[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 46 (Monday, March 10, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 13264-13265]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04917]



Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 943

[SATS No. TX-066-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2014-0001; 

Texas 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, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 
(OSM), are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Texas 
regulatory program (Texas program) under the Surface Mining Control and 
Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). Texas proposes revisions to 
its regulations regarding annual permit fees. Texas intends to revise 
its program to improve operational efficiency.
    This document gives the times and locations that the Texas 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., c.s.t., April 9, 2014. If requested, we will hold a public 
hearing on the amendment on April 4, 2014. We will accept requests to 
speak at a hearing until 4:00 p.m., c.s.t. on March 25, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by SATS No. TX-066-FOR, 
by any of the following methods:
     Mail/Hand Delivery: Bill Joseph, Acting Director, Tulsa 
Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 
1645 South 101st East Avenue, Suite 145, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74128-4629
     Fax: (918) 581-6419
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number for this rulemaking. For detailed instructions on 
submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking 
process, see the ``Public Comment Procedures'' heading of the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    Docket: For access to the docket to review copies of the Texas 
program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public hearings, 
and all written comments received in response to this document, you 
must go to the address listed below during normal business hours, 
Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You may receive one free 
copy of the amendment by contacting OSM's Tulsa Field Office or going 
to www.regulations.gov.
    Bill Joseph, Acting Director, Tulsa Field Office, Office of Surface 
Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1645 South 101st East Avenue, Suite 
145, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74128-4629, Telephone: (918) 581-6430.
    In addition, you may review a copy of the amendment during regular 
business hours at the following location: Surface Mining and 
Reclamation Division, Railroad Commission of Texas, 1701 North Congress 
Avenue, Capitol Station, P.O. Box 12967, Austin, Texas 78711-2967, 
Telephone: (512) 463-6900.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Acting Director, Tulsa Field Office. 
Telephone: (918) 581-6430.

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

I. Background on the Texas 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

[[Page 13265]]

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 Texas program effective February 16, 1980. You can find background 
information on the Texas program, including the Secretary's findings, 
the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval of the 
Texas program in the February 27, 1980, Federal Register (45 FR 12998). 
You can also find later actions concerning the Texas program and 
program amendments at 30 CFR 943.10, 943.15, and 943.16.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

    By letter dated December 19, 2103 (Administrative Record No. TX-
703), Texas sent us an amendment to its program under SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 
1201 et seq.) at its own initiative. Below is a summary of the changes 
proposed by Texas. The full text of the program amendment is available 
for you to read at the locations listed above under ADDRESSES.
    Texas fully funds its share of costs to regulate the coal mining 
industry with fees paid by the coal industry. Texas charges four fees 
to meet these costs: a permit application fee and three annual permit 
fees. Texas estimates collecting $90,000 in permit application fees 
annually in each of FY 2014 and FY 2015, which is approximately 3 
percent of their state share of costs. The three annual fees comprise 
the remaining approximately 97 percent of state share costs and are 
allocated by the following distribution: mined acreage fees (9 
percent), bonded acreage fees (81 percent), and annual permit fees (7 
    Texas proposes to revise its regulation at 16 Texas Administrative 
Code (TAC) section 12.108(b) regarding annual permit fees by:
    (1) Decreasing the amount of the fee from the current $154 to $84 
for each acre of land within the permit area on which coal or lignite 
was actually removed during the calendar year,
    (2) Increasing the amount of the fee from current $10.40 to $12 for 
each acre of land within a permit area covered by a reclamation bond on 
December 31st of the year, and
    (3) Decreasing the amount of the fee from current $6,900 to $6,540 
for each permit in effect on December 31st of the year.
    The proposed fee revisions are intended to provide adequate funding 
to pay the State's cost of operating its regulatory program, and 
provide incentives for industry to accomplish reclamation and achieve 
bond release as quickly as possible.

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 State 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 (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., c.s.t. on 
March 25, 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 
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.

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 943

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining.

     Dated: January 10, 2014.
Ervin J. Barchenger,
Regional Director, Mid-Continent Region.
[FR Doc. 2014-04917 Filed 3-7-14; 8:45 am]