Virginia Regulatory Program, 71295-71297 [E7-24392]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 241 / Monday, December 17, 2007 / Proposed Rules that State programs contain rules and regulations ‘‘consistent with’’ regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to SMCRA. Executive Order 13175—Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments In accordance with Executive Order 13175, we have evaluated the potential effects of this rule on Federallyrecognized Indian tribes and have determined that the rule does not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. This determination is based on the fact that the Texas program does not regulate coal exploration and surface coal mining and reclamation operations on Indian lands. Therefore, the Texas program has no effect on Federallyrecognized Indian tribes. Executive Order 13211—Regulations That Significantly Affect the Supply, Distribution, or Use of Energy On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 which requires agencies to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for a rule that is (1) considered significant under Executive Order 12866, and (2) likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Because this rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866 and is not expected to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required. ebenthall on PROD1PC69 with PROPOSALS National Environmental Policy Act This rule does not require an environmental impact statement because 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 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)). 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.). Regulatory Flexibility Act The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:26 Dec 14, 2007 Jkt 214001 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. 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. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule: (a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million; (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; and (c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This determination is based upon the fact that the State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based upon counterpart Federal regulations for which an analysis was prepared and a determination made that the Federal regulation was not considered a major rule. Unfunded Mandates This rule will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any given year. This determination is based upon the fact that the State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based upon counterpart Federal regulations for which an analysis was prepared and a determination made that the Federal regulation did not impose an unfunded mandate. List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 943 Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining. Dated: November 9, 2007. Ervin J. Barchenger, Acting Regional Director, Mid-Continent Region. [FR Doc. E7–24393 Filed 12–14–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–05–P PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 71295 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 30 CFR Part 946 [Docket ID: OSM–2007–0013; SATS No. VA– 124–FOR] Virginia Regulatory Program Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period. AGENCY: SUMMARY: We are announcing receipt of revisions to a previously proposed amendment to the Virginia regulatory program under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). The revisions concern Virginia’s standards for revegetation success for certain postmining land uses. The amendment is intended to render the State’s regulations no less effective than the Secretary’s regulations in meeting the requirements of the Act. This document gives the times and locations that the Virginia program and proposed amendment to that program are available for your inspection and the comment period during which you may submit written comments on the revisions to the amendment. DATES: Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before January 2, 2008 to ensure our consideration. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. The proposed rule is listed under the agency name ‘‘OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT.’’ It has been assigned Docket ID: OSM–2007–0013. If you would like to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, go to www.regulations.gov and do the following. Find the blue banner with the words ‘‘Search Documents’’ and go to ‘‘Optional Step 2.’’ Select ‘‘Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’’ from the agency dropdown menu, then click the ‘‘Submit’’ button at the bottom of the page. The next screen will have the title ‘‘Document Search Results.’’ The proposed rule is listed under the Docket ID as OSM–2007–0013. If you click on OSM–2007–0013, you can view the proposed rule, add comments, and view any comments submitted by other persons. • Mail/Hand Delivery: Mr. Earl Bandy, Director, Knoxville Field Office, E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1 71296 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 241 / Monday, December 17, 2007 / Proposed Rules Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1941 Neeley Road, Suite 201, Compartment 116, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219. Please include the Docket ID (OSM–2007–0013) with your written comments. 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 will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered. For additional information on the rulemaking process and the public availability of comments, see ‘‘III. Public Comment Procedures’’ in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. You may also request to speak at a public hearing by contacting the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Docket: The proposed rule, additional documentation, and any comments that are submitted may be viewed over the internet at www.regulations.gov. Look for Docket ID: OSM–2007–0013. In addition, you may review copies of the Virginia program, this amendment, a listing of any scheduled 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 receive one free copy of the amendment by contacting: Mr. Earl Bandy, Director, Knoxville Field Office, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1941 Neeley Road, Suite 201, Compartment 116, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219, Telephone: (276) 523–4303. E-mail: ebandy@osmre.gov. Mr. Gavin Bledsoe, Virginia Division of Mined Land Reclamation, P. O. Drawer 900, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219, Telephone: (276) 523–8100. Email: gavin.bledsoe@dmme.virginia.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Earl Bandy, Director, Knoxville Field Office; Telephone: (276) 523–4303. Email: ebandy@osmre.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background on the Virginia Program II. Description of the Proposed Amendment III. Public Comment Procedures ebenthall on PROD1PC69 with PROPOSALS I. Background on the Virginia 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 VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:26 Dec 14, 2007 Jkt 214001 reclamation operations in accordance with the requirements of the Act * * *; and rules and regulations consistent with regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to the 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 Virginia program on December 15, 1981. You can find background information on the Virginia program, including the Secretary’s findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of approval of the Virginia program in the December 15, 1981, Federal Register (46 FR 61088). You can also find later actions concerning Virginia’s program and program amendments at 30 CFR 946.12, 946.13, and 946.15. II. Description of the Proposed Amendment By letter dated February 13, 2007 (Administrative Record Number VA– 1059), the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) submitted an amendment to the Virginia program. In its submission, DMME proposed to revise the Virginia program regarding, among other things, revegetation success standards. We announced receipt of the proposed amendment in the April 9, 2007, Federal Register (72 FR 17452). The public comment period closed on May 9, 2007. The portion of the February 13, 2007, amendment dealing with revegetation success standards involved proposed changes to Virginia’s regulations at 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.116(a)(2) and (b)(3)(v)(C). DMME proposed to revise subsection (a)(2) to consider the levels of ground cover, production, or stocking as being equal to the approved success standard when they were not less than 70% of that success standard. DMME also proposed to revise subsection (a)(2) by adding an exception to the success standard requirements as provided for in subsection (b). Subsection (b) provides success standards for certain approved postmining land uses. Finally, DMME proposed to amend subsection (a)(2) by deleting a provision requiring that the sampling techniques for measuring success use a 90% statistical confidence interval (i.e., one-sided test with a 0.10 alpha error). In subsection (b)(3)(v)(C), DMME proposed to amend standards for herbaceous vegetation success on postmining land uses where woody plants are used for wildlife management, recreation, shelter belts or forest uses other than commercial forest land by requiring that areas planted with a mixture of herbaceous and woody species sustain a herbaceous ground cover of 70%. PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 After the February 13, 2007, proposed rule was published in the Federal Register, DMME revised the portion of its proposed amendment dealing with revegetation success standards. By electronic mail dated April 18, 2007, (Administrative Record Number VA– 1074), DMME stated that it wished to withdraw the changes it previously made to 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.116(a)(2) regarding the sampling techniques and retain the original language. Additionally, DMME indicated that it wished to revise the herbaceous ground cover success standard of 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.117(b)(3)(v)(C) to require that postmining land uses of wildlife management, recreation, shelter belts, or forest uses other than commercial forest land that are planted with a mixture of herbaceous and woody species must sustain a herbaceous ground cover of 80%. We announced these proposed revisions in a July 5, 2007, Federal Register notice (72 FR 36632) in which we reopened the public comment period. The reopened public comment period closed July 20, 2007. After our review of the second resubmission of the amendments and based on our discussions regarding the amendment with DMME, DMME chose to resubmit 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.116(b)(3) and 816 and 817.116(b)(3)(v)(C) with added language that would facilitate the growth of woody plants in areas to be developed for fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, shelter belts, or forestry. By electronic mail dated August 30, 2007 (Administrative Record Number VA– 1082), DMME stated that it would revise parts of 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.116 based, in part, on discussions with us regarding the benefits of using the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA). The FRA is a method for reclaiming coal-mined land to forests and is based on knowledge gained from both scientific research and experience. It is designed to restore forest land capability and accelerate the natural process of forest development. The FRA advocates selection of a suitable rooting medium for tree growth, loosely grading the growth medium to reduce compaction, using ground covers compatible with growing trees, planting early succession and commercially valuable tree species, and using proper tree planting techniques. DMME’s first proposed revision occurs at 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.116(b)(3). DMME is proposing to modify this section to indicate that for areas to be developed for fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, shelter belts, or forest products, woody plants must E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 241 / Monday, December 17, 2007 / Proposed Rules be stocked at least equal to the rates specified in the approved reclamation plan. Additionally, DMME is proposing to add a requirement that in order to minimize competition with woody plants, herbaceous ground cover should be limited to that necessary to control erosion and support the postmining land use. Seed mixtures and seeding rates will be specified in the approved reclamation plan. The proposed revisions correspond to the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 816 and 817.116(b)(3) that provide the standards for success of revegetation and are essentially identical to the ground cover standards for areas where trees will be planted that were adopted by OSM in the Tennessee Federal Program on March 2, 2007 (72 FR 9616) and codified at 30 CFR 942.816 and 942.817. With this new amendment, 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.116(b)(3) is proposed to read as follows: 4 VAC 25–130–816.116(b)(3) and 817.116(b)(3). Revegetation; standards for success. (3) For areas to be developed for fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, shelter belts, or forestry, the stocking of woody plants must be at least equal to the rates specified in the approved reclamation plan. To minimize competition with woody plants, herbaceous ground cover should be limited to that necessary to control erosion and support the postmining land use. Seed mixtures and seeding rates will be specified in the approved reclamation plan. Such parameters are described as follows: * * * * * DMME’s second proposed revision occurs at 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.116(b)(3)(v)(C). DMME deleted ‘‘products, success of vegetation shall be determined on the basis of tree and shrub’’ and added ‘‘the stocking of woody plants must be at least equal to the rates specified in the approved reclamation plan. To minimize competition with woody plants, herbaceous ground cover should be limited to that necessary to control erosion and support the postmining land use. Seed mixtures and seeding rates will be specified in the approved reclamation plan. Such parameters are described as follows:’’ 400 woody plants per acre. At least 40 of the woody plants for each acre shall be wildlife food-producing shrubs located suitably for wildlife enhancement, which may be distributed or clustered on the area. * * * * * 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 Virginia program. Written or Electronic Comments Send your written or electronic comments to OSM at one of the addresses given above. Your written comments should be specific, pertain only to the issues proposed in this rulemaking, and include explanations in support of your recommendations. 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 will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 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. List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 946 Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining. Dated: November 16, 2007. Thomas D. Shope, Regional Director, Appalachian Region. [FR Doc. E7–24392 Filed 12–14–07; 8:45 am] ebenthall on PROD1PC69 with PROPOSALS With this new amendment, 4 VAC 25–130–816 and 817.116(b)(3)(v)(C) is proposed to read as follows: BILLING CODE 4310–05–P 4 VAC 25–130–816.116(b)(3)(v)(C) and 817.116(b)(3)(v)(C). Revegetation; standards for success. (v) Where woody plants are used for wildlife management, recreation, shelter belts, or forest uses other than commercial forest land: ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY * * * * * (C) Areas planted with a mixture of herbaceous and woody species shall sustain a herbaceous vegetative ground cover in accordance with guidance provided by the division and the approved forestry reclamation plan and establish an average of VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:26 Dec 14, 2007 Jkt 214001 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R07–OAR–2007–1128; FRL–8506–9] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Nebraska; Interstate Transport of Pollution Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 71297 SUMMARY: EPA is proposing a revision to the Nebraska State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the purpose of approving the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s (NDEQ) actions to address the ‘‘good neighbor’’ provisions of the Clean Air Act Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i). These provisions require each state to submit a SIP that prohibits emissions that adversely affect another state’s air quality through interstate transport. NDEQ has adequately addressed the four distinct elements related to the impact of interstate transport of air pollutants. These include prohibiting significant contribution to downwind nonattainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), interference with maintenance of the NAAQS, interference with plans in another state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, and efforts of other states to protect visibility. The requirements for public notification were also met by NDEQ. DATES: Comments on this proposed action must be received in writing by January 16, 2008. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–R07– OAR–2007–1128 by one of the following methods: 1. http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. 2. E-mail: jay.michael@epa.gov. 3. Mail: Michael Jay, Environmental Protection Agency, Air Planning and Development Branch, 901 North 5th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66101. 4. Hand Delivery or Courier. Deliver your comments to Michael Jay, Environmental Protection Agency, Air Planning and Development Branch, 901 North 5th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66101. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office’s normal hours of operation. The Regional Office’s official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8 to 4:30, excluding legal holidays. Please see the direct final rule that is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register for detailed instructions on how to submit comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Jay at (913) 551–7460, or by email at jay.michael@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the final rules section of the Federal Register, EPA is approving the state’s SIP revision as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial revision amendment and anticipates no relevant adverse comments to this action. A detailed rationale for the E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 241 (Monday, December 17, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 71295-71297]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-24392]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

30 CFR Part 946

[Docket ID: OSM-2007-0013; SATS No. VA-124-FOR]


Virginia Regulatory Program

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We are announcing receipt of revisions to a previously 
proposed amendment to the Virginia regulatory program under the Surface 
Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). The 
revisions concern Virginia's standards for revegetation success for 
certain postmining land uses. The amendment is intended to render the 
State's regulations no less effective than the Secretary's regulations 
in meeting the requirements of the Act. This document gives the times 
and locations that the Virginia program and proposed amendment to that 
program are available for your inspection and the comment period during 
which you may submit written comments on the revisions to the 
amendment.

DATES: Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before 
January 2, 2008 to ensure our consideration.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
The proposed rule is listed under the agency name ``OFFICE OF SURFACE 
MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT.'' It has been assigned Docket ID: 
OSM-2007-0013.
    If you would like to submit comments through the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal, go to www.regulations.gov and do the following. 
Find the blue banner with the words ``Search Documents'' and go to 
``Optional Step 2.'' Select ``Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and 
Enforcement'' from the agency drop-down menu, then click the ``Submit'' 
button at the bottom of the page. The next screen will have the title 
``Document Search Results.'' The proposed rule is listed under the 
Docket ID as OSM-2007-0013. If you click on OSM-2007-0013, you can view 
the proposed rule, add comments, and view any comments submitted by 
other persons.
     Mail/Hand Delivery: Mr. Earl Bandy, Director, Knoxville 
Field Office,

[[Page 71296]]

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1941 Neeley Road, 
Suite 201, Compartment 116, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219. Please 
include the Docket ID (OSM-2007-0013) with your written comments.
    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 will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and 
considered.
    For additional information on the rulemaking process and the public 
availability of comments, see ``III. Public Comment Procedures'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    You may also request to speak at a public hearing by contacting the 
individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Docket: The proposed rule, additional documentation, and any 
comments that are submitted may be viewed over the internet at 
www.regulations.gov. Look for Docket ID: OSM-2007-0013.
    In addition, you may review copies of the Virginia program, this 
amendment, a listing of any scheduled 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 receive one free copy of the amendment by contacting:
    Mr. Earl Bandy, Director, Knoxville Field Office, Office of Surface 
Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1941 Neeley Road, Suite 201, 
Compartment 116, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219, Telephone: (276) 523-
4303. E-mail: ebandy@osmre.gov.
    Mr. Gavin Bledsoe, Virginia Division of Mined Land Reclamation, P. 
O. Drawer 900, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219, Telephone: (276) 523-
8100. E-mail: gavin.bledsoe@dmme.virginia.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Earl Bandy, Director, Knoxville 
Field Office; Telephone: (276) 523-4303. E-mail: ebandy@osmre.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on the Virginia Program
II. Description of the Proposed Amendment
III. Public Comment Procedures

I. Background on the Virginia 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 the Act * * *; and 
rules and regulations consistent with regulations issued by the 
Secretary pursuant to the 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 Virginia program on December 15, 1981. You 
can find background information on the Virginia program, including the 
Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and conditions of 
approval of the Virginia program in the December 15, 1981, Federal 
Register (46 FR 61088). You can also find later actions concerning 
Virginia's program and program amendments at 30 CFR 946.12, 946.13, and 
946.15.

II. Description of the Proposed Amendment

    By letter dated February 13, 2007 (Administrative Record Number VA-
1059), the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) 
submitted an amendment to the Virginia program. In its submission, DMME 
proposed to revise the Virginia program regarding, among other things, 
revegetation success standards. We announced receipt of the proposed 
amendment in the April 9, 2007, Federal Register (72 FR 17452). The 
public comment period closed on May 9, 2007.
    The portion of the February 13, 2007, amendment dealing with 
revegetation success standards involved proposed changes to Virginia's 
regulations at 4 VAC 25-130-816 and 817.116(a)(2) and (b)(3)(v)(C). 
DMME proposed to revise subsection (a)(2) to consider the levels of 
ground cover, production, or stocking as being equal to the approved 
success standard when they were not less than 70% of that success 
standard. DMME also proposed to revise subsection (a)(2) by adding an 
exception to the success standard requirements as provided for in 
subsection (b). Subsection (b) provides success standards for certain 
approved postmining land uses. Finally, DMME proposed to amend 
subsection (a)(2) by deleting a provision requiring that the sampling 
techniques for measuring success use a 90% statistical confidence 
interval (i.e., one-sided test with a 0.10 alpha error). In subsection 
(b)(3)(v)(C), DMME proposed to amend standards for herbaceous 
vegetation success on postmining land uses where woody plants are used 
for wildlife management, recreation, shelter belts or forest uses other 
than commercial forest land by requiring that areas planted with a 
mixture of herbaceous and woody species sustain a herbaceous ground 
cover of 70%.
    After the February 13, 2007, proposed rule was published in the 
Federal Register, DMME revised the portion of its proposed amendment 
dealing with revegetation success standards. By electronic mail dated 
April 18, 2007, (Administrative Record Number VA-1074), DMME stated 
that it wished to withdraw the changes it previously made to 4 VAC 25-
130-816 and 817.116(a)(2) regarding the sampling techniques and retain 
the original language. Additionally, DMME indicated that it wished to 
revise the herbaceous ground cover success standard of 4 VAC 25-130-816 
and 817.117(b)(3)(v)(C) to require that postmining land uses of 
wildlife management, recreation, shelter belts, or forest uses other 
than commercial forest land that are planted with a mixture of 
herbaceous and woody species must sustain a herbaceous ground cover of 
80%. We announced these proposed revisions in a July 5, 2007, Federal 
Register notice (72 FR 36632) in which we reopened the public comment 
period. The reopened public comment period closed July 20, 2007.
    After our review of the second resubmission of the amendments and 
based on our discussions regarding the amendment with DMME, DMME chose 
to resubmit 4 VAC 25-130-816 and 817.116(b)(3) and 816 and 
817.116(b)(3)(v)(C) with added language that would facilitate the 
growth of woody plants in areas to be developed for fish and wildlife 
habitat, recreation, shelter belts, or forestry. By electronic mail 
dated August 30, 2007 (Administrative Record Number VA-1082), DMME 
stated that it would revise parts of 4 VAC 25-130-816 and 817.116 
based, in part, on discussions with us regarding the benefits of using 
the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA). The FRA is a method for 
reclaiming coal-mined land to forests and is based on knowledge gained 
from both scientific research and experience. It is designed to restore 
forest land capability and accelerate the natural process of forest 
development. The FRA advocates selection of a suitable rooting medium 
for tree growth, loosely grading the growth medium to reduce 
compaction, using ground covers compatible with growing trees, planting 
early succession and commercially valuable tree species, and using 
proper tree planting techniques.
    DMME's first proposed revision occurs at 4 VAC 25-130-816 and 
817.116(b)(3). DMME is proposing to modify this section to indicate 
that for areas to be developed for fish and wildlife habitat, 
recreation, shelter belts, or forest products, woody plants must

[[Page 71297]]

be stocked at least equal to the rates specified in the approved 
reclamation plan. Additionally, DMME is proposing to add a requirement 
that in order to minimize competition with woody plants, herbaceous 
ground cover should be limited to that necessary to control erosion and 
support the postmining land use. Seed mixtures and seeding rates will 
be specified in the approved reclamation plan. The proposed revisions 
correspond to the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 816 and 817.116(b)(3) 
that provide the standards for success of revegetation and are 
essentially identical to the ground cover standards for areas where 
trees will be planted that were adopted by OSM in the Tennessee Federal 
Program on March 2, 2007 (72 FR 9616) and codified at 30 CFR 942.816 
and 942.817.
    With this new amendment, 4 VAC 25-130-816 and 817.116(b)(3) is 
proposed to read as follows:

    4 VAC 25-130-816.116(b)(3) and 817.116(b)(3). Revegetation; 
standards for success.
    (3) For areas to be developed for fish and wildlife habitat, 
recreation, shelter belts, or forestry, the stocking of woody plants 
must be at least equal to the rates specified in the approved 
reclamation plan. To minimize competition with woody plants, 
herbaceous ground cover should be limited to that necessary to 
control erosion and support the postmining land use. Seed mixtures 
and seeding rates will be specified in the approved reclamation 
plan. Such parameters are described as follows:
* * * * *
    DMME's second proposed revision occurs at 4 VAC 25-130-816 and 
817.116(b)(3)(v)(C). DMME deleted ``products, success of vegetation 
shall be determined on the basis of tree and shrub'' and added ``the 
stocking of woody plants must be at least equal to the rates 
specified in the approved reclamation plan. To minimize competition 
with woody plants, herbaceous ground cover should be limited to that 
necessary to control erosion and support the postmining land use. 
Seed mixtures and seeding rates will be specified in the approved 
reclamation plan. Such parameters are described as follows:''
    With this new amendment, 4 VAC 25-130-816 and 817.116(b)(3)(v)(C) 
is proposed to read as follows:

    4 VAC 25-130-816.116(b)(3)(v)(C) and 817.116(b)(3)(v)(C). 
Revegetation; standards for success.
    (v) Where woody plants are used for wildlife management, 
recreation, shelter belts, or forest uses other than commercial 
forest land:
* * * * *
    (C) Areas planted with a mixture of herbaceous and woody species 
shall sustain a herbaceous vegetative ground cover in accordance 
with guidance provided by the division and the approved forestry 
reclamation plan and establish an average of 400 woody plants per 
acre. At least 40 of the woody plants for each acre shall be 
wildlife food-producing shrubs located suitably for wildlife 
enhancement, which may be distributed or clustered on the area.
* * * * *

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 Virginia program.

Written or Electronic Comments

    Send your written or electronic comments to OSM at one of the 
addresses given above. Your written comments should be specific, 
pertain only to the issues proposed in this rulemaking, and include 
explanations in support of your recommendations. 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 will be included in 
the docket for this rulemaking and considered.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 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.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 946

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Dated: November 16, 2007.
Thomas D. Shope,
Regional Director, Appalachian Region.
[FR Doc. E7-24392 Filed 12-14-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-05-P