[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 14 (Friday, January 22, 1999)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 3420-3423]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-1443]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 936

[SPATS No. OK-024-FOR]


Oklahoma Regulatory Program

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

ACTION: Final rule; approval of amendment.

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

SUMMARY: OSM is approving an amendment to the Oklahoma regulatory 
program (from now on referred to as the ``Oklahoma program'') under the 
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). The 
amendment consists of revisions to and additions of regulations 
pertaining to definitions; reclamation plan: siltation structures, 
impoundments, banks, dams, and embankments; permit variances from 
approximate original contour restoration requirements; small operator 
assistance; bond release applications; hydrologic balance: siltation 
structures; impoundments; disposal of excess spoil: preexisting 
benches; coal mine waste: general requirements; state inspections and 
monitoring; and request for hearing. Oklahoma intended that the 
amendment revise its program to be consistent with the corresponding 
Federal regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 22, 1999.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael C. Wolfrom, Director, Tulsa 
Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 
5100 East Skelly Drive, Suite 470, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74135-6548, 
Telephone: (918) 581-6430, E-mail [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

I. Background on the Oklahoma Program

    On January 19, 1981, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally 
approved the Oklahoma program. You can find background information on 
the Oklahoma program, including the Secretary's findings, the 
disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval in the January 
19, 1981, Federal Register (46 FR 4902). You can find later actions 
concerning the conditions of approval and program amendments at 30 CFR 
936.15 and 936.16.

II. Submission of the Proposed Amendment

    By letter dated December 18, 1997 (Administrative Record No. OK-
981), Oklahoma sent us an amendment to its program under SMCRA. 
Oklahoma sent the amendment in response to a June 17, 1997, letter 
(Administrative Record No. OK-979) that we sent to Oklahoma under 30 
CFR 732.17(c). We announced receipt of the amendment in the January 6, 
1998, Federal Register (63 FR 454). 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. The public comment period 
closed on February 5, 1998. Because no one requested a public hearing 
or meeting, we did not hold one.
    During our review of the amendment, we identified concerns relating 
to definitions (OAC 460:20-3-5); permitting requirements (OAC 460:20-
27-14 and 460:-20-31-9); small operator assistance (OAC 460:20-35-1, -
6, -7, and -8); hydrologic balance: siltation structures--definitions 
(OAC 460:20-43-12); impoundments (OAC 460:20-43-14 and 460:20-45-14); 
coal mine waste: general requirements (OAC 460:20-43-29 and 460:20-45-
29); backfilling and grading: thin overburden (OAC 460:20-43-39); 
disposal of excess spoil: preexisting benches (OAC 460:20-45-27); and 
state inspections and monitoring (OAC 460:20-57-2). We notified 
Oklahoma of these concerns by faxes dated June 5 and 30, and October 
21, 1998 (Administrative Record Nos. OK-981.13, OK-981.08, and OK-
981.11, respectively). By letters dated June 22, August 10, September 
24, and November 5, 1998 (Administrative Record Nos. OK-981.06, OK-
981.09, OK-981.10, and OK-981.12, respectively), Oklahoma sent us 
additional explanatory information and revisions to its program 
amendment.
    Based upon Oklahoma's additional explanatory information and 
revisions to its amendment, we reopened the public comment period in 
the November 25, 1998, Federal Register (63 FR 65149). The public 
comment period closed on December 10, 1998.

III. Director's Findings

    Following, under SMCRA and the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 732.15 
and 732.17, are our findings concerning the amendment. Any revisions 
that we do not discuss are about minor wording changes, or revised 
cross-references and paragraph notations to reflect organizational 
changes resulting from this amendment.

A. Revisions to Oklahoma's Regulations That Have the Same Meaning as 
the Corresponding Provisions of the Federal Regulations

    The State regulations listed in the table below contain language 
that is the same as or similar to the corresponding sections of the 
Federal regulations. Differences between the State regulations and the 
Federal regulations are minor.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                        Federal counterpart
                       Topic                          State regulation--Oklahoma       regulation--30 Code of
                                                      administrative code (OAC)       Federal Regulation (CFR)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Definitions: ``Other treatment facilities,''        460:20-3-5...................  701.5.
 ``Previously mined area,'' and ``Siltation
 structure.''
Reclamation plan: siltation structures,             460:20-27-14(a), (a)(2),       780.25(a), (a)(2), (a)(3),
 impoundments, banks, dams, and embankments.         (a)(3), and (f).               and (f).
 (Surface mining activities).
Reclamation plan: siltation structures,             460:20-31-9(a), (a)(2),        784.16(a), (a)(2), (a)(3),
 impoundments, banks, dams, and embankments.         (a)(3), and (f).               and (f).
 (Underground mining activities).
Permits incorporating variances from approximate    460:20-33-6(a)...............  785.16(a).
 original contour restoration requirements.
Program services and data requirements............  460:20-35-6(a), (b)(1), and    795.9(a), (b)(1), and (b)(4)--
                                                     (b)(3)--(b)(5).                (b)(6).
Applicant liability...............................  460:20-35-7(a)...............  795.12(a).
Assistance funding................................  460:20-35-8..................  795.11.
Requirement to release performance bonds..........  460:20-37-15(a)(3)...........  800.40(a)(3).
Hydrologic balance: siltation structures. (Surface  460:20-43-12(a)--(a)(2)......  816.46(a)--(a)(2).
 mining activities).

[[Page 3421]]

 
Impoundments: general requirements. (Surface        460:20-43-14(a)(1)--(a)(3),    816.49(a)(1)--(a)(3), (a)(5),
 mining activities).                                 (a)(5), (a)(6), and (a)(9)--   (a)(6), and (a)(9)--(a)(12).
                                                     (a)(12).
Impoundments: temporary impoundments. (Surface      460:20-43-14(c)(2)(A) and (B)  816.49(c)(2)(i) and (ii).
 mining activities).
Disposal of excess spoil: preexisting benches.      460:20-43-27(c)..............  816.74(c).
 (Surface mining activities).
Coal mine waste: general requirements. (Surface     460:20-43-29(a)..............  816.81(a).
 mining activities).
Hydrologic balance: siltation structures.           460:20-45-12(a)--(a)(2)......  817.46(a)--(a)(2).
 (Underground mining activities).
Impoundments: general requirements. (Underground    460:20-45-14(a)(1)--(a)(3),    817.49(a)(1)--(a)(3), (a)(5)--
 mining activities).                                 (a)(5)--(a)(6), (a)(9)--       (a)(6), (a)(9)--(a)(12).
                                                     (a)(12).
Impoundments: temporary impoundments. (Underground  460:20-45-14(c)(2)(A)--(B)...  817.49(c)(2)(i)--(ii).
 mining activities).
Disposal of excess spoil: preexisting benches.      460:20-45-27(c)..............  817.74(c).
 (Underground mining activities).
Coal mine waste: general requirements.              460:20-45-29(a)..............  817.81(a).
 (Underground mining activities).
State inspections and monitoring..................  460:20-57-2(g)(4)(A) and (h).  840.11(g)(4)(i) and (h).
Request for hearing...............................  460:20-61-11(a)..............  845.19(a) .
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because the above State regulations have the same meaning as the 
corresponding Federal regulations, we find that they are no less 
effective than the Federal regulations.

B. Revisions to Oklahoma's Regulations That Are Not the Same as the 
Corresponding Provisions of the Federal Regulations

1. OAC 460:20-27-14. Reclamation Plan: Siltation Structures, 
Impoundments, Banks, Dams, and Embankments. (Surface Mining Activities)
    a. Oklahoma revised paragraph (b) to require siltation structures 
to be designed in compliance with the requirements of Section 460:20-
43-12. Also, impoundments or earthen structures which permanently 
remain on the permit area have to be designed to comply with the 
requirements of Section 460:20-43-14. We are approving this revision 
because it is not inconsistent with or less effective than the 
corresponding Federal regulations at 30 CFR 780.25(b).
    b. Oklahoma revised paragraph (c)(3) to allow its Department of 
Mines to establish, through the State program approval process, 
engineering design standards for impoundments:
    1. That do not meet the size or other criteria of 30 CFR 77.216(a), 
or
    2. That do not meet the Class B or C criteria for dams in TR-60, 
(210-VI-TR60, Oct. 1985), ``Earth Dams and Reservoirs,'' or
    3. That are located where failure would not be expected to cause 
loss of life or serious property damage.
    The design standards would ensure stability comparable to a 1.3 
minimum static safety factor in lieu of engineering tests to establish 
compliance with the minimum static safety factor of 1.3 specified in 
Section 460:20-43-14(a)(3)(B). We are approving this revision because 
it is not inconsistent with or less effective than the corresponding 
Federal regulations at 30 CFR 780.25(c)(3).
2. OAC 460:20-31-9. Reclamation Plan: Siltation Structures, 
Impoundments, Banks, Dams, and Embankments. (Underground Mining 
Activities)
    a. Oklahoma revised paragraph (b) to require siltation structures 
to be designed in compliance with the requirements of Section 460:20-
45-12. Also, impoundments or earthen structures which permanently 
remain on the permit area have to be designed to comply with the 
requirements of Section 460:20-45-24. We are approving this revision 
because it is not inconsistent with or less effective than the 
corresponding Federal regulations at 30 CFR 784.16(b).
    b. Oklahoma revised paragraph (c)(2) to allow its Department of 
Mines to establish, through the State program approval process, 
engineering design standards for impoundments:
    1. That do not meet the size or other criteria of 30 CFR 77.216(a), 
or
    2. That do not meet the Class B or C criteria for dams in TR-60, 
(210-VI-TR60, Oct. 1985), ``Earth Dams and Reservoirs,'' or
    3. That are located where failure would not be expected to cause 
loss of life or serious property damage.
    The design standards would ensure stability comparable to a 1.3 
minimum static safety factor in lieu of engineering tests to establish 
compliance with the minimum static safety factor of 1.3 specified in 
Section 460:20-45-14(a)(3)(B). We are approving this revision because 
it is not inconsistent with or less effective than the corresponding 
Federal regulations at 30 CFR 784.16(c)(3).
3. OAC 460:20-35-6. Program Services and Data Requirements
    Oklahoma revised paragraph (b)(6) to read as follows:

    The development of cross-section maps and plans required under 
Section 460:20-25-11, 460:20-29-11, and any other applicable 
regulation.

    We are approving this revision because it is not inconsistent with 
or less effective than the corresponding Federal regulation at 30 CFR 
795.9(b)(3).
4. OAC 460:20-43-12. Hydrologic Balance: Siltation Structures. (Surface 
Mining Activities) and OAC 460:20-45-12. Hydrologic Balance: Siltation 
Structures. (Underground Mining Activities)
    Oklahoma proposed to delete paragraphs (a)(3) which provide the 
definition for ``other treatment facilities.'' We are approving these 
deletions because Oklahoma revised and moved this definition to Section 
460:20-3-5. Definitions.
5. OAC 460:20-43-14. Impoundments. (Surface Mining Activities)
    Oklahoma revised paragraphs (a)(4)(A) and (B) to read as follows:

    (A) An impoundment meeting the Class B or C criteria for dams in 
TR-60, or the size or other criteria of 30 CFR 77.216(a) or located 
where failure would be expected to cause loss of life or serious 
property damage shall have a minimum static safety factor of 1.5 for 
a normal pool with steady state seepage saturation conditions, and a 
seismic safety factor of at least 1.2.
    (B) Impoundments not included in Section (a)(4)(A) of this 
Section, except for a coal mine waste impounding structure, or 
located where failure would not be expected to cause loss of life or 
serious property damage shall

[[Page 3422]]

have a minimum static safety factor of 1.3 for a normal pool with 
steady state seepage saturation conditions or meet the requirements 
of Section 460:20-27-14(c)(3).

    We are approving this revision because it is not inconsistent with 
or less effective than the corresponding Federal regulations at 30 CFR 
816.49(a)(4) (i) and (ii).
6. OAC 460:20-45-14. Impoundments. (Underground Mining Activities)
    Oklahoma revised paragraphs (a)(4) (A) and (B) to read as follows:

    (A) An impoundment meeting the Class B or C criteria for dams in 
TR-60, or the size or other criteria of 30 CFR 77.216(a) or located 
where failure would be expected to cause loss of life or serious 
property damage shall have a minimum static safety factor of 1.5 for 
a normal pool with steady state seepage saturation conditions, and a 
seismic safety factor of at least 1.2.
    (B) Impoundments not included in Section (a)(4)(A) of this 
Section, except for a coal mine waste impounding structure, or 
located where failure would not be expected to cause loss of life or 
serious property damage shall have a minimum static safety factor of 
1.3 for a normal pool with steady state seepage saturation 
conditions or meet the requirements of Section 460:20-31-9(c)(2).

    We are approving this revision because it is not inconsistent with 
or less effective than the corresponding Federal regulations at 30 CFR 
817.49(a)(4) (i) and (ii).

IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments

Public Comments

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

Federal Agency Comments

    Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(i), we requested comments on the 
amendment from various Federal agencies with an actual or potential 
interest in the Oklahoma program (Administrative Record Nos. OK-981.03 
and OK-981.16). In letters dated January 27, and December 14, 1998, the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responded that they found the changes to 
the Oklahoma program satisfactory (Administrative Record Nos. OK-981.05 
and OK-981.19).

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

    Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(ii), we are required to get a written 
agreement from the EPA for those provisions of the program amendment 
that relate to air or water quality standards promulgated 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 Oklahoma 
proposed to make in this amendment pertain to air or water quality 
standards. Therefore, we did not ask the EPA to agree to the amendment.
    Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(i), we requested comments on the 
amendment from the EPA (Administrative Record Nos. OK-981.01 and OK-
981.14). 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 get comments from the 
SHPO and ACHP on amendments that may have an effect on historic 
properties. On December 30, 1997, and November 16, 1998, we requested 
comments on Oklahoma's amendment (Administrative Record Nos. OK-981.02 
and OK-981.15, respectively), but neither responded to our request.

V. Director's Decision

    Based on the above findings, we approve the amendment as submitted 
by Oklahoma on December 18, 1997, and as revised on June 22, August 10, 
September 24, and November 5, 1998. We approve the regulations that 
Oklahoma proposed with the provision that they be published in 
identical form to the regulations sent to and reviewed by OSM and the 
public. To implement this decision, we are amending the Federal 
regulations at 30 CFR Part 936, which codify decisions concerning the 
Oklahoma program. We are making this final rule effective immediately 
to expedite the State program amendment process and to encourage the 
State to bring its programs into conformity with the Federal standards. 
SMCRA requires consistency of State and Federal standards.

VI. Procedural Determinations

Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempts this rule from 
review under Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review).

Executive Order 12988

    The Department of the Interior has conducted the reviews required 
by section 3 of Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform) and has 
determined that, to the extent allowed by law, 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 since each such 
program is drafted and published by a specific State, not by OSM. Under 
sections 503 and 505 of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1253 and 1255) and 30 CFR 
730.11, 732.15, and 732.17(h)(10), decisions on State regulatory 
programs and program amendments 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.

National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule does not require an environmental impact statement since 
section 702(d) of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1292(d)) provides that agency 
decisions on 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 has determined 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 
corresponding 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. Therefore, this rule will ensure that existing requirements 
previously published by OSM will be implemented by the State. 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 corresponding Federal regulations.

Unfunded Mandates

    OSM has determined and certifies under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq.) that this rule will not impose a cost of 
$100 million or more in any given year on local, state, or tribal 
governments or private entities.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 936

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.


[[Page 3423]]


    Dated: January 8, 1999.
Brent Wahlquist,
Regional Director, Mid-Continent Regional Coordinating Center.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 30 CFR Part 936 is amended 
as set forth below:

PART 936--OKLAHOMA

    1. The authority citation for Part 936 continues to read as 
follows:

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

    2. Section 936.15 is amended in the table by adding a new entry in 
chronological order by ``Date of final publication'' to read as 
follows:


Sec. 936.15  Approval of Oklahoma regulatory program amendments.

* * * * *

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Date of final
  Original amendment submission date         publication                      Citation/description
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                       *          *          *          *          *          *          *
December 18, 1997....................  January 22, 1999.......  460:20-3-5; 20-27-14(a), (a)(2), (a)(3), (b),
                                                                 (c)(3), (f); 20-31-9(a), (a)(2), (a)(3), (b),
                                                                 (c)(2), (f); 20-33-6(a); 20-35-6(a), (b)(1),
                                                                 and (b)(3) through (b)(6); 20-35-7(a); 20-35-8;
                                                                 20-37-15(a)(3); 20-43-12(a) through (a)(3); 20-
                                                                 43-14(a)(1) through (a)(3), (a)(4)(A) and (B),
                                                                 (a)(5), (a)(6), and (a)(9) through (a)(12),
                                                                 (c)(2)(A) and (B); 20-43-27(c); 20-43-29(a); 20-
                                                                 45-12(a) through (a)(3); 20-45-14(a)(1) through
                                                                 (a)(3), (a)(4)(A) and (B), (a)(5), (a)(6), and
                                                                 (a)(9) through (a)(12), (c)(2)(A) and (B); 20-
                                                                 45-27(c); 20-45-29(a); 20-57-2(g)(4)(A) and
                                                                 (h); and 20-61-11(a).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[FR Doc. 99-1443 Filed 1-21-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-05-P