Federal Register: June 17, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 117)
DOCID: fr17jn08-16 FR Doc E8-13446
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
CFR Citation: 36 CFR Parts 223, 228, 261, 292, and 293
NOTICE: PROPOSED RULES
ACTION: Request for Comment; Availability:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comment.
Regulatory Flexibility Act Assessment--Locatable Minerals Operations
DATES: Comments must be received, in writing, on or before July 17, 2008.
The Forest Service published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to revise the regulations for locatable minerals operations conducted on National Forest System lands. The proposed rule considered impacts to small entities under Executive Order 13272 and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA). However, the proposed rule did not make available nor seek comment on the small entities flexibility assessment. This notice allows for review and seeks comment on the flexibility assessment.
Regulatory Flexibility Act Assessment; Locatable Minerals Operations,
The assessment follows. Description of Small Entities Affected
The proposed rule (73 FR 15694, Mar. 25, 2008) would directly affect all exploration and mining companies. There are currently approximately 1,800 exploration and mining companies operating on the National Forests. Seventyfive percent of these companies are considered small business with less than 500 employees. The size of these 1,260 small businesses range from one person to 499 employees. Total production ranges from zero production for exploration companies to few thousand dollars per year for very small mining to several million dollars per year for the larger mining companies. Most mining companies require at least 2025 percent profit to survive mining's volatile market.
Economic Impacts on Small Entities
Increased operating costs from the proposed rule to small exploration and mining companies is expected to be insignificant since the small entities are already working under the proposed rule through current direction and policy spelled out in the Forest Service manual and handbooks. The proposed rule codifies much of the existing direction and policy.
The most direct costs from the proposed regulations will come from
how much time and money is spent on filling out and filing the required
notice of intent, cessation of operations, or an operating plan. Table
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) published earnings
information pertaining to locatable mineral operations. That
information can be found in the Mineral Commodity Summaries 2007. The
USGS disclosed that the estimated ``Average weekly earnings of
production workers'' for metal mining in 2006 was $979. Based on 40
hours a week and on an 8hour workday, the average hourly salary in the
locatable mineral arena is about $24.48. This rate is reflected in Table
Each year the Forest Service surveys the regional offices to get an estimate of how many Plans of Operations and Notices of Intents were received. The latest figures indicate that 320 Plans of Operations and 415 Notices of Intent were received in 2007. All of these plans and notices came from small entities.
Total estimated 2007 costs for small entities to comply with the
information collection was $114,100. The estimated additional
information collection costs for the proposed bonded notice are reflected in Table
The field units provided an initial estimate of 100 exploration and mining companies that would use the bonded notice instead of a plan of operation. A six hour burden per bonded notice was assumed giving a total of 600 burden hours. Annualized costs to the small entities would be $14,688.
The economic impact on an individual respondent would be $114,100 + $14,688 = $128,788 divided by 1,260 small businesses = $102.21. Conclusion
The comments will be addressed in the final rule for locatable minerals operations. The Forest Service has determined that the proposed rule will have an impact on a substantial number of small businesses. However, the economic impact of the proposed rule will not be significant. Under the proposed rule small entities will have the option of filing a bonded notice rather than a plan of operation for shortterm, low impact exploration proposals rather the longer plan of operations requiring more analysis and a longer approval time. The Forest Service expects the major impact from the proposed rule to be a reduction of paperwork burden for the small entities which should be beneficial to small exploration and mining companies.
The Forest Service hereby certifies that the proposed rule will not
have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined by SBRFEA.
Dated: June 9, 2008.
Charles L. Myers,
Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System.
[FR Doc. E813446 Filed 61608; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 341011P
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Mike Doran, Minerals and Geology Management Staff, (208) 3734132. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 18008778339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 18008778339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.