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[May 16, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 93)]
[Unified Agenda]
[Page 27192-27193]

Department of Labor (DOL)
Long-Term Actions


Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

_______________________________________________________________________

1919. VERIFICATION OF UNDERGROUND COAL MINE OPERATORS' DUST CONTROL PLANS AND COMPLIANCE SAMPLING FOR RESPIRABLE DUST

Priority: Other Significant

Legal Authority: 30 USC 811; 30 USC 813; 30 USC 961; 30 USC 957

CFR Citation: 30 CFR 70; 30 CFR 75; 30 CFR 90

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: Our current standards require that all underground coal mine operators develop and follow a mine ventilation plan for each mechanized mining unit that we approve. However, we do not have a requirement that provides for verification of each plan's effectiveness under typical mining conditions. Consequently, plans may be implemented by mine operators that could be inadequate to control respirable dust. In response to comments received on the July 2000 proposed rule for MSHA to withdraw the rule, MSHA published a new proposed rule on March 6, 2003. The proposed rule would have required mine operators to verify, through sampling, the effectiveness of the dust control parameters for each mechanized mining unit specified in the approved mine ventilation plan.

The use of approved powered air-purifying respirators and/or verifiable administrative controls would have been allowed as a supplemental means of compliance when MSHA had determined that all feasible engineering or environmental controls were exhausted.

Public hearings were held in May 2003, and the comment period, originally scheduled to close on June 4, 2003, was extended until July 3, 2003. On June 24, 2003, MSHA announced that all work on the final rule would cease and the rulemaking record would remain open in order to obtain information concerning Personal Dust Monitors being tested by NIOSH. A Federal Register notice was published on July 3, 2003, extending the comment period indefinitely.

Timetable:
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Action                            Date                      FR Cite

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NPRM                            07/07/00                    65 FR 42122
Notice of Hearings; Close of 
Record                          07/07/00                    65 FR 42186
Extension of Comment Period; 
Close                           09/08/00                    65 FR 49215
NPRM                            03/06/03                    68 FR 10784
Notice of Public Hearing; Close 
of Record                       03/17/03                    68 FR 12641
Extension of Comment Period     05/29/03                    68 FR 32005
NPRM Comment Period End         06/04/03
Extension of Comment Period     07/03/03                    68 FR 39881
NPRM                             To Be                       Determined
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes

Small Entities Affected: Businesses

Government Levels Affected: None

Additional Information: This rulemaking is related to RIN 1219-AB18 (Determination of Concentration of Respirable Coal Mine Dust).

Agency Contact: Rebecca J. Smith, Acting Director, Office of Standards,
Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, 1100 Wilson
Boulevard, Rm 2350, Arlington, VA 22209
Phone: 202 693-9440
Fax: 202 693-9441
Email: smith.rebecca@dol.gov

Related RIN: Related to 1219-AB18
RIN: 1219-AB14