[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 207 (Friday, October 25, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 63911-63913]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-25165]



Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 926

[SATS No. [MT-035-FOR]; Docket ID: OSM-2013-0009; S1D1SSS08011000 
SX066A00067 F134S180110; S2D2SSS08011000 SX066A00033 F13XS501520]

Montana Regulatory Program

AGENCY: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 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 
Montana regulatory program (hereinafter, the ``Montana program'') under 
the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (``SMCRA'' or 
``the Act''). Montana proposes revisions and additions to statute 
regarding permit application requirements, prospecting application 
requirements, annual reporting requirements for coal permittees, and 
lawsuits for damages to water supplies. Montana is also proposing to 
revise its rules at Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 17.24 
subchapter 10 to incorporate rule changes regarding a new expedited 
coal prospecting permitting process.
    This document gives the times and locations that the Montana 
program and proposed amendment to that program are available for your 
inspection, the comment period during which you may submit written 
comments on the amendment, and the procedures that we will follow for 
the public hearing, if one is requested.

DATES: We will accept written comments on this amendment until 4:00 
p.m., [m.d.t.] November 25, 2013. If requested, we will hold a public 
hearing on the amendment on November 19, 2013. We will accept requests 
to speak until 4:00 p.m., [m.d.t.] on November 12, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following two 
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. This 
proposed rule has been assigned Docket ID: OSM-2013-0009. If you would 
like to submit comments through the Federal

[[Page 63912]]

eRulemaking Portal, go to www.regulations.gov and do the following. 
Click on the ``Advanced Docket Search'' button on the right side of the 
screen. Type in the Docket ID ``OSM-2013-0009'' and click the 
``Submit'' button at the bottom of the page. The next screen will 
display the Docket Search Results for the rulemaking. If you click on 
OSM-2013-0009, you can view the proposed rule and submit a comment. You 
can also view supporting material and any comments submitted by others.
     Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Alan Boehms, Denver Field 
Branch Chief, Denver Field Division, Office of Surface Mining 
Reclamation and Enforcement, 1999 Broadway, Suite 3320, Denver, CO 
    For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the ``III. Public Comment 
Procedures'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    In addition to viewing the docket and obtaining copies of documents 
at www.regulations.gov, you may review copies of the Montana program, 
this amendment, a listing of any 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 the amendment by 
contacting OSM's Casper Field Office.

Jeffrey Fleischman, Chief, Denver Field Division, Office of Surface 
Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Dick Cheney Federal Building, POB 
11018, 150 East B Street, Casper, Wyoming 82601-1018.
Edward L. Coleman, Bureau Chief, Industrial and Energy Minerals Bureau, 
Montana Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, 
Montana 59620-0901, (406) 444-4973, [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffrey Fleischman, Telephone: (307) 
261-6550. Internet: [email protected].


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

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 amendments at 30 CFR 926.15, 926.16, and 926.30.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

    By letter dated August 20, 2013, Montana sent us a proposed 
amendment to its program (Administrative Record Document ID No. OSM-
2013-0009-0001) under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.). Montana sent the 
amendment to include the changes made at its own initiative.
    Specifically, Montana proposes changes to the Montana Strip and 
Underground Mine Reclamation Act (MSUMRA) that pertain to permit 
application requirements, coal prospecting application requirements, 
annual reporting requirements for coal permittees, and lawsuits for 
damages to water supplies. Montana intends to revise its program to 
comply with changes made in the Montana Legislature as a result of the 
passage of Senate Bills 286 and 92. These statutory changes are 
codified at Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 82-4-222, 82-4-226, 82-4-237, 
and 82-4-253. Additionally, Montana is proposing to implement rule 
changes at ARM 17.24 subchapter 10 regarding a modified coal 
prospecting permitting process. The full text of the program amendment 
is available for you to read at the locations listed above under 

III. Public Comment Procedures

    Under the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), we are seeking your 
comments on whether the amendment satisfies the applicable program 
approval criteria of 30 CFR 732.15. If we approve the amendment, it 
will become part of the Montana 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 
    We cannot ensure that comments received after the close of the 
comment period (see DATES) or sent to an address other than those 
listed above (see ADDRESSES) will be included in the docket for this 
rulemaking and considered.

Public 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 4:00 p.m., [m.d.t.] on 
November 12, 2013. 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 the hearing.
    To assist the transcriber and ensure an accurate record, we 
request, if possible, that each person who speaks at a 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.

[[Page 63913]]

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 
are 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

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 (Regulatory Planning and 

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 926

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Dated: August 28, 2013.
Allen D. Klein,
Director, Western Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-25165 Filed 10-24-13; 8:45 am]