Section 9-16-127

Acquisition and disposition of lands.

(a) The director, with the approval of the Secretary of Interior, may acquire title in the name of the state to any land or interest therein by purchase, donation, or condemnation if such land or interest is adversely affected by past coal mining practices and upon a determination that acquisition of such land is necessary to successful reclamation and that:

(1) The acquired land after restoration, reclamation, abatement, control or prevention of the adverse effects of past coal mining practices will serve recreation and historical purposes, conservation and reclamation purposes or provide open space benefits; and

(2) Permanent facilities such as a treatment plant or a relocated stream channel will be constructed on the land for restoration, reclamation, abatement, control or prevention of the adverse effects of past coal mining practices; or

(3) Acquisition of coal refuse disposal sites and all coal refuse thereon will serve the purpose of this article or that public ownership is desirable to meet emergency situations and prevent recurrences of the adverse effects of past coal mining practices.

(b) The director shall acquire only such land as is necessary for the reclamation work or the post reclamation use of the land and acquisition shall be limited by the scope of the project. The price paid for land acquired under this section shall reflect the fair market value of the land as adversely affected by past coal mining practices.

(c) In addition to the authority to acquire land under subsection (a) of this section the director with the approval of the Secretary of Interior, is authorized to use money in the fund to acquire land by purchase, donation, or condemnation, and to reclaim and transfer acquired land to the state or to a political subdivision thereof, or to any person, firm, association, or corporation, if he determines that such is an integral and necessary element of an economically feasible plan for the project to construct or rehabilitate housing for persons disabled as the result of employment in the mines or work incidental thereto, persons displaced by acquisition of land pursuant to this section, or persons dislocated as the result of adverse effects of coal mining practices which constitute an emergency as provided in Section 410 of Public Law 95-87 or persons dislocated as the result of natural disasters or catastrophic failures from any cause. Such activities shall be accomplished under such terms and conditions as the Secretary of Interior shall require, which may include transfers of land with or without monetary consideration: provided, that, to the extent that the consideration is below the fair market value of the land transferred, no portion of the difference between the fair market value and the consideration shall accrue as a profit to such persons, firm, association, or corporation. No part of the funds provided herein may be used to pay the actual construction costs of housing. The director, with approval of the Secretary of Interior, and with grants received for the purposes of this subsection may make grants and commitments for grants and may advance money under such terms and conditions as it may require to the state, or any department, agency, or instrumentality of the state, or any public body or nonprofit organization thereof.

(d) Where land acquired is deemed to be suitable for industrial, commercial, residential, or recreational development, the director, with the approval of the Secretary of Interior, may sell after appropriate public notice such land by public sale under a system of competitive bidding, in accordance with such regulations as the director shall prescribe, at not less than fair market value, and the director is to insure that such lands are put to proper use consistent with local, state or federal land use plan, if any, for the area in which the land is located.

The director, when requested and after appropriate notice, shall hold a public hearing in the county or counties or the appropriate subdivisions of the state in which lands acquired pursuant to this section are located. The hearings shall be held at a time which shall afford local citizens and governments the maximum opportunity to participate in the decision concerning the use or disposition of the lands after restoration, reclamation, abatement, control or prevention of the adverse effects of past coal mining practices.

(e) The director, with the approval of the Secretary of Interior, may transfer the administrative responsibility for land acquired under this section to any state, regional or local agency, department or institution with or without cost, upon such terms as will insure that the use of the land is consistent with the authorization under which the land was acquired.

(f) The director may receive grants from the Secretary of Interior when necessary to carry out provisions of this section.

(Acts 1981, No. 81-210, p. 254, §8.)