An authorized representative of the Secretary shall immediately order a cessation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations or of the relevant portion thereof, if he or she finds, on the basis of any Federal inspection, any condition or practice, or any violation of the Act, this chapter, any applicable program, or any condition of an exploration approval or permit imposed under any such program, the Act, or this chapter which:
Creates an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public; or
Is causing or can reasonably be expected to cause significant, imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources.
Surface coal mining operations conducted by any person without a valid surface coal mining permit constitute a condition or practice which causes or can reasonably be expected to cause significant imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources unless such operations:
Are an integral, uninterrupted extension of previously permitted operations, and the person conducting such operations has filed a timely and complete application for a permit to conduct such operations; or
Were conducted lawfully without a permit under the interim regulatory program because no permit has been required for such operations by the State in which the operations were conducted.
If the cessation ordered under paragraph (a)(1) of this section will not completely abate the imminent danger or harm in the most expeditious manner physically possible, the authorized representative of the Secretary shall impose affirmative obligations on the permittee to abate the imminent danger or significant environmental harm. The order shall specify the time by which abatement shall be accomplished.
When a notice of violation has been issued under § 843.12(a) and the permittee fails to abate the violation within the abatement period fixed or subsequently extended by the authorized representative, the authorized representative of the Secretary shall immediately order a cessation of coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operations, or of the portion relevant to the violation.
A cessation order issued under this paragraph (b) shall require the permittee to take all steps the authorized representative of the Secretary deems necessary to abate the violations covered by the order in the most expeditious manner physically possible.
A cessation order issued under paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section shall be in writing, signed by the authorized representative who issues it, and shall set forth with reasonable specificity: (1) The nature of the condition, practice or violation; (2) the remedial action or affirmative obligation required, if any, including interim steps, if appropriate; (3) the time established for abatement, if appropriate; and (4) a reasonable description of the portion of the coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operation to which it applies. The order shall remain in effect until the condition, practice or violation resulting in the issuance of the cessation order has been abated or until vacated, modified or terminated in writing by an authorized representative of the Secretary, or until the order expires pursuant to section 521(a)(5) of the Act and § 843.15.
Reclamation operations and other activities intended to protect public health and safety and the environment shall continue during the period of any order unless otherwise provided in the order.
An authorized representative of the Secretary may modify, terminate or vacate a cessation order for good cause, and may extend the time for abatement if the failure to abate within the time previously set was not caused by lack of diligence on the part of the permittee.
An authorized representative of the Secretary shall terminate a cessation order by written notice to the permittee when he or she determines that all conditions, practices or violations listed in the order have been abated. Termination shall not affect the right of the Office to assess civil penalties for those violations under part 845 of this chapter.
Within 60 days after issuing a cessation order, OSM will notify in writing the permittee, the operator, and any person who has been listed or identified by the applicant, permittee, or OSM as an owner or controller of the operation, as defined in § 701.5 of this chapter.
[47 FR 35637, Aug. 16, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 8992, Mar. 2, 1989; 54 FR 13823, Apr. 5, 1989; 62 FR 19461, Apr. 21, 1997; 65 FR 79670, Dec. 19, 2000]