Section 9-16-83

Permits - Contents of application; reclamation plan; copy of application filed for public inspection; insurance; blasting plan.

(a) Each application for a surface coal mining reclamation permit under this article shall be accompanied by a fee as determined by the regulatory authority, but not to exceed the anticipated cost of reviewing, administering, and enforcing the permit. In no event shall the permit fee be less than one thousand dollars ($1,000). The regulatory authority shall develop procedures to enable the cost of the fee to be paid over the life of the mine. The life of the mine means the term of the permit and the time required to successfully complete all surface coal mining and reclamation activities and obtain a full release of the performance bond for each bonded area.

(b) The permit application shall be submitted in a format prescribed by and satisfactory to the regulatory authority and shall contain, among other things, all of the following:

(1) The names and addresses of each of the following:

a. The permit applicant.

b. Every legal owner of record of the property (surface and mineral) to be mined.

c. The holders of record of any leasehold interest in the property.

d. Any purchaser of record of the property under a real estate contract.

e. The operator if he or she is a person different from the applicant.

f. If any of these are business entities other than a single proprietor, the names and addresses of the principals, officers, and resident agent.

(2) The names and addresses of the owners of record of all surface and subsurface areas adjacent to any part of the permit area.

(3) A statement of any current or previous surface coal mining permits in the United States held by the applicant and the permit identification of each pending application.

(4) Any information which has changed from that submitted from the license application or renewal.

(5) A copy of the applicant's advertisement to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the proposed site at least once a week for four successive weeks, and which includes the ownership, a description of the exact location and boundaries of the proposed site sufficient so that the proposed operation may be located by local residents, and the location of where the application is available for public inspection.

(6) A description of the type and method of coal mining operation that exists or is proposed, the engineering techniques proposed or used, and the equipment used or proposed to be used.

(7) The anticipated or actual starting and termination dates of each phase of the mining operation and number of acres of land to be affected.

(8) The applicant shall file with the regulatory authority on an accurate map or plan, to an appropriate scale, prepared by or under the direction of and certified by a registered professional engineer or registered land surveyor clearly showing the land to be affected as of the date of the application, the area of land within the permit area upon which the applicant has the legal right to enter and commence surface mining operations and shall provide to the regulatory authority a statement of those documents upon which the applicant bases his or her legal right to enter and commence surface mining operations on the area affected and whether that right is the subject of pending court litigation. Nothing in this article shall be construed as vesting in the regulatory authority the jurisdiction to adjudicate property title disputes.

(9) The name of the watershed and location of the surface stream or tributary into which surface and pit drainage will be discharged.

(10) A determination of the probable hydrologic consequences of the mining and reclamation operations, both on and off the mine site, with respect to the hydrologic regime, quantity and quality of water in surface and ground water systems including the dissolved and suspended solids under seasonal flow conditions and the collection of sufficient data for the mining site and surrounding areas so that an assessment can be made by the regulatory authority of the probable cumulative impacts of all anticipated mining in the area upon the hydrology of the area and particularly upon water availability. This determination shall not be required until such time as hydrologic information on the general area prior to mining is made available from an appropriate federal or state agency and the permit shall not be approved until such information is available and is incorporated into the application.

(11) When requested by the regulatory authority, the climatological factors that are peculiar to the locality of the land to be affected, including the average seasonal precipitation, the average direction and velocity of prevailing winds, and the seasonal temperature ranges.

(12) Accurate maps to an appropriate scale prepared by or under the direction of and certified by a registered professional engineer or registered land surveyor clearly showing a. the land to be affected as of the date of application and b. all types of information set forth on topographical maps of the United States Geological Survey of a scale of 1:24,000 or 1:25,000 or larger, including all manmade features and significant known archeological sites existing on the date of application. The map or plan shall among other things specified by the regulatory authority show all boundaries of the land to be affected, the boundary lines and names of present owners of record of all surface areas abutting the permit area, and the location of all buildings within 1,000 feet of the permit area.

(13) Cross-section maps or plans of the land to be affected including the actual area to be mined, prepared by or under the direction of and certified by a. a qualified registered professional engineer, or b. a professional geologist with assistance from experts in related fields such as land surveying and landscape architecture, showing pertinent elevation and location of test borings or core samplings and depicting the following information: the nature and depth of the various strata of overburden; the location of sub-surface water, if encountered, and its quality; the nature and thickness of any coal or rider seam above the coal seam to be mined; the nature of the stratum immediately beneath the coal seam to be mined; all mineral crop lines and the strike and dip of the coal to be mined, within the area of land to be affected; existing or previous surface mining limits; the location and extent of known workings of any underground mines, including mine openings to the surface; the location of aquifers; the estimated elevation of the water table; the location of spoil, waste, or refuse areas and topsoil preservation areas; the location of all impoundments for waste or erosion control; any settling or water treatment facility; constructed or natural drainways and the location of any discharges to any surface body of water on the area of land to be affected or adjacent thereto; and profiles at appropriate cross sections of the anticipated final surface configuration that will be achieved pursuant to the operator's proposed reclamation plan.

(14) A statement of the result of the test borings or core samplings from the permit area, including logs of the drill holes; the thickness of the coal seam found, an analysis of the chemical properties of such coal; the sulfur content of any coal seam; chemical analysis of potentially acid or toxic forming sections of the overburden; and chemical analysis of the stratum lying immediately underneath the coal to be mined except that the provisions of this subdivision may be waived by the regulatory authority with respect to the specific application by a written determination that such requirements are unnecessary.

(15) For those lands in the permit application which a reconnaissance inspection suggests may be prime farm lands, a soil survey shall be made or obtained according to standards established by the Secretary of Agriculture in order to confirm the exact location of such prime farm lands, if any.

(16) Information pertaining to coal seams, test borings, core samplings, or soil samples as required by this section shall be made available to any person with an interest which is or may be adversely affected; provided, that information which pertains only to the analysis of the chemical and physical properties of the coal (excepting information regarding such mineral or elemental content which is potentially toxic in the environment) shall be kept confidential and not made a matter of public record.

(c)(1) If the regulatory authority finds that the probable total annual production at all locations of any surface coal mining operator will not exceed 300,000 tons, the cost of the following activities, which shall be performed by a qualified public or private laboratory or such other public or private qualified entity designated by the regulatory authority, shall be assumed by the regulatory authority upon the written request of the operator in connection with a permit application, provided that funds are made available to the regulatory authority for such purposes by the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior:

a. The determination of probable hydrologic consequences required by subdivision (10) of subsection (b), including the engineering analyses and designs necessary for the determination.

b. The development of cross-section maps and plans required by subdivision (13) of subsection (b).

c. The geologic drilling and statement of results of test borings and core samplings required by subdivision (14) of subsection (b).

d. The collection of archaeological information required by subdivision (12) of subsection (b) and any other archaeological and historical information required by the regulatory authority, and the preparation of plans necessitated thereby.

e. Pre-blast surveys required by paragraph e. of subdivision (15) of subsection (b) of Section 9-16-90.

f. The collection of site-specific resource information and production of protection and enhancement plans for fish and wildlife habitats and other environmental values required by the regulatory authority under this article.

(2) The regulatory authority shall provide or assume the cost of training coal operators that meet the qualifications stated in subdivision (1) concerning the preparation of permit applications and compliance with the regulatory program, and shall ensure that qualified coal operators are aware of the assistance available under this subsection. Funds for such purposes shall be made available to the regulatory authority by the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior.

(d) Each applicant for a permit shall be required to submit to the regulatory authority as part of the permit application a reclamation plan which shall meet the requirements of this article.

(e) Each applicant for a surface coal mining and reclamation permit shall file a copy of his or her application for public inspection with the recorder at the courthouse of the county or an appropriate public office approved by the regulatory authority where the mining is proposed to occur, except for that information pertaining to the coal seam itself.

(f) Each applicant for a permit shall be required to submit to the regulatory authority as part of the permit application a certificate issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in the state certifying that the applicant has a public liability insurance policy in force for the surface mining and reclamation operations for which such permit is sought, or evidence that the applicant has satisfied other state self-insurance requirements. The policy shall provide for personal injury and property damage protection in an amount adequate to compensate any persons damaged as a result of surface coal mining and reclamation operations including use of explosives and entitled to compensation under the applicable provisions of state law. The policy shall be maintained in full force and effect during the terms of the permit or any renewal, including the length of all reclamation operations.

(g) Each applicant for a surface coal mining and reclamation permit shall submit to the regulatory authority as part of the permit application a blasting plan which shall outline the procedures and standards by which the operator will meet the provisions of subdivision (15) of subsection (b) of Section 9-16-90.

(h) A coal operator that has received assistance pursuant to subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (c) shall reimburse the regulatory authority for the cost of the services rendered if the program administrator finds that the operator's actual and attributed annual production of coal for all locations exceeds 300,000 tons during the 12 months immediately following the date on which the operator is issued the surface coal mining and reclamation permit.

(Acts 1981, No. 81-435, p. 682, §15; Act 98-140, p. 212, §3; Act 2017-394, §1.)