Mining and Reclamation Act (WVSCMRA), West Virginia Code 22-3-1 
through 33.
    Committee Substitute for House Bill 2352 amends West Virginia Code 
section 22-3-11 to provide tax incentives for mine operators who 
reclaim bond forfeiture sites. Committee Substitute for House Bill 2352 
was adopted by the West Virginia Legislature on April 13, 2013, and 
approved by the Governor on April 29, 2013. These changes became 
effective under State law on July 12, 2013.
    Senate Bill 462 amends West Virginia Code sections 22-3-20 and 21 
to conform the State's requirements for informal conferences and 
decisions on surface mining permit applications with parallel 
provisions of Federal law. Senate Bill 462 also contains non-
substantive changes, such as ``division'' to ``department,'' ``with'' 
to ``pursuant to'' and ``director'' to ``Secretary'' throughout 
sections 20 and 21. Senate Bill 462 was passed by the West Virginia 
Legislature on April 11, 2013, and signed into law by the Governor on 
April 29, 2013. These changes became effective under State law on July 
10, 2013.

III. Description of OSM's Proposed Action

1. WVSCMRA 22-3-11(g) and (h)

    In accordance with Committee Substitute for House Bill 2352, the 
State proposes to add new language to subsections (g) and (h) of the 
WVSCMRA providing mine operators with tax incentives to reclaim bond 
forfeiture sites within the State.
    Subparagraph (g)(2)(A) provides that a tax credit shall be granted 
against the tax imposed by subsection (i) of this section to any mine 
operator who performs reclamation or remediation at a bond forfeiture 
site which otherwise would have been reclaimed using funds from the 
Special Reclamation Fund or Special Reclamation Water Trust Fund. 
Subparagraph (2)(B) provides that the amount of the reclamation tax 
credit granted shall be equal to the amount that the Tax Commissioner 
determines based on the project costs, as shown in the records of the 
Secretary, that would have been spent from the Special Reclamation Fund 
or Special Reclamation Water Trust Fund to accomplish the reclamation 
or remediation performed by the mine operator, including expenditures 
for water treatment. Subparagraph (2)(C) provides that to claim the 
credit, the mine operator must file with the Tax Commissioner a written 
application seeking the amount of the credit earned. Within 30 days of 
receipt of the application, the Tax Commissioner will issue a 
certification of the amount of tax credit to be allocated to the 
eligible taxpayer. If the amount of the credit is less than the amount 
applied for, the Tax Commissioner must set forth in writing the reasons 
for the difference. If no certification is issued within the 30-day 
period, the application will be deemed certified. Any decision of the 
Tax Commissioner is appealable pursuant to the ``West Virginia Tax 
Procedure and Administration Act'' as set forth in Chapter 11, Article 
10 of the West Virginia Code. Applications for certification of the 
proposed tax credit must contain the information and be in the detail 
and form as required by the Tax Commissioner.
    New subsection (h) is added and includes language for the Tax 
Commissioner to promulgate rules for legislative approval to carry out 
the purposes of this section. The remaining subsections (i) through (o) 
have been re-lettered to conform to the proposed changes.
    WVDEP intends these revisions to provide tax incentives to mine 
operators who reclaim bond forfeiture sites. The proposed revisions are 
intended to conform to the requirements of 30 CFR 800.50 and sections 
509 and 519 of SMCRA.

2. WVSCMRA 22-3-20

    In accordance with Senate Bill 462, the State proposes to revise 
language extending the time to hold informal conferences on surface 
mining permit applications. Revised subsection 20(b) of the WVSCMRA 
provides when an informal conference will be held on a surface mining 
permit application. The State currently requires that informal 
conferences be held within three weeks after the public comment period 
closes. Under the proposed amendment, the Secretary must hold the 
informal conference on the surface mining permit application within a 
reasonable time after the close of the public comment period.
    WVDEP acknowledges that its proposed revisions allow the State's 
requirements to conform more closely to the parallel Federal 
requirements. The proposed revisions are intended to conform to the 
Federal provisions at 30 CFR 773.6(c) and 773.7 and sections 513 and 
514 of SMCRA.

3. WVSCMRA 22-3-21

    In accordance with Senate Bill 462, the State proposes to revise 
language extending the time in which the Secretary must issue or deny a 
permit application. Amended subsection 21(a) of the WVSCMRA provides 
when the Secretary must issue a decision on a permit application. 
Currently, if an informal conference is held, the Secretary must issue 
a decision granting or denying a permit, in whole or in part, within 
thirty days of the informal conference. Under the proposed revision, 
the time in which the Secretary must issue or deny a surface mining 
permit is extended from 30 days to 60 days.
    WVDEP acknowledges that the proposed revisions allow the State's 
requirements to conform more closely to the parallel Federal 
requirements. The proposed revisions are intended to conform to the 
Federal provisions at 30 CFR 773.6(c) and 773.7 and sections 513 and 
514 of SMCRA.

III. Public Comment Procedures

    Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we are seeking your 
comments on whether these amendments satisfy the applicable program 
approval criteria of 30 CFR 732.15. If we approve these revisions,

[[Page 28860]]

they will become part of the West Virginia program.

Written Comments

    Send your written or electronic comments to OSM at the address 
given above. Your written comments should be specific, pertain only to 
the issues proposed in this rulemaking, and include explanations in 
support of your recommendations. We may not consider or respond to your 
comments when developing the final rule if they are received after the 
close of the comment period (see DATES). We will make every attempt to 
log all comments into the administrative record, but comments delivered 
to an address other than the Charleston Field Office may not be logged 
in.

Electronic Comments

    Please submit Internet comments as an Email or Word file avoiding 
the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also 
include Attn: SATS NO. WV-122-FOR; Docket ID OSM-2013-11 and your name 
and return address in your Internet message. If you do not receive a 
confirmation that we have received your Internet message, contact the 
Charleston Field Office at (304) 347-7158.

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 p.m. E.S.T., on June 
4, 2014. 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 
will be 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

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 948

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Dated: March 27, 2014.
Thomas D. Shope,
Regional Director, Appalachian Region.
[FR Doc. 2014-11670 Filed 5-19-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-05-P