[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 7 (Tuesday, January 11, 2022)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 1372-1374]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-00324]



Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 926

[SATS No. MT-037-FOR; Docket ID: OSM-2021-0006; S1D1S SS08011000 
SX064A000 222S180110; S2D2S SS08011000 SX064A000 22XS501520]

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, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 
(OSMRE), 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 an addition to the Montana Code Annotated which requires 
changes and the addition of regulations in the Administrative Rules of 
Montana pertaining to ownership and control. These changes were 
required by an October 2, 2009, letter from OSMRE to Montana 
(hereinafter, 732 letter), and were necessitated by a Senate bill 
approved by the 2013 Montana Legislature. Montana also proposes other 
revisions to the Administrative Rules of Montana unrelated to ownership 
and control. This document gives the times and locations that the 
Montana program and this 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., Mountain Standard Time (MST), February 10, 2022. If requested, we 
may hold a public hearing or meeting on the amendment on February 7, 
2022. We will accept requests to speak at a hearing until 4:00 p.m., 
MST on January 26, 2022.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by SATS No. MT-037-FOR, 
by any of the following methods:
     Mail/Hand Delivery: 100 East B Street, Room 4100, Casper, 
WY 82601.
     Fax: (307) 421-6552.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: The amendment has been 
assigned Docket ID: OSM-2021-0006. If you would like to submit comments 
go to https://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 Montana 
program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled public hearings or 
meetings, 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 OSMRE's Denver 
Field Division or the full text of the program amendment is available 
for you to read at www.regulations.gov.

Jeffrey Fleischman, Chief, Denver Field Division, Office of Surface 
Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Dick Cheney Federal Building, POB 
11018, 100 East B Street, Casper, Wyoming 82601, Telephone: (307) 261-
6550, Email: [email protected].

    In addition, you may review a copy of the amendment during regular 
business hours at the following location:

[[Page 1373]]

Dan Walsh, Chief, Coal and Opencut Mining Bureau, Montana Department of 
Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, Montana, 59620-0901, 
Telephone: (406) 444-6791, Email: [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Howard Strand, Office of Surface 
Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, One Denver Federal Center, Building 
41, Lakewood, CO 80225-0065, Telephone: (303) 236-2931, Email: 
[email protected].


I. Background on the Montana Program
II. Description of the Proposed Amendment
III. Public Comment Procedures
IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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 approved, State program includes, among other things, State laws 
and regulations that govern surface coal mining and reclamation 
operations in accordance with the Act and consistent with the Federal 
regulations. 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 the Montana program and program 
amendments at 30 CFR 926.15, 926.16, and 926.30.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

    On October 28, 1994, December 19, 2000, and December 3, 2007, the 
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) 
promulgated final rules that adopted or revised certain regulatory 
definitions and provisions pertaining to review of applications, permit 
eligibility, application information, applicant, operator, and 
permittee information, automated information entry and maintenance, 
permit suspension and rescission, ownership and control findings and 
challenge procedures, transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights, 
and alternative enforcement. Pursuant to 30 CFR 732.17(d), OSMRE 
notified Montana on October 2, 2009, requiring Montana to modify its 
regulatory program to remain consistent with revised Federal 
requirements. The 2013 Montana Legislature approved Senate Bill 92, 
which added language addressing the required changes. Specifically, 
Senate Bill 92 added language in Section 82-4-227, Montana Code 
Annotated (MCA), that provided appeal rights pertaining to ownership or 
control listings in the applicant violator system.
    By letter dated July 28, 2021 (FDMS Document ID No. OSM-2021-0006-
0001), Montana sent us an amendment to its program under SMCRA (30 
U.S.C. 1201 et seq.) that proposed revisions to existing Administrative 
Rules of Montana (ARM) that would satisfy the statutory changes in the 
MCA, including revisions to 17.24.301, 17.24.302, 17.24.303, 17.24.416, 
17.24.418. New provisions in the ARM proposed by Montana that would 
satisfy the statutory changes in the MCA include 17.24.1229, 
17.24.1264, 17.24.1265, 17.24.1266, and 17.24.1267. Montana is also 
proposing minor revisions to existing ARM that are unrelated to Senate 
Bill 92, at 17.24.304 (Baseline Information: Environmental Resources), 
17.24.308 (Operations Plan), 17.24.313 (Reclamation Plan), 17.24.314 
(Plan for Protection of the Hydrologic Balance), 17.24.401 (Filing of 
Application and Notice), 17.24.403 (Informal Conference), 17.24.425 
(Administrative Review), and 17.24.1201 (Frequency and Methods of 
Inspections) that are unrelated to ownership and control. The full text 
of the program and/or plan amendment is available for you to read at 
the locations listed above under ADDRESSES or at www.regulations.gov.

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 or electronic comments on the proposed rule 
during the 30-day comment period, 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., MST on 
January 26, 2022. 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.

[[Page 1374]]

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Executive Order 12866--Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive 
Order 13563--Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will 
review all significant rules. Pursuant to OMB guidance, dated October 
12, 1993, the approval of State program and/or AML plan amendments is 
exempted from OMB review under Executive Order 12866. Executive Order 
13563, which reaffirms and supplements Executive Order 12866, retains 
this exemption.

Other Laws and Executive Orders Affecting Rulemaking

    When a State submits a program amendment to OSMRE 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.

David Berry,
Regional Director, Western Region.
[FR Doc. 2022-00324 Filed 1-10-22; 8:45 am]