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MSHA - Petitions for Modification

October 30, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 210)
Page 58430-58431

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mine Safety and Health Administration

Petitions for Modification

The following parties have filed petitions to modify the application of mandatory safety standards under section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

1. U.S. Steel Mining Company, L.L.C.

[Docket No. M-98-81-C]

U.S. Steel Mining Company, L.L.C., 600 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-2749 has filed a petition to modify the application of 30 CFR 75.503 (permissible electric face equipment; maintenance) to its Gary No. 50 Mine (I.D. No. 46-01816) located in Wyoming County, West Virginia. The petitioner proposes to use permanently installed spring-loaded locking devices on battery plugs on battery-powered equipment instead of using padlocks. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method would provide at least the same measure of protection as would the mandatory standard.

2. Old Dominion Energy, Inc.

[Docket No. M-98-82-C]

Old Dominion Energy, Inc., P.O. Box 1234, Grundy, Virginia 24614 has filed a petition to modify the application of 30 CFR 75.1710 (canopies or cabs; diesel-powered and electric face equipment) to its Mine No. 5 (I.D. No. 44-06890) located in Wise County, Virginia. The petitioner proposes to operate electric mobile equipment without canopies in seam heights up to 50 inches. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method would not result in a diminution of safety to the miners.

3. Long Branch Energy

[Docket No. M-98-83-C]

Long Branch Energy, P.O. Box 776, Danville, West Virginia 25053 has filed a petition to modify the application of 30 CFR 75.503 (permissible electric face equipment; maintenance) to its Mine No. 23 (I.D. No. 46-08637) located in Boone County, Virginia. The petitioner proposes to use a threaded ring and a spring loaded device on battery plug connectors on mobile battery-powered machines to prevent the plug connector from accidently disengaging while under load. The petitioner asserts that application of the standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. In addition, the petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method would provide at least the same measure of protection as would the mandatory standard.

4. CONSOL of Kentucky, Inc.

[Docket No. M-98-84-C]

CONSOL of Kentucky, Inc., Consol Plaza, 1800 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15241-1421 has filed a petition to modify the application of 30 CFR 75.901(a) (protection of low- and medium-voltage three-phase circuits used underground) to its Big Spring No. 16 Mine (I.D. No. 15-17957), E3RF Mine (I.D. No. 15-17894), Motts Branch Mine (I.D. No. 15-18012), and its Big Spring No. 17 Mine (I.D. No. 15-17996) all located in Knott County, Kentucky; and its Wiley (MC) Mine (I.D. No. 15-17220), E3-MC Mine (I.D. No. 15-17720), and its Loves Branch Mine (I.D. No. 15-17814) located in Letcher County, Kentucky. The petitioner proposes to derive a low and medium voltage three-phase, alternating current for use underground from a portable, diesel-driven generator

[[Page 58431]]

and to connect the neutral of the generator's transformer secondary through a suitable resistor to the frame of the diesel generator. The frame of the diesel generator would have solid connection to a borehole casing, a metal waterline, or a grounding conductor with a low resistance to earth. The petitioner proposes to follow specific terms and conditions listed in this petition for utilizing the proposed alternative method. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method would provide at least the same measure of protection as would the mandatory standard.

5. Rustler Coal Company

[Docket No. M-98-85-C]

Rustler Coal Company, 66 South Tremont Street, Zerby, Tremont, Pennsylvania 17981 has filed a petition to modify the application of 30 CFR 75.340 (underground electrical installations) to its Orchard Slope Mine (I.D. No. 36-08346) located in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. The petitioner proposes to charge its batteries on the mine's locomotive during idle periods when all miners have been removed from the mine and to allow the intake air used to ventilate the charging station, located at the No. 1 chute of the active gangway level, to continue through its normal route to the last open crosscut and into the monkey airway (return). The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method would provide at least the same measure of protection as would the mandatory standard.

6. Kedco, Inc.

[Docket No. M-98-86-C]

Kedco, Inc., P.O. Box 1358, Gilbert, West Virginia 25621 has filed a petition to modify the application of 30 CFR 75.1002 (location of trolley wires, trolley feeder wires, high-voltage cables and transformers) to its Mine No. 2 (I.D. No. 46-08019) located in Mingo County, West Virginia. The petitioner proposes to use high-voltage (2,400 volt cables) to power continuous mining machines in and inby the last open crosscut. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method would provide at least the same measure of protection as would the mandatory standard.

7. Solvay Minerals

[Docket No. M-98-07-M]

Solvay Minerals, P.O. Box 1167, Green River, Wyoming 82935 has filed a petition to modify the application of 30 CFR 57.22305 [approved equipment (III mines)] to its Solvay Minerals, Inc. (I.D. No. 48-01295) located in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. The petitioner requests that previous petition for modification, docket number M-91-05-M, be amended to allow specific nonpermissible tools listed in this petition to be used in or beyond the last open crosscut. The petitioner states that prior to using these tools, the atmosphere would be examined for methane and would be continuously monitored with an approved instrument [MS240], [MX212], or MX250 CMX 270, CMX 271, and/or equivalent capable of providing both visual and audible alarms required in 30 CFR 57.22227 and according to the definition of mine atmosphere; that qualified personnel would physically attend the equipment when used in or inby the last open crosscut or in areas where methane may enter the air current; that the procedures in 30 CFR 57.22234 would be followed if 1.0 percent or more methane is detected; that the proposed changes to the petition would ensure the most up-to-date equipment, which would not only ensure compliance accuracy but would also meet or exceed the previous modification. The petitioner states that the alternative method of purchasing and using the most up-to-date equipment would allow them to continue ensuring the same level of protection that has been afforded to their employees in the past. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method would provide at least the same measure of protection as would the mandatory standard.

Request for Comments

Persons interested in these petitions are encouraged to submit comments via e-mail to "zzMSHA-Comments@dol.gov'', or on a computer disk along with an original hard copy to the Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, Mine Safety and Health Administration, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Room 627, Arlington, Virginia 22203. All comments must be postmarked or received in that office on or before November 30, 1998. Copies of these petitions are available for inspection at that address.

Dated: October 20, 1998.
Carol J. Jones,
Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances.
[FR Doc. 98-29082 Filed 10-29-98; 8:45 am]
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