Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards, 11841-11844 [2016-04930]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2016 / Notices Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL–ETA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202– 395–5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: OIRA_ submission@omb.eop.gov. Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor—OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: DOL_PRA_PUBLIC@dol.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Michel Smyth by telephone at 202–693–4129 (this is not a toll-free number) or by email at DOL_PRA_ PUBLIC@dol.gov. Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D). This ICR seeks PRA authority for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Call Center Final Assessment Guide information collection. The ETA proposes to conduct a comprehensive study of UI call center operations by collecting data to understand key operational challenges and issues in light of Administration policy priorities and of other partner programs. More specifically, approval of this ICR would authorize the ETA to conduct telephone interviews of UI State Workforce Administration Administrators and Directors. The interviews would gather detailed documentation of how states operate their UI call centers, as well as gather information on how existing state UI call centers’ successful practices and measurable performances are used. Social Security Act section 303(a)(6) authorizes this information collection. See 42 U.S.C. 503(a)(6). This proposed information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if the collection of information does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. For additional information, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on July 2, 2015 (80 FR 38233). Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:37 Mar 04, 2016 Jkt 238001 Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within thirty (30) days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB ICR Reference Number 201509–1205–013. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that: • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. Agency: DOL–ETA. Title of Collection: Unemployment Insurance Call Center Final Assessment Guide. OMB ICR Reference Number: 201509– 1205–013. Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments. Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 53. Total Estimated Number of Responses: 53. Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 133 hours. Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $0. Dated: March 1, 2016. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2016–04934 Filed 3–4–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–FW–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Mine Safety and Health Administration Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11841 Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 44 govern the application, processing, and disposition of petitions for modification. This notice is a summary of petitions for modification submitted to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) by the parties listed below. DATES: All comments on the petitions must be received by the MSHA’s Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances on or before April 6, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments, identified by ‘‘docket number’’ on the subject line, by any of the following methods: 1. Electronic Mail: zzMSHAcomments@dol.gov. Include the docket number of the petition in the subject line of the message. 2. Facsimile: 202–693–9441. 3. Regular Mail or Hand Delivery: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, Arlington, Virginia 22202–5452, Attention: Sheila McConnell, Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances. Persons delivering documents are required to check in at the receptionist’s desk in Suite 4E401. Individuals may inspect copies of the petitions and comments during normal business hours at the address listed above. MSHA will consider only comments postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service or proof of delivery from another delivery service such as UPS or Federal Express on or before the deadline for comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Barron, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances at 202–693– 9447 (Voice), barron.barbara@dol.gov (Email), or 202–693–9441 (Facsimile). [These are not toll-free numbers.] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act) allows the mine operator or representative of miners to file a petition to modify the application of any mandatory safety standard to a coal or other mine if the Secretary of Labor determines that: 1. An alternative method of achieving the result of such standard exists which will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners of such mine by such standard; or 2. That the application of such standard to such mine will result in a diminution of safety to the miners in such mine. In addition, the regulations at 30 CFR 44.10 and 44.11 establish the E:\FR\FM\07MRN1.SGM 07MRN1 11842 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2016 / Notices requirements and procedures for filing petitions for modification. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES II. Petitions for Modification Docket Number: M–2016–002–C. Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, Pennsylvania 17801. Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36–10110, located in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 49.2(b) (Availability of mine rescue teams). Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit the reduction of two mine rescue teams with five members and one alternate each to two mine rescue teams of three members with one alternate for either team. The petitioner states that: (1) The underground mine is a small mine and there is hardly enough physical room to accommodate more than three or four miners in the working places. An attempt to utilize five or more rescue team members in the mine’s confined working places would result in a diminution of safety to both the miners at the mine and members of the rescue team. (2) Records of Mine Emergency responses over the last 20 years indicate that rescue and recovery operations conducted by Anthracite Underground Rescue, Inc. (AUGR) have never utilized more than one team. In addition, when one rescue team was utilized there were no more than three members traveling to a working place simultaneously. (3) The electric power does not reach beyond the bottom of the slope. Therefore, all coal haulage is done by hand trammed cars or battery electric motor and car at very slow rates of speed. These facts considerably reduce the risk of a disaster and the need for as many mine rescue team members as required by the regulations. (4) The employment in the underground anthracite mines has decreased substantially and the ratio of mine rescue teams to underground miners has correspondingly been reduced. The loss of the underground work force dramatically reduces the pool of qualified people available to fill mine rescue positions. (5) Pennsylvania Deep Mine Safety presently has four deep mine inspectors that have deep mine rescue training and are pledged to assist if required in an emergency. In addition, the surrounding small mines have always provided assistance during mine emergencies. (6) As a result of poor market conditions and a significant number of underground mines now conducting VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:37 Mar 04, 2016 Jkt 238001 final pillar recovery, the downward trends are expected to continue. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners under the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–003–C. Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, Pennsylvania 17801. Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36–10110, located in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.335 (Seal strength, design application, and installation). Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of seal construction employing wooden material of moderate size and weight due to the difficulty in accessing previously driven headings and breasts containing the inaccessible abandoned workings through the use of homemade ladders. The petitioner requests that a design criteria in the 10 psi range be accepted due to the non-explosibility of anthracite coal dust and minimal potential for either an accumulation of methane in previously mined pitching veins or an ignition source in the gob area. The petitioner states that seals installed in pairs permit the water trap to be installed only in the gangway seal (lowest elevation) and sampling tube in the monkey (higher elevation) seal. The petitioner also states that: (1) The required transportation of solid concrete blocks or equivalent materials manually on ladders on pitching anthracite veins will expose miners to greater hazard(s) of falling, being struck by falling materials or resulting strains or sprains due to the weight of the materials. (2) No evidence of ignition in accessible abandoned anthracite workings has been found to date. (3) In veins pitching greater than 45 degrees the weight of the seal is transferred to the low side rib (coal). (4) Irregularly shaped anthracite openings would require substantial cutting of rectangular blocks to insure proper tie-in to hitches in the top rock, bottom rock and low side coal rib. (5) Concrete block and mortar construction for openings parallel to the pitching vein would be almost impossible to construct and subject to failure merely by its own weight. (6) Isolation of inaccessible abandoned workings from an active section will permit natural venting of any potential methane build-up through surface breeches, and the mine has not PO 00000 Frm 00105 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 experienced measurable liberations of methane to date. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners under the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–004–C. Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, Pennsylvania 17801. Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36–10110, located in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.360 (Preshift examination at fixed intervals). Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of examination and evaluation, including a visual examination of each seal, for physical damage from the slope gunboat during the pre-shift examination to occur after an air quantity reading is taken just inby the intake portal. An additional air reading and gas test for methane and oxygen deficiency will then be taken at the intake air split location(s) just off the slope in the gangway portion of the working section. The examiner will place the date, time, and their initials at the locations where air readings and gas tests are taken and the results will be properly recorded prior to anyone entering the mine. The slope will be traveled and physically examined for its entire length on a monthly basis with dates, times and initials placed at sufficient locations throughout, and results of the examination recorded on the surface. Any hazards found will be corrected prior to personnel transportation in the slope. The petitioner states that: (1) The intake haulage slope on moderate to steep pitch of 66 degrees is equipped with a ladder as part of its escapeway requirement. If an examination had to be conducted, platforms across the ladder at multiple locations would require miners to climb around each platform obstruction, significantly increasing a fall hazard down the slope. (2) If examinations were conducted and platforms not provided, a significant injury or fall potential exists each time a miner gets in and out of the gunboat. (3) Accurate air readings cannot be obtained with the gunboat blocking a major portion of the intake slope. If platforms were installed across the intake almost total restriction of the mine’s only intake would occur. (4) Since the intake haulage slope is the mine’s only intake, oxygen deficiency is highly unlikely. E:\FR\FM\07MRN1.SGM 07MRN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2016 / Notices (5) Due to wet conditions in the mine, dates, times, and initials frequently disappear in a matter of hours. (6) Anthracite coal historically liberates methane only during active mining thereby eliminating the likelihood of methane leaking from inaccessible abandoned areas into the intake slope. Any such leakage would be detected at the proposed sampling location at each intake air split on the gangway. (7) The return slope airway is located immediately adjacent to the intake slope and air leakage would occur toward the return. (8) While air losses from the intake to the return slopes are anticipated, a significant change in readings from those of the previous day to week would warrant additional air readings and gas test at various locations in the slope. Significant changes in readings, however, occur on a seasonal basis as a result of natural ventilation changes and should not be use as a basis for evaluating the efficiency of the mine’s ventilation system. (9) Only increases in air quantity readings obtained just inby the slope portal when measured in the slope are indicative of air leakage through seals in the wrong direction. (10) Examination of the intake haulage slope on a monthly basis will ensure the safety of miners traveling the intake escapeway and significantly minimize the fall hazard potential of miners conducting examinations. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners under the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–005–C. Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, Pennsylvania 17801. Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36–10110, located in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1200(d) & (i) (Mine map). Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit the use of crosssections in lieu of contour lines through the intake slope, at locations of rock tunnel connections between veins, and at 1,000 feet intervals of advance from the intake slope and to limit the required mapping of miner workings above and below to those present within 100 feet of the vein(s) being mined unless veins are interconnected to other veins beyond the 100 feet limit, through rock tunnels. The petitioner states that: (1) Due to the steep pitch encountered in mining anthracite coal veins, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:37 Mar 04, 2016 Jkt 238001 contours provide no useful information and their presence would make portions of the map illegible. (2) Use of cross-sections in lieu of contour lines has been practiced since the late 1800’s and provides critical information relative to the spacing between vein and proximity to other mine workings which fluctuate considerably. (3) The vast majority of current underground anthracite mining involves either second mining of remnant pillars from previous mining/mine operators or the mining of veins of lower quality in proximity to inaccessible and frequently flooded abandoned mine workings which may or may not be mapped. (4) All mapping for mines above and below is researched by the petitioner’s contract engineer for the presence of interconnecting rock tunnels between veins in relation to the mine and a hazard analysis is done when mapping indicates the presence of known or potentially flooded workings. (5) When no rock tunnel connections are found, mine workings found to exist beyond 100 feet from the mine are recognized as presenting no hazard to the mine due to the pitch of the vein rock separation between. (6) The mine workings above and below are usually inactive and abandoned and not usually subject to changes during the life of the mine. (7) Where evidence indicates prior mining was conducted on a vein above or below and research exhausts the availability of mine mapping, the vein will be considered to be mined and flooded and appropriate precautions taken through § 75.388, where possible. (8) Where potential hazards exist and in mine drilling capabilities limit penetration, surface boreholes may be used to intercept the workings and the results analyzed prior to the beginning of mining in the affected area. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners under the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–006–C. Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, Pennsylvania 17801. Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36–10110, located in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1202 and 75.1202–1(a) (Temporary notations, revisions and requirements). Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit the required interval of survey to be established on an annual PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11843 basis from the initial survey in lieu of every 6 months as required. The petitioner proposes to continue to update the mine map by hand notations on a daily basis and conduct subsequent surveys prior to commencing retreat mining, and whenever either a drilling program is required by § 75.388 or plan for mining into inaccessible areas is required by § 75.389. The petitioner states that: (1) The low production and slow rate of advance in anthracite mining make surveying on 6-month intervals impractical. In most cases annual development is frequently limited to less than 500 feet of gangway advance with associated up-pitch development. (2) The vast majority of small anthracite mines use non-mechanized, hand-loading mining methods. (3) Development above the active gangway is designed to mine into the level above at designated intervals thereby maintaining sufficient control between both surveyed gangways. (4) The available engineering/ surveyor resources are limited in the anthracite coal fields. Surveying on an annual basis is difficult to achieve with four individual contractors currently available. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners under the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–007–C. Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, Pennsylvania 17801. Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36–10110, located in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1400 (Hoisting equipment; general). Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit the use of a gunboat to transport persons without safety catches or other no less effective devices because, to date, no such safety catch or device is available for steeply pitching and undulating slopes with numerous curves and knuckles present in the main haulage slopes of anthracite mines. These mines range in length from 30 to 4200 feet and vary in pitch from 12 degrees and 75 degrees. The petitioner states that: (1) A functional safety catch has not yet been developed; consequently, the makeshift devices, if installed, would be activated on knuckles and curves when no emergency exists causing a tumbling effect on the conveyance that would increase rather than decrease the hazard to miners. E:\FR\FM\07MRN1.SGM 07MRN1 11844 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2016 / Notices (2) As an alternative, the petitioner proposes to operate the man cage or steel gunboat with secondary safety connections securely fastened around the gunboat and to the hoisting rope above the main connecting device and use hoisting ropes having a factor of safety in excess of the 4 to 8 to 1 as suggested in the American Standards Specifications for the Use of Wire Rope for Mines. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will provide no less than the same measure or protection afforded the miners under the existing standard. Sheila McConnell, Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances. [FR Doc. 2016–04930 Filed 3–4–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4520–43–P OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION Sunshine Act Cancellation Notice— OPIC March 9, 2016 Public Hearing OPIC’s Sunshine Act notice of its Public Hearing in Conjunction with each Board meeting was published in the Federal Register (Volume 81, Number 30, Page 7847) on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. No requests were received to provide testimony or submit written statements for the record; therefore, OPIC’s public hearing scheduled for 2 p.m., March 9, 2016 in conjunction with OPIC’s March 17, 2016 Board of Directors meeting has been cancelled. Contact Person for Information: Information on the hearing cancellation may be obtained from Catherine F.I. Andrade at (202) 336–8768, or via email at Catherine.Andrade@opic.gov. Dated: March 3, 2016. Catherine F.I. Andrade, OPIC Corporate Secretary. NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION [FR Doc. 2016–05166 Filed 3–3–16; 4:15 pm] Committee Management; Renewals BILLING CODE 3210–01–P The NSF management officials having responsibility for three advisory committees listed below have determined that renewing these groups for another two years is necessary and in the public interest in connection with the performance of duties imposed upon the Director, National Science Foundation (NSF), by 42 U.S.C. 1861 et seq. This determination follows consultation with the Committee Management Secretariat, General Services Administration. Committees Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education, #9487 Proposal Review Panel for Industrial Innovations and Partnerships, #28164 Proposal Review Panel for Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities #34558, (formerly Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation) asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Effective date for renewal is March 3, 2016. For more information, please contact Crystal Robinson, NSF, at (703) 292–8687. Dated: March 3, 2016. Crystal Robinson, Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. 2016–05075 Filed 3–4–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7555–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:37 Mar 04, 2016 Jkt 238001 PEACE CORPS Information Collection Request Submission for OMB Review Peace Corps. 60-Day notice and request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: The Peace Corps will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The purpose of this notice is to allow 60 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). DATES: Submit comments on or before May 6, 2016. ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Denora Miller, FOIA/ Privacy Act Officer. Denora Miller can be contacted by telephone at 202–692– 1236 or email at pcfr@peacecorps.gov. Email comments must be made in text and not in attachments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denora Miller at Peace Corps address above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Durable Medical Equipment (DME). OMB Control Number: 0420–XXXX. Type of Request: New information collection. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Affected Public: Individuals. Respondents Obligation to Reply: Voluntary. Respondents: Potential and current volunteers. Burdent to the Public: a. Estimated number of respondents: 400. b. Estimated average burden per response: 75 minutes. c. Frequency of response: One Time. d. Annual reporting burden: 500 hours. General description of collection: Durable medical equipment (DME is any equipment that provides therapeutic benefits to a patient in need because of certain medical conditions and/or illness. They consist of items that are primarily and customarily used to serve a medical purpose; are not useful to a person in the absence of illness or injury; are ordered or prescribed by a physician; are reusable; can stand repeated use, and are appropriate for use in the home. Other devices covered in this guidance include prosthetic equipment (cardiac pacemakers), hearing aids, orthotic items (artificial devices such as braces and splints), and prostheses (artificial body parts). The information collected will assist in the determination of Peace Corps eligibility. If eligible, it will assist with ongoing care during service. All applicants to the Peace Corps must have a medical clearance that will determine their ability to serve in a particular country. Request for Comment: Peace Corps invites comments on whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for proper performance of the functions of the Peace Corps, including whether the information will have practical use; the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the information to be collected; and, ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology. This notice is issued in Washington, DC on March 1, 2016. Denora Miller, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer, Management. [FR Doc. 2016–04899 Filed 3–4–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6051–01–P PEACE CORPS Information Collection Request; Submission for OMB Review AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\07MRN1.SGM Peace Corps. 07MRN1

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[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 44 (Monday, March 7, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11841-11844]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-04930]


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

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Mine Safety and Health Administration


Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory 
Safety Standards

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 
1977 and Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 44 govern the 
application, processing, and disposition of petitions for modification. 
This notice is a summary of petitions for modification submitted to the 
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) by the parties listed 
below.

DATES: All comments on the petitions must be received by the MSHA's 
Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances on or before April 6, 
2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments, identified by ``docket 
number'' on the subject line, by any of the following methods:
    1. Electronic Mail: zzMSHA-comments@dol.gov. Include the docket 
number of the petition in the subject line of the message.
    2. Facsimile: 202-693-9441.
    3. Regular Mail or Hand Delivery: MSHA, Office of Standards, 
Regulations, and Variances, 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, 
Arlington, Virginia 22202-5452, Attention: Sheila McConnell, Acting 
Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances. Persons 
delivering documents are required to check in at the receptionist's 
desk in Suite 4E401. Individuals may inspect copies of the petitions 
and comments during normal business hours at the address listed above.
    MSHA will consider only comments postmarked by the U.S. Postal 
Service or proof of delivery from another delivery service such as UPS 
or Federal Express on or before the deadline for comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Barron, Office of Standards, 
Regulations, and Variances at 202-693-9447 (Voice), 
barron.barbara@dol.gov (Email), or 202-693-9441 (Facsimile). [These are 
not toll-free numbers.]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 
(Mine Act) allows the mine operator or representative of miners to file 
a petition to modify the application of any mandatory safety standard 
to a coal or other mine if the Secretary of Labor determines that:
    1. An alternative method of achieving the result of such standard 
exists which will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure 
of protection afforded the miners of such mine by such standard; or
    2. That the application of such standard to such mine will result 
in a diminution of safety to the miners in such mine.
    In addition, the regulations at 30 CFR 44.10 and 44.11 establish 
the

[[Page 11842]]

requirements and procedures for filing petitions for modification.

II. Petitions for Modification

    Docket Number: M-2016-002-C.
    Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, 
Pennsylvania 17801.
    Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36-10110, located in 
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 49.2(b) (Availability of mine rescue 
teams).
    Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the 
existing standard to permit the reduction of two mine rescue teams with 
five members and one alternate each to two mine rescue teams of three 
members with one alternate for either team. The petitioner states that:
    (1) The underground mine is a small mine and there is hardly enough 
physical room to accommodate more than three or four miners in the 
working places. An attempt to utilize five or more rescue team members 
in the mine's confined working places would result in a diminution of 
safety to both the miners at the mine and members of the rescue team.
    (2) Records of Mine Emergency responses over the last 20 years 
indicate that rescue and recovery operations conducted by Anthracite 
Underground Rescue, Inc. (AUGR) have never utilized more than one team. 
In addition, when one rescue team was utilized there were no more than 
three members traveling to a working place simultaneously.
    (3) The electric power does not reach beyond the bottom of the 
slope. Therefore, all coal haulage is done by hand trammed cars or 
battery electric motor and car at very slow rates of speed. These facts 
considerably reduce the risk of a disaster and the need for as many 
mine rescue team members as required by the regulations.
    (4) The employment in the underground anthracite mines has 
decreased substantially and the ratio of mine rescue teams to 
underground miners has correspondingly been reduced. The loss of the 
underground work force dramatically reduces the pool of qualified 
people available to fill mine rescue positions.
    (5) Pennsylvania Deep Mine Safety presently has four deep mine 
inspectors that have deep mine rescue training and are pledged to 
assist if required in an emergency. In addition, the surrounding small 
mines have always provided assistance during mine emergencies.
    (6) As a result of poor market conditions and a significant number 
of underground mines now conducting final pillar recovery, the downward 
trends are expected to continue.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will 
provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners 
under the existing standard.

    Docket Number: M-2016-003-C.
    Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, 
Pennsylvania 17801.
    Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36-10110, located in 
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.335 (Seal strength, design 
application, and installation).
    Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the 
existing standard to permit an alternative method of seal construction 
employing wooden material of moderate size and weight due to the 
difficulty in accessing previously driven headings and breasts 
containing the inaccessible abandoned workings through the use of 
homemade ladders. The petitioner requests that a design criteria in the 
10 psi range be accepted due to the non-explosibility of anthracite 
coal dust and minimal potential for either an accumulation of methane 
in previously mined pitching veins or an ignition source in the gob 
area. The petitioner states that seals installed in pairs permit the 
water trap to be installed only in the gangway seal (lowest elevation) 
and sampling tube in the monkey (higher elevation) seal. The petitioner 
also states that:
    (1) The required transportation of solid concrete blocks or 
equivalent materials manually on ladders on pitching anthracite veins 
will expose miners to greater hazard(s) of falling, being struck by 
falling materials or resulting strains or sprains due to the weight of 
the materials.
    (2) No evidence of ignition in accessible abandoned anthracite 
workings has been found to date.
    (3) In veins pitching greater than 45 degrees the weight of the 
seal is transferred to the low side rib (coal).
    (4) Irregularly shaped anthracite openings would require 
substantial cutting of rectangular blocks to insure proper tie-in to 
hitches in the top rock, bottom rock and low side coal rib.
    (5) Concrete block and mortar construction for openings parallel to 
the pitching vein would be almost impossible to construct and subject 
to failure merely by its own weight.
    (6) Isolation of inaccessible abandoned workings from an active 
section will permit natural venting of any potential methane build-up 
through surface breeches, and the mine has not experienced measurable 
liberations of methane to date.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will 
provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners 
under the existing standard.

    Docket Number: M-2016-004-C.
    Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, 
Pennsylvania 17801.
    Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36-10110, located in 
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.360 (Preshift examination at fixed 
intervals).
    Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the 
existing standard to permit an alternative method of examination and 
evaluation, including a visual examination of each seal, for physical 
damage from the slope gunboat during the pre-shift examination to occur 
after an air quantity reading is taken just inby the intake portal. An 
additional air reading and gas test for methane and oxygen deficiency 
will then be taken at the intake air split location(s) just off the 
slope in the gangway portion of the working section. The examiner will 
place the date, time, and their initials at the locations where air 
readings and gas tests are taken and the results will be properly 
recorded prior to anyone entering the mine.
    The slope will be traveled and physically examined for its entire 
length on a monthly basis with dates, times and initials placed at 
sufficient locations throughout, and results of the examination 
recorded on the surface. Any hazards found will be corrected prior to 
personnel transportation in the slope. The petitioner states that:
    (1) The intake haulage slope on moderate to steep pitch of 66 
degrees is equipped with a ladder as part of its escapeway requirement. 
If an examination had to be conducted, platforms across the ladder at 
multiple locations would require miners to climb around each platform 
obstruction, significantly increasing a fall hazard down the slope.
    (2) If examinations were conducted and platforms not provided, a 
significant injury or fall potential exists each time a miner gets in 
and out of the gunboat.
    (3) Accurate air readings cannot be obtained with the gunboat 
blocking a major portion of the intake slope. If platforms were 
installed across the intake almost total restriction of the mine's only 
intake would occur.
    (4) Since the intake haulage slope is the mine's only intake, 
oxygen deficiency is highly unlikely.

[[Page 11843]]

    (5) Due to wet conditions in the mine, dates, times, and initials 
frequently disappear in a matter of hours.
    (6) Anthracite coal historically liberates methane only during 
active mining thereby eliminating the likelihood of methane leaking 
from inaccessible abandoned areas into the intake slope. Any such 
leakage would be detected at the proposed sampling location at each 
intake air split on the gangway.
    (7) The return slope airway is located immediately adjacent to the 
intake slope and air leakage would occur toward the return.
    (8) While air losses from the intake to the return slopes are 
anticipated, a significant change in readings from those of the 
previous day to week would warrant additional air readings and gas test 
at various locations in the slope. Significant changes in readings, 
however, occur on a seasonal basis as a result of natural ventilation 
changes and should not be use as a basis for evaluating the efficiency 
of the mine's ventilation system.
    (9) Only increases in air quantity readings obtained just inby the 
slope portal when measured in the slope are indicative of air leakage 
through seals in the wrong direction.
    (10) Examination of the intake haulage slope on a monthly basis 
will ensure the safety of miners traveling the intake escapeway and 
significantly minimize the fall hazard potential of miners conducting 
examinations.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will 
provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners 
under the existing standard.

    Docket Number: M-2016-005-C.
    Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, 
Pennsylvania 17801.
    Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36-10110, located in 
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1200(d) & (i) (Mine map).
    Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the 
existing standard to permit the use of cross-sections in lieu of 
contour lines through the intake slope, at locations of rock tunnel 
connections between veins, and at 1,000 feet intervals of advance from 
the intake slope and to limit the required mapping of miner workings 
above and below to those present within 100 feet of the vein(s) being 
mined unless veins are interconnected to other veins beyond the 100 
feet limit, through rock tunnels. The petitioner states that:
    (1) Due to the steep pitch encountered in mining anthracite coal 
veins, contours provide no useful information and their presence would 
make portions of the map illegible.
    (2) Use of cross-sections in lieu of contour lines has been 
practiced since the late 1800's and provides critical information 
relative to the spacing between vein and proximity to other mine 
workings which fluctuate considerably.
    (3) The vast majority of current underground anthracite mining 
involves either second mining of remnant pillars from previous mining/
mine operators or the mining of veins of lower quality in proximity to 
inaccessible and frequently flooded abandoned mine workings which may 
or may not be mapped.
    (4) All mapping for mines above and below is researched by the 
petitioner's contract engineer for the presence of interconnecting rock 
tunnels between veins in relation to the mine and a hazard analysis is 
done when mapping indicates the presence of known or potentially 
flooded workings.
    (5) When no rock tunnel connections are found, mine workings found 
to exist beyond 100 feet from the mine are recognized as presenting no 
hazard to the mine due to the pitch of the vein rock separation 
between.
    (6) The mine workings above and below are usually inactive and 
abandoned and not usually subject to changes during the life of the 
mine.
    (7) Where evidence indicates prior mining was conducted on a vein 
above or below and research exhausts the availability of mine mapping, 
the vein will be considered to be mined and flooded and appropriate 
precautions taken through Sec.  75.388, where possible.
    (8) Where potential hazards exist and in mine drilling capabilities 
limit penetration, surface boreholes may be used to intercept the 
workings and the results analyzed prior to the beginning of mining in 
the affected area.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will 
provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners 
under the existing standard.

    Docket Number: M-2016-006-C.
    Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, 
Pennsylvania 17801.
    Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36-10110, located in 
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1202 and 75.1202-1(a) (Temporary 
notations, revisions and requirements).
    Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the 
existing standard to permit the required interval of survey to be 
established on an annual basis from the initial survey in lieu of every 
6 months as required. The petitioner proposes to continue to update the 
mine map by hand notations on a daily basis and conduct subsequent 
surveys prior to commencing retreat mining, and whenever either a 
drilling program is required by Sec.  75.388 or plan for mining into 
inaccessible areas is required by Sec.  75.389. The petitioner states 
that:
    (1) The low production and slow rate of advance in anthracite 
mining make surveying on 6-month intervals impractical. In most cases 
annual development is frequently limited to less than 500 feet of 
gangway advance with associated up-pitch development.
    (2) The vast majority of small anthracite mines use non-mechanized, 
hand-loading mining methods.
    (3) Development above the active gangway is designed to mine into 
the level above at designated intervals thereby maintaining sufficient 
control between both surveyed gangways.
    (4) The available engineering/surveyor resources are limited in the 
anthracite coal fields. Surveying on an annual basis is difficult to 
achieve with four individual contractors currently available.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will 
provide no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners 
under the existing standard.

    Docket Number: M-2016-007-C.
    Petitioner: Clinton M Wynn Mining, 419 Shingara Lane, Sunbury, 
Pennsylvania 17801.
    Mine: Bottom Rock Slope, MSHA I.D. No. 36-10110, located in 
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1400 (Hoisting equipment; general).
    Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the 
existing standard to permit the use of a gunboat to transport persons 
without safety catches or other no less effective devices because, to 
date, no such safety catch or device is available for steeply pitching 
and undulating slopes with numerous curves and knuckles present in the 
main haulage slopes of anthracite mines. These mines range in length 
from 30 to 4200 feet and vary in pitch from 12 degrees and 75 degrees. 
The petitioner states that:
    (1) A functional safety catch has not yet been developed; 
consequently, the makeshift devices, if installed, would be activated 
on knuckles and curves when no emergency exists causing a tumbling 
effect on the conveyance that would increase rather than decrease the 
hazard to miners.

[[Page 11844]]

    (2) As an alternative, the petitioner proposes to operate the man 
cage or steel gunboat with secondary safety connections securely 
fastened around the gunboat and to the hoisting rope above the main 
connecting device and use hoisting ropes having a factor of safety in 
excess of the 4 to 8 to 1 as suggested in the American Standards 
Specifications for the Use of Wire Rope for Mines.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will 
provide no less than the same measure or protection afforded the miners 
under the existing standard.

Sheila McConnell,
Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances.
[FR Doc. 2016-04930 Filed 3-4-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4520-43-P