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[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 161 (Monday, August 20, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50166-50172]

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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.

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SUMMARY: Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and 30 CFR 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 to modify the application of existing mandatory safety standards codified in Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

DATES: All comments on the petitions must be received by the Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances on or before September 19, 2012.

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, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939, Attention: George F. Triebsch, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances. Persons delivering documents are required to check in at the receptionist's desk on the 21st floor. 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 requirements and procedures for filing petitions for modification.

II. Petitions for Modification

Docket No: M-2012-149-C.
Petitioner: Patton Mining, LLC, 925 South Main Street, Hillsboro, Illinois 62049.
Mine: Deer Run Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 11-03182, located in Montgomery County, Illinois.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.900 (Low- and medium-voltage circuits serving three-phase alternating current equipment; circuit breakers).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard for underground coal mines to permit the use of contactors in series with circuit breakers to provide undervoltage and ground fault protection for low-voltage power circuits serving three- phase alternating current equipment. The petitioner proposes to use a contactor in series with the circuit breaker in lieu of circuit breakers alone. The petitioner states that the circuit breaker would provide short circuit protection and the contactor would be equipped to provide undervoltage, grounded phase, and overcurrent protection and other protective functions normally provided by the circuit breaker. The petitioner proposes to provide undercurrent and ground-fault protection for three-phase alternating current low-voltage power circuits conditioned on compliance with the following special terms and conditions:
    (1) The nominal voltage of the power circuit(s) will not exceed 995 volts.
    (2) The nominal voltage of the control circuit(s) will not exceed 120 volts.
    (3) The vacuum contactor will be rated for the maximum voltage of the circuit being protected and the continuous full load current of the utilization equipment.
    (4) Vacuum contactors will be located in same enclosure as the circuit breaker.
    (5) Vacuum contactors with associated protective relays will provide undervoltage protection for low- and medium-voltage circuits serving three-phase alternating current equipment.
    (6) Each circuit breaker installed in conjunction with a contactor will be equipped with devices to provide short-circuit protection for each piece of equipment.
    (7) When a contactor trips on a ground fault condition or when a ground-check monitor trips it will not automatically reset and must require manual reset. Undervoltage circuits will be wired so that contactors can be closed remotely only when undervoltage or loss of voltage condition no longer exists. All other conditions that cause the contactor to open will require manual reset at the contactor.
    (8) The fail-safe ground check circuit will cause the contactor to open when either the ground or pilot wire is broken.
    (9) Circuits providing power to portable or mobile equipment will not be capable of being remotely started or remotely closed.
    (10) A monthly examination will be conducted on each circuit to assure proper operation of the contactor. The monthly examination will include activating the undervoltage, grounded-phase, and ground-monitor trip devices. The results of the contactor tests will be recorded with the required circuit breaker monthly tests.
    (11) Prior to each start-up, an audible alarm at each affected vacuum contactor or affected area will be activated for at least 15 seconds.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.
Docket Number: M-2012-150-C.
Petitioner: Deane Mining, LLC, 265 Hambley Boulevard, Pikeville, Kentucky 41502.
Mine: Access Energy Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 15-19532, located in Letcher County, Kentucky.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard regarding locating oil and gas wells penetrating coalbeds or underground areas of a coal mine, and establishing and maintaining barriers around the wells, to permit plugging and mining through gas wells. The petitioner proposes an alternative method of achieving the results of Sec. 75.1700.
    The petitioner proposes to use the following techniques and procedures when plugging the wellbore:
    (1) Cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging.
    (a) The borehole will be cleaned out to a depth that would permit the placement of at least 200 feet of expanding cement below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam except as provided in paragraph 6.
    (b) Prior to removal of casing or the setting of plugs, the well bore will be filled with a gel that inhibits the flow of gas, supports the walls of the borehole, and increases the density of the cement and/ or expanding cement plugs. The gel will be pumped through open-ended tubing extending to a point approximately 20 feet above the bottom of the cleaned out area.
    (c) If all casing cannot be reasonably removed:
    (i) Casing that remains below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam will be perforated at intervals of not less than one shot per 10 feet to permit expanding cement to infiltrate the annulus between the casing and the borehole wall for a distance of 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam or to the bottom of the casing, whichever is less; and
    (ii) Casing that remains above the base of the lowest mineable coal seam will be perforated with one shot at the elevation of each coal seam above the lowest mineable coal seam to permit cement to infiltrate the annulus between the casing and the borehole wall.
    (2) A directional survey will be run in the borehole to determine the horizontal deviation of the borehole at the base of the lowest mineable coal seam and at various intervals above the elevation.
    (3) A 200-foot expanding cement plug will be set below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam except as provided in paragraph 6. Prior to setting the 200-foot expanding cement plug, if the cleaned out borehole produces gas, a mechanical bridge plug will be set. This mechanical bridge plug will be set in the borehole in competent stratum or cemented casing at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon producing stratum, except as provided in paragraph 6.
    (4) The elevations of the top and bottom of the lowest mineable coal seam and the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum will be determined from driller's logs of the wells, nearby boreholes, mine maps, and other reliable sources of information.
    (5) If a substantial portion of the 200-foot expanding cement plug will be placed in the open hole, or if a mechanical bridge plug will be set in the open hole, a three-arm caliper survey will be run in such section of the open hole. This three-arm caliper survey will be used to determine a suitable location for the mechanical bridge plug and to verify the diameter of the open hole for purposes of calculating the volume of expanding cement to be used.
    (6) If the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 200 feet of the base of the lowest mineable coal seam, an expanding cement plug will be set across the hydrocarbon-producing stratum. This cement plug will extend from the top of the stratum to either a point 200 feet below the top of the stratum or the bottom of the hole, whichever is less. A properly placed mechanical bridge plug will then be set in competent stratum or casing above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon- producing stratum, and an expanding cement plug will be set from the top of the mechanical bridge plug to the bottom of the lowest mineable coal seam.
    (7) The wellbore will be filled with cement from the top of the expanding cement plug at the lowest mineable coal seam to the surface. A monument will be erected at the surface consisting of a section of 4\1/2\ inches or larger casing set in cement in the borehole a minimum of 36 inches and extending a minimum of 30 inches above ground level. The monument will be filled with cement and will show the American Petroleum Institute number of the well, generated by engraving or welding.
    The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for mining through a plugged oil and gas well:
    (1) The operator will notify:
    (a) The District Manager five days prior to mining within 300 feet of the well.
    (b) The District Manager and the representative of miners of the shift on which the mining will be done in close proximity to within 300 feet, or through a plugged well.
    (c) The District Manager, representative of the miners, and the appropriate state agency in sufficient time prior to the mine-through operation to provide an opportunity to have representatives present.
    (2) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, drivage sights will be installed at the last open crosscut near the place to be mined to ensure intersection of the well. The drivage sights will not be more than 50 feet from the well.
    (3) 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 mine-through.
    (4) Sufficient supplies of roof support and ventilation materials will be available and located on the active section. In addition, an emergency plug and/or plugs will be available within the immediate area of the mine-through.
    (5) During the mine-through operation, the quantity of air required by the ventilation plan, but not less than 9,000 cubic feet per minute of air, will reach each working face where coal is being cut, mined, drilled for blasting, or loaded.
    (6) Prior to the shift of mining through the well, equipment will be checked for permissibility and serviced. The water line will be maintained up to the tail piece with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the farthest point of penetration on the section.
    (7) Prior to the shift of mining through the well, the methane monitor on the continuous mining machine will be calibrated.
    (8) 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. This test for methane will also be made immediately prior to the mine-through. During the actual mine- through process, no individual will be allowed on the return side until the mine-through has been completed and the area has been examined and declared safe.
    (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods to mine through the well, the working place will be free from accumulations of coal dust and coal spillage, and rock dust will be placed on the roof, rib, and floor within 20 feet of the face.
    (10) When the well bore is intersected, all equipment will be deenergized and the working place thoroughly examined and determined safe before mining is resumed. Any well casing will be removed and no open flame will be permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been established around the wellbore.
    (11) After a well has been intersected and the working place determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a sufficient distance to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well bore.
    (12) No person will be permitted in the area of the mine-through operation except those actually engaged in the operation, company personnel, representatives of the miners, MSHA personnel, and State personnel.
    (13) The mine-through operation will be under the direct supervision of a certified individual. Instructions concerning the mine-through operation will only be issued by the certified individual in charge.
    The petitioner asserts that, while plugging and mining through gas wells, the proposed methods and standards provide reasonable alternatives to the current permissible standard and will not result in a diminution of safety to the miners.
Docket Number: M-2012-151-C.
Petitioner: Chief Mining, Inc., P.O. Box 446, Glen Daniel, West Virginia 25844.
Mine: Joe Branch No. 4 Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-08959, located in Wyoming County, West Virginia.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1101-1(b) (Deluge-type water spray systems).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard for underground coal mines to eliminate the use of blow-off dust covers for the spray nozzles of a deluge-type water spray system. The petitioner proposes to conduct a weekly inspection and functional test of its complete deluge-type spray system. The petitioner states that:
    (1) In view of the frequent inspections and functional testing of the system, the dust covers are not necessary because the nozzles can be maintained in an unclogged condition through weekly use.
    (2) It is burdensome to recap the large number of covers weekly after each inspection and functional test. The petitioner proposes to:
    (1) Continue its weekly inspection and functional testing of the complete deluge-type water spray system.
    (2) Remove blow-off dust covers from the nozzles.
    (3) In a book maintained on the surface, record the results of the examination and functional test and any malfunctions or clogged nozzle detected. The record will be retained at the mine for one year.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee the miners no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.
Docket No: M-2012-152-C.
Petitioner: Consol of Kentucky, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.
Mine: MT-34 Underground Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09424, located in Mingo County, West Virginia.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.500(d) (Permissible electric equipment).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:
    (1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.
    (2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:
    (a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery- operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.
    (b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in or inby the last open crosscut will be examined by surveying personnel prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:
    (i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.
    (ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.
    (iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.
    (iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.
    (v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.
    (c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.
    (d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut.
    (e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn outby the last open crosscut.
    (f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as required in 30 CFR 75.320.
    (g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air outby the last open crosscut.
    (h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.
    (i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.
    Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee the miners no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.
Docket Number: M-2012-153-C.
Petitioner: Consol of Kentucky, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.
Mine: MT-34 Underground Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09424, located in Mingo County, West Virginia.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.507-1(a) (Electric equipment other than power-connection points; outby the last open crosscut; return air; permissibility requirements).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:
    (1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.
    (2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:
    (a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery- operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.
    (b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in return airways will be examined by surveying personnel prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:
    (i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.
    (ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.
    (iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.
    (iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.
    (v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.
    (c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.
    (d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways.
    (e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn out of the return airways.
    (f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as required in 30 CFR 75.320.
    (g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air out of the return.
    (h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.
    (i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.
    Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.
Docket Number: M-2012-154-C.
Petitioner: Consol of Kentucky, Inc., Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.
Mine: MT-34 Underground Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-09424, located in Mingo County, West Virginia.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002(a) (Installation of electric equipment and conductors; permissibility).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:
    (1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary. To ensure the safety of the miners in active mines and to protect miners in future mines that may mine in close proximity to these same active mines, it is necessary to determine the exact location and extent of the mine workings.
    (2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:
    (a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery- operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.
    (b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used within 150 feet of pillar workings will be examined by surveying personnel prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:
    (i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.
    (ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.
    (iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.
    (iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.
    (v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.
    (c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.
    (d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings.
    (e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn further than 150 feet from pillar workings.
    (f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as required in 30 CFR 75.320.
    (g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air more than 150 feet from pillar workings.
    (h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.
    (i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.
    Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.
Docket No: M-2012-155-C.
Petitioner: Consolidation Coal Company, Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.
Mine: Shoemaker Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01436, located in Marshall County, West Virginia.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.500(d) (Permissible electric equipment).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:
    (1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.
    (2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:
    (a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery- operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.
    (b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in or inby the last open crosscut will be examined by surveying personnel prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:
    (i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.
    (ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.
    (iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.
    (iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.
    (v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.
    (c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.
    (d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in or inby the last open crosscut.
    (e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn outby the last open crosscut.
    (f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as required in 30 CFR 75.320.
    (g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air outby the last open crosscut.
    (h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.
    (i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.
    Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.
Docket Number: M-2012-156-C.
Petitioner: Consolidation Coal Company, Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.
Mine: Shoemaker Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01436, located in Marshall County, West Virginia.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.507-1(a) (Electric equipment other than power-connection points; outby the last open crosscut; return air; permissibility requirements).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways, including, but not limited to, portable battery- operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:
    (1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary.
    (2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:
    (a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery- operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.
    (b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used in return airways will be examined by surveying personnel prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:
    (i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.
    (ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.
    (iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.
    (iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.
    (v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.
    (c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.
    (d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in return airways.
    (e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn out of the return airways.
    (f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as required in 30 CFR 75.320.
    (g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air out of the return.
    (h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.
    (i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.
    Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.
Docket Number: M-2012-157-C.
Petitioner: Consolidation Coal Company, Three Gateway Center, Suite 1340, 401 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-1000.
Mine: Shoemaker Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01436, located in Marshall County, West Virginia.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002(a) (Installation of electric equipment and conductors; permissibility).
Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an alternative method of compliance to permit the use of battery-powered nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings, including, but not limited to, portable battery-operated mine transits, total station surveying equipment, distance meters, and data loggers. The petitioner states that:
    (1) To comply with requirements for mine ventilation maps and mine maps in 30 CFR 75.372 and 75.1200, use of the most practical and accurate surveying equipment is necessary. To ensure the safety of the miners in active mines and to protect miners in future mines that may mine in close proximity to these same active mines, it is necessary to determine the exact location and extent of the mine workings.
    (2) Application of the existing standard would result in a diminution of safety to the miners. Underground mining by its nature and size, and the complexity of mine plans, requires that accurate and precise measurements be completed in a prompt and efficient manner. The petitioner proposes the following as an alternative to the existing standard:
    (a) Nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment will be used when equivalent permissible electronic surveying equipment is not available. Such nonpermissible surveying equipment includes portable battery- operated total station surveying equipment, mine transits, distance meters, and data loggers.
    (b) All nonpermissible electronic surveying equipment to be used within 150 feet of pillar workings will be examined by surveying personnel prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examinations will include the following steps:
    (i) Checking the instrument for any physical damage and the integrity of the case.
    (ii) Removing the battery and inspecting for corrosion.
    (iii) Inspecting the contact points to ensure a secure connection to the battery.
    (iv) Reinserting the battery and powering up and shutting down to ensure proper connections.
    (v) Checking the battery compartment cover to ensure that it is securely fastened.
    (c) The results of such examinations will be recorded and retained for one year and made available to MSHA on request.
    (d) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings.
    (e) Nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent for the area being surveyed. When methane is detected at such levels while the nonpermissible surveying equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment withdrawn further than 150 feet from pillar workings.
    (f) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as required in 30 CFR 75.320.
    (g) Batteries in the surveying equipment must be changed out or charged in fresh air more than 150 feet from pillar workings.
    (h) Qualified personnel who use surveying equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with the use of nonpermissible surveying equipment in areas where methane could be present.
    (i) The nonpermissible surveying equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has initially inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition.
    Within 60 days after the Proposed Decision and Order becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved 30 CFR part 48 training plan to the District Manager. The revisions will specify initial and refresher training regarding the terms and conditions in the Proposed Decision and Order.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as that afforded by the existing standard.

    Dated: August 14, 2012.
George F. Triebsch,
Director, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances
[FR Doc. 2012-20305 Filed 8-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-43-P