3461.2-1 Assessment and land use planning.§ 3461.2-1 Assessment and land use planning.
(a)(1) Each of the unsuitability criteria shall be applied to all coal lands with development potential identified in the comprehensive land use plan or land use analysis. For areas where 1 or more unsuitability conditions are found and for which the authorized officer of the surface management agency could otherwise regard coal mining as a likely use, the exceptions and exemptions for each criterion may be applied.
(2) Public comments on the application of the unsuitability criteria shall be solicited by a notice published in the Federal Register. This call for comments may be part of the call for public comments on the draft land-use plan or land-use analysis. This notice shall announce the availability of maps and other information describing the results of the application and the application process used.
(3) The authorized officer of the surface management agency shall describe in the comprehensive land use plan or land use analysis the results of the application of each unsuitability criterion, exception and exemption. The authorized officer of the surface management agency shall state in the plan or analysis those areas which could be leased only subject to conditions or stipulations to conform to the application of the criteria or exceptions. Such areas may ultimately be leased provided that these conditions or stipulations are contained in the lease.
(b)(1) The authorized officer shall make his/her assessment on the best available data that can be obtained given the time and resources available to prepare the plan. The comprehensive land use plan or land use analysis shall include an indication of the adequacy and reliability of the data involved. Where either a criterion or exception (when under paragraph (a) of this section the authorized officer decides that application of an exception is appropriate) cannot be applied during the land use planning process because of inadequate or unreliable data, the plan or analysis shall discuss the reasons therefor and disclose when the data needed to make an assessment with reasonable certainty would be generated. It the case of Criterion 19, application shall be made before approval of the mining permit. In the case of other deferred criteria, application shall be made prior to finalizing the environmental analysis for the area being studied for coal leasing. The authorized officer shall make every effort within the time and resources available to collect adequate and reliable data which would permit the application of Criterion 19 in the land use or activity planning process. When those data are obtained, the authorized officer shall make public his/her assessment on the application of the criterion or, if appropriate, the exception and the reasons therefor and allow opportunity for public comment on the adequacy of the application as required by paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
(2) No lease tract shall be analyzed in a final regional lease sale environmental impact statement prepared under § 3420.4-5 of this title without significant data material to the application to the tract of each criterion described in § 3461.1 of this title, except, where necessary, criterion 19. If the data are lacking for the application of a criterion or exception to only a portion of the tract, and if the authorized officer determines that it is likely that stipulations in the lease or permit to conduct surface coal mining operations could avoid any problems which may result from subsequent application of the criterion or exception, such tract may be included and analyzed in the regional lease sale environmental impact statement.
(c) Any unsuitability assessments which result either from a designation or a termination of a designation of Federal lands as unsuitable by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, or from changes warranted by additional data acquired in the activity planning process, may be made without formally revising or amending the comprehensive land use plan or analysis.[44 FR 42638, July 19, 1979, as amended at 47 FR 33149, July 30, 1982; 51 FR 18888, May 23, 1986. Redesignated and amended at 52 FR 46473, Dec. 8, 1987]