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Federal Register: July 14, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 134)
Pages 37796-37797

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mine Safety and Health Administration

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30 CFR Parts 72 and 75

Diesel Particulate Matter Exposure of Underground Coal Miners

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration , Labor.

ACTION: Proposed rule; Notice of preliminary determination of no significant environmental impact; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This document announces the preliminary determination by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) that the proposed rule establishing new health standards for underground coal mines that use diesel powered engines will have no significant environmental impact. MSHA is soliciting comments on its preliminary determination.

DATES: Submit written comments on or before August 10, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be transmitted by electronic mail, fax or mail. Comments by electronic mail must be clearly identified as such and sent to this e-mail address: zzMSHA-Comments@dol.gov. Comments by fax must be clearly identified as such and sent to: Mine Safety and Health Administration , Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, 703- 235-5551. Send mail comments to: Mine Safety and Health Administration , Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, Room 631, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1984. Interested persons are encouraged to supplement written comments with computer files or disks; please contact

[[Page 37797]]

the Agency with any questions about format.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia W. Silvey, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, 703-235-1910.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 9, 1998, MSHA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (63 FR 17492) establishing health standards for underground coal mines that use equipment powered by diesel engines. The proposal is designed to reduce serious health hazards that are associated with exposure to high concentrations of diesel particulate matter (dpm). Dpm is a very small particle in diesel exhaust. Underground miners are exposed to far higher concentrations of this fine particulate than any other group of workers. The best available evidence indicates that exposure to diesel particulate matter puts miners at excess risk of a variety of adverse health effects, including lung cancer.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et. seq.), requires each Federal agency to consider the environmental effects of proposed actions and to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on major actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. MSHA has reviewed the proposed standard in accordance with the requirements of the NEPA, the regulation of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR Part 1500), and the Department of Labor's NEPA procedures (29 CFR Part 11). As a result of this review, MSHA has preliminarily determined that this proposed standard will have no significant environmental impact.

Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments on this determination on or before August 10, 1998.

Dated: July 8, 1998.
J. Davitt McAteer,
Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 98-18688 Filed 7-13-98; 8:45 am]
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