DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
[25 PA. CODE CH. 86]
Surface and Underground Coal Mining; Advance Notice of Final Rulemaking
[29 Pa.B. 548]
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is soliciting comments on changes it recommends to be made to the proposed Surface and Underground Coal Mining regulations in 25 Pa. Code, Chapter 86, which were published as proposed rulemaking at 28 Pa. B. 941 (February 14, 1998). Numerous changes to the regulatory language in § 86.1 and §§ 86.101--86.130 are being proposed to provide clarity and to enhance the consistency with the language used in Federal regulations. Sections 86.102(9), 86.103(e) and 86.129 are being changed because they were found to be more stringent than Federal requirements.
In response to comments received during the official public comment period on the proposed rulemaking and following the Department's review of other related information, the Department has prepared a draft of final regulations for public comment. The draft final regulation contains significant changes in two major areas:
§ 86.101. Definitions. In the definition of ''surface mining operations,'' the reference to activities related to underground coal mining that affect the land surface has been deleted to clarify that surface mining operations do not include any surface effects of underground mining resulting from activities that were conducted beneath the land surface. This change will make the definition consistent with the equivalent Federal legal interpretation and also consistent with the interpretation provided in the Federal proposed rulemaking on section 522(e) of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C.A. § 1272(e)).
§ 86.126. Procedures: decision. Subsection (b) has been changed to delete the term ''regulatory'' and add paragraphs (1) and (2) to clarify Environmental Quality Board action on decisions.
While there is no legal requirement to provide an opportunity to comment upon the Department's recommendations for final rulemaking, the Department believes further discussion would serve the public interest in this instance.
A copy of the draft final regulations is available from the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation at (717) 787-4761. Written comments on the draft final regulations must be received by March 2, 1999. No telefax comments will be accepted. Comments or requests for copies should be addressed or delivered to David C. Hogeman, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301. The draft final regulations are also available electronically through the DEP Web site (http://www.dep.state.pa.us). Comments may be transmitted electronically to Hogeman.David@a1.dep.state.pa.us, and must also be received by March 2, 1999. A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included in each transmission. If an acknowl-edgement of electronic comments is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure receipt.
JAMES M. SEIF,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 99-155. Filed for public inspection January 29, 1999, 9:00 a.m.]
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