Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standard, 29140-29143 [2018-13396]

Download as PDF 29140 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 121 / Friday, June 22, 2018 / Notices FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Attestation for Employers Seeking To Employ H–2B Nonimmigrant Workers Under Section 543 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 Notice of availability; request for comments. ACTION: The Department of Labor (DOL) is submitting the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, ‘‘Attestation for Employers Seeking to Employ H–2B Nonimmigrant Workers Under Section 543 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017,’’ to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for use in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995. Public comments on the ICR are invited. DATES: The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before July 23, 2018. ADDRESSES: A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov website at http:// www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAView ICR?ref_nbr=201802-1205-001 (this link will only become active on the day following publication of this notice) or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202–693–4129, TTY 202– 693–8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or sending an email to DOL_ PRA_PUBLIC@dol.gov. Submit comments about this request by mail or courier to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 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. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Jun 21, 2018 Jkt 244001 Michel Smyth by telephone at 202–693– 4129, TTY 202–693–8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or sending an email to DOL_PRA_PUBLIC@dol.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This ICR seeks approval under the PRA for revisions to the Attestation for Employers Seeking to Employ H–2B Nonimmigrant Workers Under Section 543 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 information collection. As set forth in the Temporary Rule, Exercise of Time-Limited Authority to Increase the Fiscal Year 2017 Numerical Limitation for the H–2B Temporary Nonagricultural Worker Program, employers seeking authorization to employ workers under a time-limited authority were required to complete and submit Form ETA–9142–B–CAA. See 82 FR 32987 (July 19, 2017) The authority to issue any new visas under the 2017 Act has expired, and employers are no longer permitted to submit the form; however, an employer must still retain records to support its attestation. This ICR revises the collection to remove the filing provisions while retaining the recordkeeping requirements. Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 section 543 authorizes this information collection. See Public Law 115–31 section 543. 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 substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2017 (82 FR 60629). Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of 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 Control Number 1205–0530. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that: • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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: Attestation for Employers Seeking to Employ H–2B Nonimmigrant Workers Under Section 543 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017. OMB Control Number: 1205–0530. Affected Public: Private Sector— businesses or other for-profits, not-forprofit institutions, farms. Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,298. Total Estimated Number of Responses: 2,298. Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 2,298 hours. Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $104,674. Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D). Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2018–13425 Filed 6–21–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–FP–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Mine Safety and Health Administration Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standard Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: 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 MSHA’s Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances on or before July 23, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments, identified by ‘‘docket SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\22JNN1.SGM 22JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 121 / Friday, June 22, 2018 / Notices number’’ on the subject line, by any of the following methods: 1. Email: 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, 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 (phone), barron.barbara@dol.gov (email), or 202–693–9441 (fax). [These are not toll-free numbers.] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 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 (Secretary) 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 requirements and procedures for filing petitions for modification. II. Petition for Modification Docket Number: M–2018–015–C. Petitioner: Spartan Mining Company, LLC, 500 Lee Street East, Suite 701 (25301), P.O. Box 2548, Charleston, West Virginia 25329. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Jun 21, 2018 Jkt 244001 Mine: Road Fork #52 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–09522, located in Wyoming County, West Virginia. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells). Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard as it relates to vertical oil and gas wells at the Road Fork #52 mine. The petitioner states that: (1) The Road Fork #52 mine extracts coal from the Pocahontas No. 3 coal seam. The Road Fork #52 mine will operate two continuous miner sections producing coal 5 to 6 days per week. (2) In addition to the horizontal coalbed methane wells, there are many vertical oil and gas wells which exist in the reserve area of the Road Fork #52 mine. (3) Road Fork #52 mine will employ the continuous mining room and pillar method of mining. It is anticipated that each vertical wellbore will be mined through only once in any seam. (4) With respect to vertical mines, the petitioner proposes to modify 30 CFR 75.1700 as provided for below. The modifications requested would allow petitioner to mine through vertical wellbores as encountered and whenever the safety barrier diameter is reduced to a distance less than the District Manager would approve pursuant to § 75.1700 for plugged oil or gas wells penetrating the Pocahontas No. 3 Coal Seam and other mineable coal seams. (a) The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging and replugging; (1) A diligent effort will be made to clean the borehole to the original total depth. If this depth cannot be reached, the borehole will be cleaned out to a depth which would permit the placement of at least 200 feet of expanding cement below the base of the lowest mineable coalbed. (2) When cleaning the borehole, a diligent effort will be made to remove all the casing in the borehole. If it is not possible to remove all casing, the casing which remains will be perforated, or ripped, at intervals spaced close enough to permit expanding cement slurry to infiltrate the annulus between the casing and the borehole wall for a distance of at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coalbed. (3) If the cleaned-out borehole produces gas, a mechanical bridge plug will be placed in the borehole in a competent stratum at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coalbed, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum. If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, a substantial PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29141 brush plug may be used in place of the mechanical bridge plug. (4) Logs will be made consisting of a caliper survey directional deviation survey and logs suitable for determining the top and bottom of the lowest mineable coalbed and potential hydrocarbon producing strata and the location for the bridge plug. (5) If the uppermost hydrocarbonproducing stratum is within 200 feet of the base of the lowest mineable coalbed, properly placed mechanical bridge plugs or a suitable brush plug, described in subparagraph (a)(3) above, will be used to isolate the hydrocarbonproducing stratum from the expanding cement plug. Nevertheless, a minimum of 200 feet of expanding cement will be placed below the lowest mineable coalbed. (6) The wellbore will be completely filled and circulated with a gel that inhibits any flow of gas, supports the walls of the borehole, and increases the density of the expanding cement. This gel will be pumped through open-end tubing that extends to approximately 20 feet above the bottom of the cleaned out area of the borehole or bridge plug. (b) The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when plugging oil and gas wells to the surface: (1) A cement plug will be set in the wellbore by pumping an expanding cement slurry down the tubing to displace the gel and fill the borehole to the surface. As an alternative, the cement slurry may be pumped down the tubing so that the borehole is filled with Portland cement or a Portland cementfly ash mixture from approximately 100 feet above the top of the lowest mineable coalbed to the surface with an expanding cement plug extending from at least 200 feet below the lowest mineable coalbed to the bottom of the Portland cement. There will be at least 200 feet of expanding cement below the base of the lowest mineable coalbed. (2) A small quantity of steel turnings, or other small magnetic particles, will be embedded in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the borehole. (c) The petitioner proposes the following procedures when using the vent pipe method for plugging oil and gas wells: (1) A 41⁄2-inch or larger vent pipe will be run into the wellbore to a depth of 100 feet below the lowest mineable coalbed and wedged to a small diameter pipe, if needed, which will extend to approximately 20 feet above the bottom of the cleaned out area of the borehole or bridge plug. (2) A cement plug will be set in the wellbore by pumping an expanding E:\FR\FM\22JNN1.SGM 22JNN1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 29142 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 121 / Friday, June 22, 2018 / Notices cement slurry, Portland cement, or a Portland cement-fly ash mixture down the tubing to displace the gel so that the borehole is filled with cement. The borehole and the vent pipe will be filled with expanding cement to a minimum of 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coalbed. The top of the expanding cement will extend upward to approximately 100 feet above the top of the lowest mineable coalbed. (3) All fluid will be evacuated from the vent pipe to facilitate testing for gases. During the evacuation of fluid, the expanding cement will not be disturbed. (4) The top of the vent pipe will be protected to prevent liquids or solids from entering the wellbore, but permit ready access to the full internal diameter of the vent pipe when necessary. (d) The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when plugging oil or gas wells for subsequent use as degasification boreholes: (1) A cement plug will be set in the wellbore by pumping an expanding cement slurry down the tubing to displace the gel and provide at least 200 feet of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coalbed. The top of the expanding cement will extend upward to about the top of the coalbed being mined. This distance will be based on the average height of the roof strata breakage for the mine. (2) To facilitate methane drainage, degasification casing of suitable diameter, slotted or perforated throughout its lower 150 to 200 feet, will be set in the borehole to a point 10 to 30 feet above the top of the expanding cement. (3) The annulus between the degasification casing and the borehole wall will be cemented from a point immediately above the slots or perforations to the surface. (4) The degasification casing will be cleaned out for its total length. (5) The top of the degasification casing will be fitted with a wellhead equipped as required by the DM. Such equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing. (e) The petitioner proposes to use the well plugging procedures described above and the cut-through procedures described below whenever the petitioner reduces the safety barrier diameter to a distance less than the DM would approve pursuant to § 75.1700, or proceeds with an intent to cut-through a plugged well. (1) The petitioner will notify the DM or his designee prior to reducing the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Jun 21, 2018 Jkt 244001 safety barrier to a distance less than the DM would approve pursuant to § 75.1700 or proceeding with an intent to cut through a plugged well. (2) Mining through a plugged well will be done on a shift approved by the DM or designee. (3) Prior to mining through a plugged well, the petitioner will notify the DM or designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present. (4) Drivage sites will be installed at the last open crosscut near the place to be mined to ensure intersection of the well. The drivage sites will not be more than 50 feet from the well. (5) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the mining-through will be available when either the conventional or continuous mining method is used. The fire hose will be located in the last open crosscut of the entry or room. All fire hoses will be ready for operation during the mining-through. (6) Sufficient supplies of roof support and ventilation materials will be available and located at the last open crosscut. In addition, an emergency plug and/or plugs will be available in the immediate area of the mine-through. (7) At least the quantity of air required by the approved mine ventilation plan, but not less than 6,000 cubic feet per minute for scrubber equipped continuous miners or not less than 9,000 cubic feet per minute for continuous miner sections using auxiliary fans or line brattice only, will be used to ventilate the working face during the mining- through operation. (8) Equipment will be checked for permissibility and serviced on the shift prior to mining-through the well and the water line maintained to the tail piece with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the farthest point of penetration on the section. (9) The methane monitor on the continuous mining machine will be calibrated on the shift prior to miningthrough the well. (10) When mining is in progress, tests for methane will be made with a handheld methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through. During the actual cutting through process, no individual will be allowed on the return side until mining-through has been completed and the area has been examined and declared safe. PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (11) The working place will be free from accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and rock dust will be placed on the roof, rib and floor within 20 feet of the face when mining through or near the well on the shift or shifts during which the cut-through will occur. (12) When the wellbore is intersected, all equipment will be deenergized and the place thoroughly examined and determined safe before mining is resumed. Any well casing will be removed and no open flames will be permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been established around the wellbore. (13) After a well has been intersected and the working place determined safe, mining will continue inby the well a sufficient distance to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the wellbore. (14) No person will be permitted in the area of the mining-through operation except those actually engaged in the operation, company personnel, representatives of the miners, personnel from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency. (15) The mining-through operation will be under the direct supervision of a certified official. Instructions concerning the mining-through operation will be issued only by the certified official in charge. (16) MSHA personnel may interrupt or halt the mining-through operation when it is necessary for the safety of the miners. (17) A copy of the petition will be maintained at the mine and be available to the miners. (18) The petitioner will file a plugging affidavit setting forth the persons who participated in the work, a description of the plugging work, and certification by the petitioner that the well has been plugged as described. (19) Within 60 days after the proposed decision and order (PDO) becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the DM. These proposed revisions will include initial and refresher training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions in the PDO. (f) Prior to mining through a vertical wellbore of a well, in addition to complying with the modifications described above, the petitioner will verify that the following procedures have been performed on the well: (1) If water is present, it will be bailed from the vertical section of the wellbore, as close to the coal seam elevation as practical using normal bailing equipment. E:\FR\FM\22JNN1.SGM 22JNN1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 121 / Friday, June 22, 2018 / Notices (2) The surface wellhead will be maintained open to bring the vertical section of the wellbore to outside atmospheric pressure. (g) In addition, the petitioner proposes to do the following: (1) Install drivage sites within 80 feet of the mine-through point. (2) Provide firefighting equipment near the working face, including two 10—pound fire extinguishers, 240 pounds of rock dust, and fire hose of sufficient length to reach the working face and capable of delivering at least 50 gallons per minute of water at minimum pressure of 50 pounds per square inch. (3) Supply a quantity of at least 9,000 CFM of intake air at the face, but no less than the approved ventilation plan amount, of intake air at the face. (4) Calibrate the continuous miner methane monitor on one of the five production shifts prior to the shift during which the mine-through is anticipated. (5) Test for methane with a hand-held methane detector at least every 10 minutes during the time mining is conducted within 30 feet of the wellbore. (6) Deenergize all equipment and thoroughly examine the area when the wellbore is intersected. (7) Continue hand-held methane detector tests at least every 10 minutes during production shifts until mining has progressed 20 feet past the initial mine-through point once the area has been determined to be safe and mining has resumed. (h) Only company personnel, personnel from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate West Virginia agency will be permitted in the area of the mine-through operation. (i) The mine-through operation will be under the direct supervision of the certified official. Instructions concerning the mine-through operation will be issued only by a certified official. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection from the potential hazards against which the existing standard was intended to guard. Sheila McConnell, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances. [FR Doc. 2018–13396 Filed 6–21–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4520–43–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Jun 21, 2018 Jkt 244001 DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs Proposed Extension of Existing Collection; Comment Request ACTION: Notice. The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs is soliciting comments concerning the proposed collection: Rehabilitation Maintenance Certificate (OWCP–17). A copy of the proposed information collection request can be obtained by contacting the office listed below in the addresses section of this Notice. DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the addresses section below on or before August 21, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by mail, delivery service, or by hand to Ms. Yoon Ferguson, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Room S–3323, Washington, DC 20210; by fax to (202) 354–9647; or by Email to ferguson.yoon@dol.gov. Please use only one method of transmission for comments (mail/delivery, fax, or Email). Please note that comments submitted after the comment period will not be considered. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background: The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). These acts provide vocational rehabilitation services to eligible workers with disabilities. 5 U.S.C. 8111(b) of the FECA provides that OWCP may pay an individual undergoing vocational rehabilitation a maintenance allowance, not to exceed $200 a month. 33 U.S.C. 908(g) of the LHWCA provide that person(s) undergoing such vocational rehabilitation shall receive maintenance SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29143 allowances as additional compensation. Form OWCP–17 is used to collect information necessary to determine the amount of any maintenance allowance to be paid. This information collection is currently approved for use through November 30, 2018. II. Review Focus: The Department of Labor is particularly interested in comments which: * 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 submissions of responses. III. Current Actions: The Department of Labor seeks the approval for the extension of this currently approved information collection in order to carry out its responsibility to assure payment of compensation benefits to injured workers at the proper rate. Type of Review: Extension. Agency: Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. Title: Rehabilitation Maintenance Certificate. OMB Number: 1240–0012. Agency Number: OWCP–17. Affected Public: Individuals or households. Total Respondents: 370. Total Annual Responses: 3,452. Average Time per Response: 10 minutes. Estimated Total Burden Hours: 575. Frequency: On occasion. Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): $0. Total Burden Cost (operating/ maintenance): $1,830. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record. E:\FR\FM\22JNN1.SGM 22JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 121 (Friday, June 22, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29140-29143]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-13396]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Mine Safety and Health Administration


Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory 
Safety Standard

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: 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 MSHA's Office 
of Standards, Regulations, and Variances on or before July 23, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments, identified by ``docket

[[Page 29141]]

number'' on the subject line, by any of the following methods:
    1. Email: [email protected]. 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, 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 (phone), 
[email protected] (email), or 202-693-9441 (fax). [These are not 
toll-free numbers.]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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.

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 (Secretary) 
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 requirements and procedures for filing petitions for modification.

II. Petition for Modification

    Docket Number: M-2018-015-C.
    Petitioner: Spartan Mining Company, LLC, 500 Lee Street East, Suite 
701 (25301), P.O. Box 2548, Charleston, West Virginia 25329.
    Mine: Road Fork #52 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09522, located in 
Wyoming County, West Virginia.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells).
    Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the 
existing standard as it relates to vertical oil and gas wells at the 
Road Fork #52 mine. The petitioner states that:
    (1) The Road Fork #52 mine extracts coal from the Pocahontas No. 3 
coal seam. The Road Fork #52 mine will operate two continuous miner 
sections producing coal 5 to 6 days per week.
    (2) In addition to the horizontal coalbed methane wells, there are 
many vertical oil and gas wells which exist in the reserve area of the 
Road Fork #52 mine.
    (3) Road Fork #52 mine will employ the continuous mining room and 
pillar method of mining. It is anticipated that each vertical wellbore 
will be mined through only once in any seam.
    (4) With respect to vertical mines, the petitioner proposes to 
modify 30 CFR 75.1700 as provided for below. The modifications 
requested would allow petitioner to mine through vertical wellbores as 
encountered and whenever the safety barrier diameter is reduced to a 
distance less than the District Manager would approve pursuant to Sec.  
75.1700 for plugged oil or gas wells penetrating the Pocahontas No. 3 
Coal Seam and other mineable coal seams.
    (a) The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when 
cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging and 
replugging;
    (1) A diligent effort will be made to clean the borehole to the 
original total depth. If this depth cannot be reached, the borehole 
will be cleaned out to a depth which would permit the placement of at 
least 200 feet of expanding cement below the base of the lowest 
mineable coalbed.
    (2) When cleaning the borehole, a diligent effort will be made to 
remove all the casing in the borehole. If it is not possible to remove 
all casing, the casing which remains will be perforated, or ripped, at 
intervals spaced close enough to permit expanding cement slurry to 
infiltrate the annulus between the casing and the borehole wall for a 
distance of at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable 
coalbed.
    (3) If the cleaned-out borehole produces gas, a mechanical bridge 
plug will be placed in the borehole in a competent stratum at least 200 
feet below the base of the lowest mineable coalbed, but above the top 
of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum. If it is not possible 
to set a mechanical bridge plug, a substantial brush plug may be used 
in place of the mechanical bridge plug.
    (4) Logs will be made consisting of a caliper survey directional 
deviation survey and logs suitable for determining the top and bottom 
of the lowest mineable coalbed and potential hydrocarbon producing 
strata and the location for the bridge plug.
    (5) If the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 200 
feet of the base of the lowest mineable coalbed, properly placed 
mechanical bridge plugs or a suitable brush plug, described in 
subparagraph (a)(3) above, will be used to isolate the hydrocarbon-
producing stratum from the expanding cement plug. Nevertheless, a 
minimum of 200 feet of expanding cement will be placed below the lowest 
mineable coalbed.
    (6) The wellbore will be completely filled and circulated with a 
gel that inhibits any flow of gas, supports the walls of the borehole, 
and increases the density of the expanding cement. This gel will be 
pumped through open-end tubing that extends to approximately 20 feet 
above the bottom of the cleaned out area of the borehole or bridge 
plug.
    (b) The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when 
plugging oil and gas wells to the surface:
    (1) A cement plug will be set in the wellbore by pumping an 
expanding cement slurry down the tubing to displace the gel and fill 
the borehole to the surface. As an alternative, the cement slurry may 
be pumped down the tubing so that the borehole is filled with Portland 
cement or a Portland cement-fly ash mixture from approximately 100 feet 
above the top of the lowest mineable coalbed to the surface with an 
expanding cement plug extending from at least 200 feet below the lowest 
mineable coalbed to the bottom of the Portland cement. There will be at 
least 200 feet of expanding cement below the base of the lowest 
mineable coalbed.
    (2) A small quantity of steel turnings, or other small magnetic 
particles, will be embedded in the top of the cement near the surface 
to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the borehole.
    (c) The petitioner proposes the following procedures when using the 
vent pipe method for plugging oil and gas wells:
    (1) A 4\1/2\-inch or larger vent pipe will be run into the wellbore 
to a depth of 100 feet below the lowest mineable coalbed and wedged to 
a small diameter pipe, if needed, which will extend to approximately 20 
feet above the bottom of the cleaned out area of the borehole or bridge 
plug.
    (2) A cement plug will be set in the wellbore by pumping an 
expanding

[[Page 29142]]

cement slurry, Portland cement, or a Portland cement-fly ash mixture 
down the tubing to displace the gel so that the borehole is filled with 
cement. The borehole and the vent pipe will be filled with expanding 
cement to a minimum of 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable 
coalbed. The top of the expanding cement will extend upward to 
approximately 100 feet above the top of the lowest mineable coalbed.
    (3) All fluid will be evacuated from the vent pipe to facilitate 
testing for gases. During the evacuation of fluid, the expanding cement 
will not be disturbed.
    (4) The top of the vent pipe will be protected to prevent liquids 
or solids from entering the wellbore, but permit ready access to the 
full internal diameter of the vent pipe when necessary.
    (d) The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when 
plugging oil or gas wells for subsequent use as degasification 
boreholes:
    (1) A cement plug will be set in the wellbore by pumping an 
expanding cement slurry down the tubing to displace the gel and provide 
at least 200 feet of expanding cement below the lowest mineable 
coalbed. The top of the expanding cement will extend upward to about 
the top of the coalbed being mined. This distance will be based on the 
average height of the roof strata breakage for the mine.
    (2) To facilitate methane drainage, degasification casing of 
suitable diameter, slotted or perforated throughout its lower 150 to 
200 feet, will be set in the borehole to a point 10 to 30 feet above 
the top of the expanding cement.
    (3) The annulus between the degasification casing and the borehole 
wall will be cemented from a point immediately above the slots or 
perforations to the surface.
    (4) The degasification casing will be cleaned out for its total 
length.
    (5) The top of the degasification casing will be fitted with a 
wellhead equipped as required by the DM. Such equipment may include 
check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, flame arrestor equipment, 
and security fencing.
    (e) The petitioner proposes to use the well plugging procedures 
described above and the cut-through procedures described below whenever 
the petitioner reduces the safety barrier diameter to a distance less 
than the DM would approve pursuant to Sec.  75.1700, or proceeds with 
an intent to cut-through a plugged well.
    (1) The petitioner will notify the DM or his designee prior to 
reducing the safety barrier to a distance less than the DM would 
approve pursuant to Sec.  75.1700 or proceeding with an intent to cut 
through a plugged well.
    (2) Mining through a plugged well will be done on a shift approved 
by the DM or designee.
    (3) Prior to mining through a plugged well, the petitioner will 
notify the DM or designee, representative of the miners, and the 
appropriate State agency in sufficient time for them to have a 
representative present.
    (4) Drivage sites will be installed at the last open crosscut near 
the place to be mined to ensure intersection of the well. The drivage 
sites will not be more than 50 feet from the well.
    (5) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock 
dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the 
mining-through will be available when either the conventional or 
continuous mining method is used. The fire hose will be located in the 
last open crosscut of the entry or room. All fire hoses will be ready 
for operation during the mining-through.
    (6) Sufficient supplies of roof support and ventilation materials 
will be available and located at the last open crosscut. In addition, 
an emergency plug and/or plugs will be available in the immediate area 
of the mine-through.
    (7) At least the quantity of air required by the approved mine 
ventilation plan, but not less than 6,000 cubic feet per minute for 
scrubber equipped continuous miners or not less than 9,000 cubic feet 
per minute for continuous miner sections using auxiliary fans or line 
brattice only, will be used to ventilate the working face during the 
mining- through operation.
    (8) Equipment will be checked for permissibility and serviced on 
the shift prior to mining-through the well and the water line 
maintained to the tail piece with a sufficient amount of fire hose to 
reach the farthest point of penetration on the section.
    (9) The methane monitor on the continuous mining machine will be 
calibrated on the shift prior to mining-through the well.
    (10) When mining is in progress, tests for methane will be made 
with a hand-held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the 
time that mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet 
of the well until the well is intersected and immediately prior to 
mining through. During the actual cutting through process, no 
individual will be allowed on the return side until mining-through has 
been completed and the area has been examined and declared safe.
    (11) The working place will be free from accumulations of coal dust 
and coal spillages, and rock dust will be placed on the roof, rib and 
floor within 20 feet of the face when mining through or near the well 
on the shift or shifts during which the cut-through will occur.
    (12) When the wellbore is intersected, all equipment will be 
deenergized and the place thoroughly examined and determined safe 
before mining is resumed. Any well casing will be removed and no open 
flames will be permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has 
been established around the wellbore.
    (13) After a well has been intersected and the working place 
determined safe, mining will continue inby the well a sufficient 
distance to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the 
wellbore.
    (14) No person will be permitted in the area of the mining-through 
operation except those actually engaged in the operation, company 
personnel, representatives of the miners, personnel from MSHA, and 
personnel from the appropriate State agency.
    (15) The mining-through operation will be under the direct 
supervision of a certified official. Instructions concerning the 
mining-through operation will be issued only by the certified official 
in charge.
    (16) MSHA personnel may interrupt or halt the mining-through 
operation when it is necessary for the safety of the miners.
    (17) A copy of the petition will be maintained at the mine and be 
available to the miners.
    (18) The petitioner will file a plugging affidavit setting forth 
the persons who participated in the work, a description of the plugging 
work, and certification by the petitioner that the well has been 
plugged as described.
    (19) Within 60 days after the proposed decision and order (PDO) 
becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its 
approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the DM. These proposed 
revisions will include initial and refresher training regarding 
compliance with the terms and conditions in the PDO.
    (f) Prior to mining through a vertical wellbore of a well, in 
addition to complying with the modifications described above, the 
petitioner will verify that the following procedures have been 
performed on the well:
    (1) If water is present, it will be bailed from the vertical 
section of the wellbore, as close to the coal seam elevation as 
practical using normal bailing equipment.

[[Page 29143]]

    (2) The surface wellhead will be maintained open to bring the 
vertical section of the wellbore to outside atmospheric pressure.
    (g) In addition, the petitioner proposes to do the following:
    (1) Install drivage sites within 80 feet of the mine-through point.
    (2) Provide firefighting equipment near the working face, including 
two 10--pound fire extinguishers, 240 pounds of rock dust, and fire 
hose of sufficient length to reach the working face and capable of 
delivering at least 50 gallons per minute of water at minimum pressure 
of 50 pounds per square inch.
    (3) Supply a quantity of at least 9,000 CFM of intake air at the 
face, but no less than the approved ventilation plan amount, of intake 
air at the face.
    (4) Calibrate the continuous miner methane monitor on one of the 
five production shifts prior to the shift during which the mine-through 
is anticipated.
    (5) Test for methane with a hand-held methane detector at least 
every 10 minutes during the time mining is conducted within 30 feet of 
the wellbore.
    (6) Deenergize all equipment and thoroughly examine the area when 
the wellbore is intersected.
    (7) Continue hand-held methane detector tests at least every 10 
minutes during production shifts until mining has progressed 20 feet 
past the initial mine-through point once the area has been determined 
to be safe and mining has resumed.
    (h) Only company personnel, personnel from MSHA, and personnel from 
the appropriate West Virginia agency will be permitted in the area of 
the mine-through operation.
    (i) The mine-through operation will be under the direct supervision 
of the certified official. Instructions concerning the mine-through 
operation will be issued only by a certified official.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at 
all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection from 
the potential hazards against which the existing standard was intended 
to guard.

Sheila McConnell,
Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances.
[FR Doc. 2018-13396 Filed 6-21-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4520-43-P