[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 142 (Tuesday, July 26, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-18118]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: July 26, 1994]



Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Parts 701, 784 and 817

RIN 1029-AB69


Permanent Regulatory Program; Underground Mining Permit 
Application Requirements; Underground Mining Performance Standards

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

ACTION: Reopening of public comment period on proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) 
of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is reopening the public 
comment period on the proposed rule published in the September 24, 
1993, Federal Register (57 FR 50174) to provide for review and comment 
on additional information which has been added to the Administrative 
Record. Public comments are also being sought on limited aspects of 
water replacement requirements. The proposed rule would amend the 
regulations applicable to underground coal mining and the control of 
subsidence-caused damage to lands and structures through the adoption 
of a number of permitting requirements and performance standards.

DATES: Written Comments: OSM will accept written comments only on 
specific items and issues related to the proposed rule that are further 
described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. OSM will accept written 
comments until 5 p.m. Eastern time on August 25, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Written Comments: Hand deliver to the Office of Surface 
Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Administrative Record, Room 660, 
800 North Capitol St. NW., Washington, DC; or mail to the Office of 
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Administrative Record, Room 
660 NC, 1951 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20240.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy R. Brokerick, Branch of Federal 
and Indian Programs, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and 
Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1951 Constitution Avenue, 
NW., Washington, DC 20240; telephone (202) 208-2564.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 24, 1993 (58 FR 50174), OSM 
published a proposed rule which would require all underground coal 
mining operations conducted after October 24, 1992, to promptly repair 
or compensate for material damage to non-commercial buildings and 
occupied residential dwellings and related structures as a result of 
subsidence due to underground coal mining operations; rehabilitate, 
restore, or replace identified structures and compensate owners in the 
full amount of the diminution in value resulting from the subsidence; 
replace water supplies which have been adversely affected by 
underground coal mining operations; perform a pre-subsidence survey and 
repair or compensate for subsidence-related damage caused by 
underground mining activities to structures or facilities; and provide, 
when necessary, an additional performance bond to cover subsidence-
related material damage. The proposed rule provides for broader 
protection of structures by removing the provision that imposes a State 
law limitation on an underground coal mine operator's liability for 
damage to structures. Performance standards required by the Energy 
Policy Act of 1992 would be enforceable nationwide immediately upon the 
effective date of the final rule.
    OSM held public hearings on the proposed subsidence rule in 
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, November 8, 1993; Columbus, Ohio, November 9, 
1993; Whitesburg, Kentucky, November 16, 1993; Salt Lake City, Utah, 
November 17, 1993; Washington, DC, November 19, 1993; and Washington, 
Pennsylvania, November 22, 1993.
    The comment period for the proposed rule closed on January 24, 1994 
(as extended on November 22, 1993, 58 FR 61638). Subsequently, in the 
course of analyzing the comments received on the proposed rule OSM 
discussed subsidence-related issues with coal operators and citizens 
during an on-site tour of coal fields. OSM is reopening the comment 
period to allow interested persons time to review additional material 
which consists of meeting notes from these discussions and handouts and 
a video tape received during the field tour. This information has been 
added to the Administrative Record and can be reviewed at the address 
noted above. This information will also be available for review at the 
following OSM offices: Eastern Support Center, 10 Parkway Center, 
Pittsburgh, PA; Western Support Center, 1999 Broadway, Suite 3320, 
Denver, CO; Harrisburg Transportation Center, Fourth and Market 
Streets, Suite 3C, Harrisburg, PA; Eastland Professional Plaza, 4480 
Refugee Road, Suite 201, Columbus, OH; 603 Morris Street, Charleston, 
WV; 530 Gay Street, Suite 500, Knoxville, TN; and 2675 Regency Road, 
Lexington, KY.
    In addition, as a result of comments received during the initial 
comment period on the proposed rule and requests by States and OSM 
field offices to clarify the requirement for replacement of water 
supplies, OSM is considering an alternative provision. The alternative 
would further define what sections 717(b) and 720(a)(2) of SMCRA mean 
when they provide that an operator must replace certain types of water 
supplies. OSM is considering adding a provision in the final rulemaking 
that, when the owner confirms in writing that the owner does not desire 
replacement of the delivery system, and no such system is needed for 
either the existing or approved postmining land uses, the operator may 
provide replacement of the water supply by demonstrating that an 
equivalent water source exists that can be developed if desired by 
future owners.
    OSM is requesting comment on this procedure, by which an owner of 
interest could forgo replacement of the water delivery system if the 
system is not essential to maintenance of the existing land use of 
attainment of the postmining land use. The operator would still be 
required to demonstrate the presence and availability of a water source 
equivalent to premining quantity and quality, so that the current owner 
of interest or his or her successor could utilize the water if desired 
in the future. Thus, the owner would have the option of forgoing 
installation of a delivery system, in those circumstances in which the 
system would be neither wanted or needed, and would not be used if 
    Comments will now be accepted until 5 p.m. local time on August 25, 

    Dated: July 20, 1994.
Robert J. Uram,
Director, Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 94-18118 Filed 7-25-94; 8:45 am]