[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 154 (Thursday, August 11, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-19607]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: August 11, 1994]



Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 926


Montana Permanent Regulatory Program

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening and extension of comment period on 
proposed program amendment.


SUMMARY: OSM is announcing receipt of additional explanatory 
information pertaining to a previously proposed amendment to the 
Montana permanent regulatory program (hereinafter, the ``Montana 
program'') under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 
(SMCRA). The additional explanatory information addresses issues raised 
by OSM's review of Montana's previously proposed program amendment 
submittal dated July 28, 1993 (Administrative Record No. MT-11-01); 
this proposed amendment concerns ownership and control provisions, 
violation history updates, surface owner consent, coal exploration 
(``prospecting'') under notices of intent, and editorial changes.
    This document sets forth the times and locations that the Montana 
program and proposed amendment to that program are available for public 
inspection and the reopened comment period during which interested 
persons may submit written comments on the proposed amendment.

Dates: Written comments must be received by 4:00 p.m., m.d.t., August 
26, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be mailed or hand delivered to Guy 
Padgett at the address listed below.
    Copies of the Montana Program, the proposed amendment, and all 
written comments received in response to this document will be 
available for public review at the addresses listed below during normal 
business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Each 
requester may receive one free copy of the proposed amendment by 
contacting OSM's Casper Field Office.

Mr. Guy Padgett, Director, Casper Field Office, Office of Surface 
Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 100 East B Street, Room 2128, 
Casper, WY 82601-1918, Telephone:(307) 261-5776
Gary Amestoy, Administrator, Montana Department of State Lands, 
Reclamation Division, Capitol Station, 1625 Eleventh Avenue, Helena, 
Montana 59620, Telephone: (406) 444-2074

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Guy Padgett, Telephone (307) 261-5776.


I. Background on the Montana Program

    On April 1, 1980, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally 
approved the Montana program. General background information on the 
Montana program, Including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of 
comments, and conditions of approval of the Montana program can be 
found in the April 1, 1980, Federal Register [45 FR 21560]. Subsequent 
actions concerning Montana's program and program amendments can be 
found at 30 CFR 926.15 and 926.16.

II. Proposed Amendment

    By letters dated June 16 and July 28, 1993 (Administrative Record 
No. MT-11-01), Montana submitted a proposed amendment to its program 
pursuant to SMCRA. Montana submitted the proposed amendment in response 
to statutory changes adopted by the Montana 1993 Legislative session, 
regarding notice of intent for ``prospecting'', ownership and control 
provisions, violation history updates, and editorial changes. OSM 
announced receipt of the proposed amendment in the August 7, 1993, 
Federal Register (58 FR 45303) and invited public comment on its 
adequacy. The public comment period ended September 27, 1993.
    During its review of the amendment, OSM identified concerns 
relating to the provisions of Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 82-4-224 
concerning surface owner consent and MCA 82-4-226(8) concerning coal 
exploration (``prospecting'') under notices of intent. OSM notified 
Montana of these concerns by letter dated January 19, 1994 
(administrative record No. MT-11-18). Montana responded in a letter 
dated July 28, 1994 (Administrative Record No. MT-11-19) by submitting 
additional explanatory information.
    The additional explanatory material submitted by Montana includes 
the following:
    1. Montana presents arguments that MCA 82-4-222(1)(d) and 82-4-
231(4) provides adequate statutory authority for the Administrative 
Rules of Montana (ARM) 26.4.303(15) and 26.4.405(6)(k);
    2. Montana explains that the statutory definitions of ``waiver'' 
and ``written consent'' in MCA 82-4-203 no longer have a purpose within 
the statute, but pose no problem in administering the statute;
    3. Montana presents arguments that any prospecting that is 
conducted to determine the location, quality, or quantity of a coal 
deposit requires a prospecting permit, and that it is highly unlikely 
that any other prospecting activity would remove more than 250 tons of 
    4. Montana presents arguments that under MCA 82-4-266 (1) and (2), 
all prospecting operations for which a permit must be obtained are 
subject to reclamation and bonding requirements, regardless of whether 
substantial surface disturbance results; and
    5. Montana states its intention to promulgate a regulatory 
definition of ``substantially disturbed,'' and regulatory requirements 
for information in notices of intent, at some future date. Montana also 
addressed several editorial comments OSM made on the initial June 16 
and July 28, 1993, submission.

III. Public Comment Procedures

    OSM is reopening the comment period on the proposed Montana program 
amendment to provide the public an opportunity to reconsider the 
adequacy of the amendment in light of the additional materials 
submitted. In accordance with the provisions of 30 CFR 732.17(h), OSM 
is seeking comments on whether the proposed amendment, including the 
additional materials submitted, satisfies the applicable program 
approval criteria of 30 CFR 732.15. If the amendment is deemed 
adequate, it will become part of the Montana program.
    Written comments should be specific, pertain only to the issues 
proposed in this rulemaking, and include explanations in support of the 
commenter's recommendations. Comments received after the time indicated 
under DATES or at locations other than the Casper Field Office will not 
necessarily be considered in the final rulemaking or included in the 
administrative record.

IV. Procedural Determinations

1. Executive Order 12866

    This rule is exempted from review by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) under Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and 

2. Executive Order 12778

    The Department of the Interior has conducted the reviews required 
by section 2 of Executive Order 12778 (Civil Justice Reform) and has 
determined that 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 promulgated 
by a specific State, not by OSM. Under sections 503 and 505 of SMCRA 
(30 U.S.C. 1253 and 12550) and the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 
730.11, 732.15, and 732.17(h)(10), decisions on proposed State 
regulatory programs and program amendments submitted by the States 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.

3. National Environmental Policy Act

    No environmental impact statement is required for this rule since 
section 702(d) of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1292(d)) provides that agency 
decisions on proposed State regulatory program provisions do not 
constitute major Federal actions within the meaning of section 
102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 

4. 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.).

5. 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 
counterpart 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. Accordingly, this rule will ensure that existing requirements 
previously promulgated 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 counterpart Federal regulations.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 926

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Dated: August 5, 1994.
Russell F. Price,
Acting Assistant Director, Western Support Center.
[FR Doc. 94-19607 Filed 8-10-94; 8:45 am]