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[31 Pa.B. 1592]

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ACTIONS ON COAL AND NONCOAL MINING ACTIVITY APPLICATIONS


Actions on applications under the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. §§ 1396.1--1396.19a); the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. §§ 3301--3326); The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1--691.1001); The Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act (52 P. S. §§ 30.51--30.66); The Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (52 P. S. §§ 1406.1--1406.21). The final action on each application also constitutes action on the request for 401 Water Quality Certification. Mining activity permits issued in response to such applications will also address the application permitting requirements of the following statutes; the Air Quality Control Act (35 P. S. §§ 4001--4015); the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (32 P. S. §§ 693.1--693.27); and the Solid Waste Management Act (35 P. S. §§ 6018.101--6018.1003).

Coal Permits Issued

   Greensburg District Mining Office:  Armbrust Building, R. R. 2 Box 603-C, Greensburg, PA 15601-0982.

   03950102.  Amerikohl Mining, Inc. (202 Sunset Drive, Butler, PA 16001). Permit renewal issued for continued reclamation only of a bituminous surface mine located in Cowanshannock Township, Armstrong County, affecting 98.0 acres. Receiving streams: Cowanshannock Creek and one unnamed tributary to Cowanshannock Creek. Application received: January 3, 2001. Reclamation only renewal issued: March 7, 2001.

   Cambria District Mining Office:  286 Industrial Park Road, Ebensburg, PA 15931.

   56990102, Permit Transfer from Duppstadt Coal (partnership) to Duppstadt Coal (individual) (2835 Stutzmantown Road, Somerset, PA 15501), for continued operation of a bituminous surface mine in Elk Lick Township, Somerset County, affecting 87.8 acres, receiving stream Tub Mill Run, unnamed tributaries to Tub Mill Run, unnamed tributaries to Casselman River, and the Casselman River. Application received July 14, 2000. Issued March 7, 2001.

   56890111, Permit Transfer from Duppstadt Coal (partnership) to Duppstadt Coal (individual) (2835 Stutzmantown Road, Somerset, PA 15501), for continued operation of a bituminous surface mine in Elk Lick Township, Somerset County, affecting 70.8 acres, receiving streams Tub Mill Run, unnamed tributaries to Tub Mill Run, the Casselman River, and unnamed tributaries to the Casselman River. Application received July 14, 2000. Issued March 7, 2001.

   McMurray District Mining Office:  3913 Washington Road, McMurray, PA 15317.

   0380302.  Keystone Coal Mining Corp., P. O. Box 219, Shelocta, PA 15774, to revise the permit for the Margaret No. 7 Mine in Cowanshannock and Plumcreek Townships, Armstrong County, Receiving stream(s): no additional discharges. Permit issued February 21, 2001.

   03871302.  DLR Mining, Inc., 3065 Airport Rd., Indiana, PA 15701, to revise the permit for the Triple K No. 1 Deep Mine in Burrell Township, Armstrong County, Receiving stream(s): no additional discharges. Permit issued February 16, 2001.

   30861601.  Dunkard Mining Co., 200 Neville Rd., Neville Island, PA 15225, to renew the permit for the Dunkard Preparation Plant in Monongahela Township, Greene County, Receiving stream(s): no additional discharges. Permit issued February 18, 2001.

   Knox District Mining Office:  White Memorial Building, P. O. Box 669, Knox, PA 16232-0669.

   33950107.  R & L Coal Corp. (P. O. Box 26, Punxsutawney, PA 15767) Renewal of an existing bituminous strip operation in Warsaw Township, Jefferson County affecting 39.5 acres. This renewal is issued for reclamation only. Receiving streams: Two unnamed tributaries to Mill Creek. Application received: January 18, 2001. Permit Issued: March 1, 2001.

Coal Applications Denied

   Greensburg District Mining Office:  Armbrust Building, R. R. 2 Box 603-C, Greensburg, PA 15601-0982.

   03910104.  Big Mack Leasing Col., Inc. (Rd 6, Box 231, Kittanning, PA 16201). Revision application denied for land use change for commencement, operation and reclamation of a bituminous surface mine located in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County, affecting 59 acres. Receiving streams: Cherry Run to Crooked Creek to Ohio River. Revision application received: February 28, 2001. Revision application denied: March 8, 2001.

Noncoal Permits Issued

   Pottsville District Mining Office:  5 West Laurel Boulevard, Pottsville, PA 17901-2454.

   66000815.  James Cashmark, (46 Brookside Road, Tunkhannock, PA 18657), commencement, operation and restoration of a small bluestone operation in Washington Township, Wyoming County affecting 1.0 acre, receiving stream--none. Permit issued March 9, 2001.

   66000816.  George S. Kuback, (65 Van Moore Road, Tunkhannock, PA 18657), commencement, operation and restoration of a small quarry operation in Eaton Township, Wyoming County affecting 1.0 acre, receiving stream--none. Permit issued March 9, 2001.

   21992801. Zimmerman's Roofing, LLC, (35 Ridge Road, Newville, PA 17241-9688), commencement, operation and restoration of a small quarry operation in North Newton Township, Cumberland County affecting 5.0 acres, receiving stream--none. Permit issued March 9, 2001.

   28002803.  R & D Contractors, (5436 Sunset Pike, Chambersburg, PA 17201), commencement, operation and restoration of a small quarry operation in Hamilton Township, Franklin County affecting 5.0 acres, receiving stream--none. Permit issued March 9, 2001.

   Greensburg District Mining Office: Armbrust Building, R. R. 2 Box 603-C, Greensburg, PA 15601-0982.

   3378NC17.  Pioneer Mid-Atlantic, Inc. (400 Industrial Boulevard, New Kensington, PA 15068). NPDES Renewal issued for continued operation and reclamation at a large noncoal surface mine (limestone quarry) located in Connellsville Township, Fayette County, affecting 73.57 acres. Receiving streams: unnamed tributary to Connell Run and Connell Run. Application received: January 9, 2001. NPDES Renewal issued: March 7, 2001.

   26900306.  Pioneer Mid-Atlantic, Inc. (400 Industrial Boulevard, New Kensington, PA 15068). NPDES Renewal issued for continued operation and reclamation at a large noncoal surface mine (limestone quarry) located in Connellsville Township, Fayette County, affecting 51.4 acres. Receiving streams: unnamed tributary to Connell Run. Application received: January 9, 2001. NPDES Renewal issued: March 7, 2001.

   65900402.  Pioneer Mid-Atlantic, Inc. (400 Industrial Boulevard, New Kensington, PA 15068). NPDES Renewal issued for continued operation and reclamation at a large noncoal surface mine (limestone quarry) located in Derry Township, Westmoreland County, affecting 1,303.0 acres. Receiving streams: unnamed tributaries to both and including Harbridge Run and Tannery Hollow. Application received: December 14, 2000. NPDES Renewal issued: March 7, 2001.

   Knox District Mining Office:  White Memorial Building, P. O. Box 669, Knox, PA 16232-0669.

   16010801.  Ranking & Sons Excavating (8175 Route 66, Fairmount City, PA 16224) Commencement, operation and restoration of a small noncoal shale operation in Clarion Township, Clarion County affecting 3.5 acres. Receiving streams: Unnamed tributary to Brush Run. Application received: February 2, 2001. Permit Issued: March 7, 2001.

FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION CONTROL ACT SECTION 401

   The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) has taken the following actions on previously received permit applications, requests for Environmental Assessment approval, and requests for Water Quality Certification under Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) (33 U.S.C.A. § 1341(a)).

   Except as otherwise noted, the Department certifies that the construction and operation herein described will comply with the applicable provisions of Sections 301--303, 306 and 307 of the FWPCA (33 U.S.C.A. §§ 1311--1313, 1316 and 1317), and that the construction will not violate applicable Federal and State Water Quality Standards.

   Any person aggrieved by this action may appeal, under Section 4 of the Environmental Hearing Board Act (35 P. S. § 7514) and 2 Pa.C.S. §§ 501--508 and 701--704 (relating to the Administrative Agency Law) to the Environmental Hearing Board, Second Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P. O. Box 8457, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8457, (717) 787-3483. TDD users may contact the Board through the Pennsylvania Relay Service, (800) 654-5984. Appeals must be filed with the Environmental Hearing Board within 30 days of receipt of written notice of this action unless the appropriate statute provides a different time period. Copies of appeal form and the Board's rules of practice and procedure may be obtained from the Board. The appeal form and the Board's rules of practice and procedure are also available in Braille or on audiotape from the Secretary of the Board at (717) 787-3483. This paragraph does not, in and of itself, create any right of appeal beyond that permitted by applicable statutes and decisional law.


Actions on applications for the following activities filed under the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (32 P. S. §§ 693.1--693.27), Section 302 of the Flood Plain Management Act (32 P. S. § 679.302) and The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1--691.702) and Notice of Final Action for Certification under Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C.A. § 1341(a)). (Note:  Water Obstruction and Encroachment Permits issued for Small Projects do not include 401 Certification, unless specifically stated in the description.)

Permits Issued and Actions on 401 Certifications:

WATER OBSTRUCTIONS AND ENCROACHMENTS

   Southeast Region:  Water Management Program Manager, Lee Park, Suite 6010, 555 North Lane, Conshohocken, PA 19428.

   E09-811.  Lower Makefield Township, 1100 Edgewood Road, Yardley, PA 19067. Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County, ACOE Philadelphia District.

   To perform the following activities associated with the bridge replacement and roadway improvements for Sandy Run road:

   1.  To remove an existing simple span bridge and to construct and maintain, in its place, a twin cell precast concrete box culvert with cast-in-place concrete wing walls across Brock Creek (WWF). Each of the precast culverts will have a clear span of 22.0 feet. The left cell will be along the stream channel and will have a rise of approximately 6.0 feet (1.0 foot depressed) and the right cell will be placed along the overbank and will have a rise of 3.5 feet.

   2.  To install and maintain 245 linear feet of cellular concrete lining along the right overbank to provide scour protection for the ingress and egress of flows in this area.

   3.  To relocate and maintain a 30-inch RCP stormwater outfall structure and to install and maintain a 24-inch RCP stormwater outfall structure associated with the proposed drainage facilities.

   This project also includes the relocation and maintenance of an existing 8-inch sanitary sewer pipe on the downstream side of the culvert. The application also proposes to construct and maintain temporary cofferdams associated with the diversion of stream flow through the project area. The site is located approximately 300 feet northwest of the intersection of Sandy Run Road and College Avenue, (Trenton West, NJ-PA USGS Quadrangle N:  20.1 inches; W:13.3 inches).

   E46-869.  Sal Lapio Homes, Inc., 104 Mill Road, Sellersville, PA 18960. New Hanover Township, Montgomery County, ACOE Philadelphia District.

   To perform the following activities associated with the proposed Acorn Hills Golf Course located on the northeast corner of Hanover Square Road and Wagner Road (Sassamansville, PA Quadrangle N:  6.35 inches; W:  8:35 inches). The entire project will impact a de minimis 0.03 acre of wetland and wetland mitigation is not required.

   1.  To install and maintain an 8-foot wide cart bridge at two locations over the West Branch of Swamp Creek (TSF) associated with holes No. 10 and No. 12 (Sassamansville, PA Quadrangle N:  5.5 inches; W:  8.5 inches).

   2.  To widen and improve an existing access road over the West Branch of Swamp Creek (Sassamansville, PA Quadrangle N:  5.5 inches; W:  8.5 inches).

   3.  To dredge 110 linear feet of Swamp Creek (TSF) and to install and maintain a 12-inch intake pipe and wet well to facilitate irrigation of the golf course. This work will be located on an off-site location on Evens Road east of Fagleysville Road (Sassamansville, PA Quadrangle N:  5.65 inches; W:  6.65 inches).

   This project also includes activities under General Permits No. 5 (utility line crossing), No. 7 (minor road crossing) and waiver [105.12(a)(2)].

   Northeast Region:  Water Management Program Manager, 2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711-0790.

   E39-390.  Joshi/Kalola Real Estate Partnership, 4365 Farmington Circle, Allentown, PA 18104. Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County, ACOE Philadelphia District. To place fill in 0.43 acre of wetlands for the purpose of constructing a commercial self-storage facility. The permittee is required to provide 0.49 acre of replacement wetlands. The project is located on the east side of Werley Road (T-544), approximately 500 feet south of Tilghman Street (S.R. 1002) (Allentown West, PA Quadrangle N: 16.4 inches; W:  10.0 inches).

   E40-539.  Eagle Rock Resort Company, Inc., 1031 Valley of Lakes, Hazleton, PA 18201-9717. Hazle Township, Luzerne County, ACOE Baltimore District. To authorize fill previously placed in 0.46 acre of wetlands and to place additional fill in 0.21 acre of wetlands associated with Phases ER2 and Eastern Hills (Conyngham, PA Quadrangle N:  9.0 inches; W:  12.0 inches); to construct and maintain five road crossings of tributaries to Sugarloaf Creek (culverts 19/20, 21/22, 23A/24A, 17B/18B, and 25/26), consisting of single HDPE culverts ranging from 24 to 36 inches in diameter, and a 36-inch-diameter HDPE stormwater outfall to a tributary to Sugarloaf Creek (culvert 17A/18A) for the construction of Kickapoo Drive, and to relocate approximately 220 linear feet of a tributary to Sugarloaf Creek (Waterway 2) for the construction of Chippewa Drive, associated with Phase JA East (Conyngham, PA Quadrangle N:  10.2 inches; W:  12.5 inches). The permittee is required to provide 1.34 acres of replacement wetlands. The project is located at the Eagle Rock Resort, north of S.R. 0924 and east of the Schuylkill/Luzerne County boundary.

   E52-168.  Penny James, Box 322, Twin Lakes Road, Shohola, PA 18458. Shohola Township, Pike County, ACOE Philadelphia District. To maintain two sections of fence, totaling 213 feet in length, constructed across wetlands within the drainage basin of Shohola Creek. The wooden fence is approximately 6 feet high and is supported by 4-inch X 4-inch cedar posts. The project is located at a private residence on the east side of S.R. 1005 (Twin Lakes Road), approximately 0.8 mile south of the intersection of S.R. 1005 and S.R. 1006 (Shohola, PA-NY Quadrangle N:  12.7 inches; W:  6.3 inches).

   Northcentral Region:  Water Management Program Manager, 208 West Third Street, Williamsport, PA 17701 (570) 327-3636.

   E08-365.  John M. Sullivan, Bradford County Board of Commissioners, Courthouse, 30 Main Street, Towanda, PA 18848. Knapps covered bridge rehab, in Burlington Township, Bradford County, ACOE Baltimore District (Ulster, PA Quadrangle N:  6.6 inches; W:  7.3 inches).

   To remove deteriorated arch members, the upper portions of the abutments and wingwalls and the concrete approach slabs of an existing single span, burr arch through truss bridge with a span of approximately 88 feet 10 inches and a normal waterway opening of 76 feet and to construct and maintain arch members, concrete encasement of existing abutments, concrete approach slabs, truss bearing seat and abutment wall upper portions of the above burr arch through truss bridge. The bridge is located over Browns Creek on T-554 approximately 0.8 mile northeast of Luthers Mills in Burlington Township, Bradford County. This permit was issued under Section 105.13(e) ''Small Projects.'' This permit also includes 401 Water Quality Certification.

   E55-167.  James A. Trutt, P. O. Box 243, Vicksburg, PA 17883. Bridge, in Center Township, Snyder County, ACOE Baltimore District (Middleburg, PA Quadrangle, N:19.9 inches; W:7.2 inches).

   To construct and maintain a steel I-beam bridge with a 30-foot clear span and a 5-foot underclearance across Dry Run located 1,500 feet downstream of the SR 1001 bridge over Dry Run in Center Township, Snyder County. This permit was issued under Section 105.13(e) ''Small Projects.'' This permit also includes 401 Water Quality Certification.

   Southwest Region:  Water Management Program Manager, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa 15222-4745.

   E03-390.  Boggs Township Supervisors, RD #1, Box 49A, Templeton, PA 16259. Boggs Township, Armstrong County, ACOE Pittsburgh District.

   To remove the existing structure (Township Bridge No. 33) and to construct and maintain a bridge having a normal clear span of 20.0 feet and an underclearance of 6.9 feet across Scrubgrass Creek (CWF) located on T-822 at a point approximately 200 feet west of its intersection with T-632. Also, to construct and maintain temporary diversion devices in the channel during construction (Distant, PA Quadrangle N:  5.69 inches; W:  16.99 inches).

   E03-392.  Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Engineering District 10-0, 2550 Oakland Avenue, P. O. Box 429, Indiana, PA 15701-0429. Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County, ACOE Pittsburgh District.

   To remove the existing bridge and to construct and maintain a bridge having a normal clear span of 75.0 feet and an underclearance of 12.0 feet across Plum Creek (TSF). The project is located on S.R. 2069 approximately 1,000 feet east of its intersection with S.R. 0210 (Elderton, PA Quadrangle N:  13.7 inches; W:  10.00 inches).

   E26-279.  Fayette County Commissioners, Courthouse, 61 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401. Georges Township, Fayette County, ACOE Pittsburgh District.

   To replace and maintain the deck of Fayette County Bridge No. 162, having a clear span of 30 feet and an underclearance of 6.5 feet across Mountain Creek (CWF) located on T-500 (Weaver Mill Road) at a point approximately 350 feet south of its intersection with T-345 (Smithfield, PA Quadrangle N:  6.08 inches; W:  8.55 inches). Emergency Permit EP2600205 was issued on December 11, 2000.

   Northwest Region:  Water Management Program Manager, 230 Chestnut Street, Meadville, PA 16335-3481.

   E24-215, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, P. O. Box 8451, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8451. Dents Run Road Across Tributary to Dents Run, in Benezette Township, Elk County, ACOE Pittsburgh District (Dents Run, PA Quadrangle N:  20.2 inches; W:  9.5 inches).

   To remove the bridge and to install and maintain a 22.3-foot long precast concrete box culvert having a 20-foot wide by 4-foot high waterway opening in a tributary to Dents Run (Bell Draft) and impacting a de minimis amount of adjoining wetlands on Dents Run Road approximately 4.5 miles west of S.R. 555 at Dents Run in Elk State Forest.

   E25-602, Millcreek Township, 3608 West 26th Street, Erie, PA 16506. Heidler Road Drainage Improvement Project, in Millcreek Township, Erie County, ACOE Pittsburgh District.

   To conduct the following activities associated with the Heidler Road Drainage Improvement Project in a tributary to Walnut Creek downstream of Heidler Road northwest of Sterrettania Road (S.R. 832):

   1.  Realign approximately 800 feet of stream channel beginning at Heidler Road and extending downstream (Swanville, PA Quadrangle N:  8.0 inches; W:  6.9 inches).

   2.  Remove the existing structure and to install and maintain three 60-inch diameter HDPE pipe culverts having a length of 50 feet on a private driveway approximately 850 feet downstream of Heidler Road (Swanville, PA Quadrangle N:  8.1 inches; W:  6.85 inches).

   3.  Remove the existing structure and to install and maintain three 60-inch diameter HDPE pipe culverts having a length of 50 feet on a private driveway approximately 1,700 feet downstream of Heidler Road (Swanville, PA Quadrangle N:  8.5 inches; W:  6.45 inches).

   4.  Install and maintain concrete block stream bank walls along both banks for a distance of approximately 100 feet extending upstream from a private driveway approximately 2,600 feet downstream of Heidler Road (Swanville, PA Quadrangle N:  8.9 inches; W:  6.1 inches).


SPECIAL NOTICES

Announcement of Resource Recovery Demonstration Grants under the Solid Waste-Resource Recovery Development Act

   In accordance with 25 Pa. Code Chapter 76.13 and 76.82 (c) of the Solid Waste--Resource Recovery Development Act Rules and Regulations, the Department of Environmental Protection has approved grants to the following application sponsors under the Pennsylvania Solid Waste-Resource Recovery Development Act of July 20, 1974 (P. L. 572, No. 198).

   The grant offerings are subject to completion of a contract with the Department in accordance with the Scope of Work approved by the Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management. Grants are limited to no more than the maximum amount provided in the grant offering, up to 75% of the total eligible demonstration project costs.

   Inquiries concerning this notice should be directed to Carl Hursh, Chief, Waste Reduction and Recycling, Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P. O. Box 8472, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8472.

2000

Act 198 Demonstration Grants

Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management

DevelopmentDescription of
AgencyProjectAmount
Lehigh CountyDemonstration of a re-use center to collect and repair or refurbish items segre-
gated from municipal solid waste
$175,000

Bureau of Deep Mine Safety
Approval of Request for Variance

   The Bureau of Deep Mine Safety (BDMS) has conditionally approved Eighty Four Mining Company's request for a variance from the requirements of Section 228(a) of the Pennsylvania Bituminous Coal Mine Act (Act) at Mine 84. This notification contains a summary of this request and the basis for the Department's approval. A complete copy of the variance request may be obtained from Allison Gaida by calling (724) 439-7469 or from the BDMS web site at http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/dms/dms.htm.

   Summary of the request:  Eighty Four Mining Company requested a variance of the requirements of Section 228(a) to conduct pre-shift examinations within 3 hours preceding the beginning of any 8-hour interval during which any person is scheduled to work or travel underground and establish the 8-hour intervals of time subject to these examinations at Mine 84.

   Continued authorization for operation under the approval is contingent upon compliance with the measures described in Eighty Four Mining Company's variance request and the following conditions:

   1.  The approval only applies for days when Mine 84 operates less than 3 coal-producing shifts, and the coal-producing shift starting times are 10 hours or more apart.

   2.  Following any idle shift, the operator is required to conduct a pre-shift examination of all active areas of the entire mine in accordance with Section 228(a) within 3 hours immediately preceding the beginning of the first coal-producing shift and before any miners in such shift other than those who may be designated to make the examination enter the mine.

   3.  Workers other than those who may be designated to make the examination shall not enter or remain in an underground area unless a pre-shift examination has been completed for the established 8-hour interval.

   4.  The operator shall ensure that areas of the mine that have not been examined as part of the 8-hour interval pre-shift will be examined within 3 hours before workers, other than persons making the examination, enter those areas.

   5.  At all times certified miners, machine runners, shot-firers, and mine officials shall monitor their work areas for all dangerous conditions. Certified machine runners or mine officials shall conduct a methane test at all working places where energized equipment is located at intervals not to exceed 20 minutes. All dangerous conditions that are not corrected shall be immediately dangered off and reported to a certified mine official. Certified mine officials shall notify incoming workers of all dangerous conditions in their assigned work areas and see that a danger sign is posted at the entrance to those areas before workers enter.

   6.  The operator shall use and maintain the systems for monitoring methane on continuous miners and longwall face equipment and for monitoring carbon monoxide on belt conveyors and permanent battery charging stations in compliance with all Federal requirements, and manufacturers' specifications.

   7.  This approval applies only to the schedule of shifts and pre-shift examinations set forth in the variance request. Changes in the pre-shift examination schedule will be submitted to the Department for approval before implementation.

   The basis for the Bureau's approval is summarized as follows:

   The Act requires that pre-shift examinations shall be made within 3 hours before the start of each coal production shift. The operator has scheduled coal production shifts that are 10 hours or longer in time. The extended shift schedules would result in pre-shift examinations being conducted at intervals of 10 hours or longer in time. The operator's proposal to conduct pre-shift examinations at 8-hour intervals will reduce the time between examinations and is more likely to detect hazards that could result in accidents.

   In 1961 when the Act became law, coal miners worked in shifts of 8 hours as a general practice. The effect of the pre-shift examination requirement was that examiners conducted pre-shift examinations every 8 hours. Years of experience with pre-shift examinations conducted at 8-hour intervals have proved effective at detecting hazardous conditions. Extending the pre-shift interval from 8 hours to 10 hours or longer due to extended production schedules would not be as effective as 8-hour intervals. The extended shift schedules and examination intervals would increase the risk that changing or dangerous conditions in the mine would not be detected for a longer time while workers are in the mine.

   The Bureau's approval of the variance request is conditioned on the operator's performance of 3 pre-shift examinations whenever 2 or fewer than 2 pre-shift examinations are required by Section 228(a) in a day. The additional pre-shift examination per day provides a greater probability that changing or dangerous conditions will be detected.

   The approval modifies the operator's request to incorporate technological safety enhancements that will facilitate the early detection of hazardous conditions. These include:

   *  Continuous miners and longwall face equipment equipped with methane monitors that continuously monitor and automatically de-energize electrical power when methane levels exceed allowable limits.

   *  Conveyor belts and permanent battery charging stations throughout the mine equipped with carbon monoxide sensors that provide an alarm at a location that is staffed continually.

   These monitoring and early warning systems which are not required by the Act will be required to be maintained as a condition of this approval.

   In 1961, mines were generally idle one shift per day and/or one day per week. The Act requires that within 3 hours immediately preceding the beginning of a coal-producing shift and before any workers in such shift enter the underground areas, a pre-shift examination shall be made of such areas. This requirement is very important following an idle shift to detect potential hazards that could have developed during the idle period. The requirement to make a complete pre-shift examination of all active areas of the entire mine within 3 hours before the start of the first coal production shift and before workers enter the mine following an idle shift is retained as a provision of this approval.

   Prior to October 18, 1999, the Pennsylvania Bituminous Coal Mine Act and Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) were generally consistent on the requirement for pre-shift examination. Effective October 18, 1999, MSHA revised its requirements for pre-shift examinations to be conducted on 8-hour intervals instead of 3 hours before the start of each shift. MSHA's justification for this change was based on an extensive study and evaluation that concluded the 8-hour equal interval examination provides a greater degree of safety then the requirement that examinations be made 3 hours prior to the start of the shift and before workers enter the mine.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 01-508. Filed for public inspection March 23, 2001, 9:00 a.m.]



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