30 CFR 701.5 - Definitions.

§ 701.5 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms have the specified meanings, except where otherwise indicated:

Acid drainage or acid mine drainage means water with a pH of less than 6.0 and in which total acidity exceeds total alkalinity that is discharged from an active, inactive, or abandoned surface coal mining and reclamation operation or from an area affected by surface coal mining and reclamation operations.

Acid-forming materials means earth materials that contain sulfide minerals or other materials which, if exposed to air, water, or weathering processes, form acids that may create acid drainage.

Adjacent area means -

(1)Basic definition for all operations and all resources.

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (1)(ii) of this definition, the adjacent area includes those areas outside the proposed or actual permit area within which there is a reasonable probability of adverse impacts from surface coal mining operations or underground mining activities, as determined by the regulatory authority. The area covered by this term will vary with the context in which a regulation uses this term; i.e., the nature of the resource or resources addressed by a regulation in which the term “adjacent area” appears will determine the size and other dimensions of the adjacent area for purposes of that regulation.

(ii) In the context of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1531et seq., the term adjacent area includes those areas outside the proposed or actual permit area where surface coal mining operations or underground mining activities may affect a species listed or proposed for listing as endangered or threatened under that Act or designated or proposed critical habitat under that Act.

(2)Underground mines. For underground mines, the adjacent area includes, at a minimum, the area overlying the underground workings plus the area within a reasonable angle of dewatering from the perimeter of the underground workings.

(3)Underground mine pools. For all operations, the adjacent area also includes the area that might be affected physically or hydrologically by the dewatering of existing mine pools as part of surface or underground mining operations, plus the area that might be affected physically or hydrologically by mine pools that develop after cessation of mining activities.

Administratively complete application means an application for permit approval or approval for coal exploration where required, which the regulatory authority determines to contain information addressing each application requirement of the regulatory program and to contain all information necessary to initiate processing and public review.

Affected area means any land or water surface area which is used to facilitate, or is physically altered by, surface coal mining and reclamation operations. The affected area includes the disturbed area; any area upon which surface coal mining and reclamation operations are conducted; any adjacent lands the use of which is incidental to surface coal mining and reclamation operations; all areas covered by new or existing roads used to gain access to, or for hauling coal to or from, surface coal mining and reclamation operations, except as provided in this definition; any area covered by surface excavations, workings, impoundments, dams, ventilation shafts, entryways, refuse banks, dumps, stockpiles, overburden piles, spoil banks, culm banks, tailings, holes or depressions, repair areas, storage areas, shipping areas; any areas upon which are sited structures, facilities, or other property material on the surface resulting from, or incident to, surface coal mining and reclamation operations; and the area located above underground workings. The affected area shall include every road used for purposes of access to, or for hauling coal to or from, surface coal mining and reclamation operations, unless the road (a) was designated as a public road pursuant to the laws of the jurisdiction in which it is located; (b) is maintained with public funds, and constructed, in a manner similar to other public roads of the same classification within the jurisdiction; and (c) there is substantial (more than incidental) public use.

Agricultural activities means, with respect to alluvial valley floors, the use of any tract of land for the production of animal or vegetable life, based on regional agricultural practices, where the use is enhanced or facilitated by subirrigation or flood irrigation. These uses include, but are not limited to, farming and the pasturing or grazing of livestock. These uses do not include agricultural activities which have no relationship to the availability of water from subirrigation or flood irrigation practices.

Agricultural use means the use of any tract of land for the production of animal or vegetable life. The uses include, but are not limited to, the pasturing, grazing, and watering of livestock, and the cropping, cultivation, and harvesting of plants.

Alluvial valley floors means the unconsolidated stream-laid deposits holding streams with water availability sufficient for subirrigation or flood irrigation agricultural activities but does not include upland areas which are generally overlain by a thin veneer of colluvial deposits composed chiefly of debris from sheet erosion, deposits formed by unconcentrated runoff or slope wash, together with talus, or other mass-movement accumulations, and windblown deposits.

Angle of dewatering means the angle created from a vertical line drawn from the outer edge or boundary of high-extraction underground mining workings and an oblique line drawn from terminus of the vertical line at the mine floor to the farthest expected extent that the mining will cause dewatering of groundwater or surface water.

Applicant means any person seeking a permit, permit revision, renewal, and transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights from a regulatory authority to conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations or, where required, seeking approval for coal exploration.

Applicant/Violator System or AVS means an automated information system of applicant, permittee, operator, violation and related data OSM maintains to assist in implementing the Act.

Application means the documents and other information filed with the regulatory authority under this chapter for the issuance of permits; revisions; renewals; and transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights for surface coal mining and reclamation operations or, where required, for coal exploration.

Approximate original contour means that surface configuration achieved by backfilling and grading of the mined area so that the reclaimed area closely resembles the general surface configuration of the land within the permit area prior to any mining activities or related disturbances and blends into and complements the drainage pattern of the surrounding terrain. All highwalls and spoil piles must be eliminated to meet the terms of the definition, but that requirement does not prohibit the approval of terracing under § 816.102 or § 817.102 of this chapter, the retention of access roads in accordance with § 816.150 or § 817.151 of this chapter, or the approval of permanent water impoundments that comply with §§ 816.49, 816.55, and 780.24(b) or §§ 817.49, 817.55, and 784.24(b) of this chapter. For purposes of this definition, the term “mined area” does not include excess spoil fills and coal refuse piles.

Aquifer means a zone, stratum, or group of strata that can store and transmit water in sufficient quantities for a specific use.

Arid and semiarid area means, in the context of alluvial valley floors, an area of the interior western United States, west of the 100th meridian west longitude, experiencing water deficits, where water use by native vegetation equals or exceeds that supplied by precipitation. All coalfields located in North Dakota west of the 100th meridian west longitude, all coalfields in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona, the Eagle Pass field in Texas, and the Stone Canyon and the Ione fields in California are in arid and semiarid areas.

Auger mining means a method of mining coal at a cliff or highwall by drilling holes into an exposed coal seam from the highwall and transporting the coal along an auger bit to the surface.

Backfill, when used as a noun, means the spoil and waste materials used to fill the void resulting from an excavation created for the purpose of extracting coal from the earth. When used as a verb, the term refers to the process of filling that void. The term also includes all spoil and waste materials used to restore the approximate original contour.

Bankfull stage means the water level at which a stream, river, or lake begins to overflow its natural banks and enter the active floodplain, with the exception of an entrenched stream, river, or lake, in which case bankfull stage is the highest scour line, bench, or top of the point bar.

Best technology currently available means equipment, devices, systems, methods, or techniques which will (a) prevent, to the extent possible, additional contributions of suspended solids to stream flow or runoff outside the permit area, but in no event result in contributions of suspended solids in excess of requirements set by applicable State or Federal laws; and (b) minimize, to the extent possible, disturbances and adverse impacts on fish, wildlife and related environmental values, and achieve enhancement of those resources where practicable. The term includes equipment, devices, systems, methods, or techniques which are currently available anywhere as determined by the Director, even if they are not in routine use. The term includes, but is not limited to, construction practices, siting requirements, vegetative selection and planting requirements, animal stocking requirements, scheduling of activities and design of sedimentation ponds in accordance with 30 CFR parts 816 and 817.. Within the constraints of the permanent program, the regulatory authority shall have the discretion to determine the best technology currently available on a case-by-case basis, as authorized by the Act and this chapter.

Biological condition refers to the type, diversity, distribution, and abundance of aquatic organisms and communities found in surface water bodies, including streams.

Coal exploration means the field gathering of: (a) surface or subsurface geologic, physical, or chemical data by mapping, trenching, drilling, geophysical, or other techniques necessary to determine the quality and quantity of overburden and coal of an area; or (b) the gathering of environmental data to establish the conditions of an area before beginning surface coal mining and reclamation operations under the requirements of this chapter.

Coal mine waste means coal processing waste and underground development waste.

Coal preparation means chemical or physical processing and the cleaning, concentrating, or other processing or preparation of coal.

Coal preparation plant means a facility where coal is subjected to chemical or physical processing or cleaning, concentrating, or other processing or preparation. It includes facilities associated with coal preparation activities, including, but not limited to the following: loading facilities; storage and stockpile facilities; sheds; shops, and other buildings; water-treatment and water-storage facilities; settling basins and impoundments; and coal processing and other waste disposal areas.

Coal processing waste means earth materials which are separated and wasted from the product coal during cleaning, concentrating, or other processing or preparation of coal.

Combustible material means organic material that is capable of burning, either by fire or through oxidation, accompanied by the evolution of heat and a significant temperature rise.

Compaction means increasing the density of a material by reducing the voids between the particles and is generally accomplished by controlled placement and mechanical effort such as from repeated application of wheel, track, or roller loads from heavy equipment.

Complete and accurate application means an application for permit approval or approval for coal exploration where required, which the regulatory authority determines to contain all information required under the Act, this subchapter, and the regulatory program that is necessary to make a decision on permit issuance.

Control or controller, when used in parts 773, 774, and 778 of this chapter, refers to or means -

(a) A permittee of a surface coal mining operation;

(b) An operator of a surface coal mining operation; or

(c) Any person who has the ability to determine the manner in which a surface coal mining operation is conducted.

Cropland means land used for the production of adapted crops for harvest, alone or in a rotation with grasses and legumes, and includes row crops, small grain crops, hay crops, nursery crops, orchard crops, and other similar specialty crops.

Cumulative impact area means an area that includes the -

(1) Actual or proposed permit area.

(2) HUC-12 (U.S. Geological Survey 12-digit Watershed Boundary Dataset) watershed or watersheds in which the actual or proposed permit area is located or a differently-sized watershed adequate for purposes of preparation of the cumulative hydrologic impact assessment, as determined by the regulatory authority.

(3) Any other area within which impacts resulting from an actual or proposed surface or underground coal mining operation may interact with the impacts of all existing and anticipated surface and underground coal mining on surface-water and groundwater systems, including the impacts that existing and anticipated mining will have during mining and reclamation until final bond release. At a minimum, existing and anticipated mining must include:

(i) The proposed operation;

(ii) All existing surface and underground coal mining operations;

(iii) Any proposed surface or underground coal mining operation for which a permit application has been submitted to the regulatory authority;

(iv) Any proposed surface or underground coal mining operation for which a request for an authorization, certification, or permit has been submitted under the Clean Water Act; and

(v) All existing and proposed coal mining operations that are required to meet diligent development requirements for leased federal coal and for which a resource recovery and protection plan has been either approved or submitted to and reviewed by the authorized officer of the Bureau of Land Management under 43 CFR 3482.1(b).

Disturbed area means an area where vegetation, topsoil, or overburden is removed or upon which topsoil, spoil, coal processing waste, underground development waste, or noncoal waste is placed by surface coal mining operations. Those areas are classified as disturbed until reclamation is complete and the performance bond or other assurance of performance required by subchapter J of this chapter is released.

Diversion means a channel, embankment, or other manmade structure constructed to divert water from one area to another.

Downslope means the land surface between the projected outcrop of the lowest coalbed being mined along each highwall and a valley floor.

Drinking, domestic or residential water supply means water received from a well or spring and any appurtenant delivery system that provides water for direct human consumption or household use. Wells and springs that serve only agricultural, commercial or industrial enterprises are not included except to the extent the water supply is for direct human consumption or human sanitation, or domestic use.

Ecological function of a stream means the species richness, diversity, and extent of plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, mammals, and other organisms for which the stream provides habitat, food, water, or shelter. The biological condition of a stream is one way to describe its ecological function.

Embankment means an artificial deposit of material that is raised above the natural surface of the land and used to contain, divert, or store water, support roads or railways, or for other similar purposes.

Ephemeral stream means a stream or part of a stream that has flowing water only during, and for a short duration after, precipitation and snowmelt events in a typical year. Ephemeral streams include only those conveyances with channels that display both a bed-and-bank configuration and an ordinary high water mark, and that have streambeds located above the water table year-round. Groundwater is not a source of water for streamflow. Runoff from rainfall events and snowmelt is the primary source of water for streamflow.

Essential hydrologic functions means the role of an alluvial valley floor in collecting, storing, regulating, and making the natural flow of surface or ground water, or both, usefully available for agricultural activities by reason of the valley floor's topographic position, the landscape, and the physical properties of its underlying materials. A combination of these functions provides a water supply during extended periods of low precipitation.

Excess spoil means spoil material permanently disposed of within the permit area in a location other than the mined-out area. This term also includes all spoil material placed on the mined-out area in excess of the amount necessary to restore the approximate original contour when the spoil placement is part of an excess spoil fill with a toe located outside the mined-out area. This term does not include -

(1) Spoil used to restore the approximate original contour;

(2) Spoil used to blend the final configuration of the mined-out area with the surrounding terrain in non-steep slope areas in accordance with § 816.102(b)(3) or § 817.102(b)(2) of this chapter;

(3) Spoil placed outside the mined-out area as part of a remining operation under § 816.106 or § 817.106 of this chapter;

(4) Spoil placed within the mined-out area in accordance with the thick overburden provisions of § 816.105(b)(1) of this chapter, with the exception of spoil material placed on the mined-out area as part of an excess spoil fill with a toe located outside the mined-out area; or

(5) Any temporary stockpile of material that will be subsequently transported to another location.

Existing structure means a structure or facility used in connection with or to facilitate surface coal mining and reclamation operations for which construction begins prior to the approval of a State program or implementation of a Federal program or Federal lands program, whichever occurs first.

Farming means, with respect to alluvial valley floors, the primary use of those areas for the cultivation, cropping or harvesting of plants which benefit from irrigation, or natural subirrigation, that results from the increased moisture content in the alluvium of the valley floors. For purposes of this definition, harvesting does not include the grazing of livestock.

Federal program means a program established by the Secretary pursuant to section 504 of the Act to regulate coal exploration and surface coal mining and reclamation operations on non-Federal and non-Indian lands within a State in accordance with the Act and this chapter.

(a)Complete Federal program means a program established by the Secretary pursuant to section 504 of the Act before June 3, 1980, or upon the complete withdrawal of a State program after June 3, 1980, by which the Director regulates all coal exploration and surface coal mining and reclamation operations.

(b)Partial Federal program means a program established by the Secretary pursuant to sections 102, 201 and 504 of the Act upon the partial withdrawal of a State program, by which the Director may regulate appropriate portions of coal exploration and surface coal mining and reclamation operations.

Fill means a permanent, non-impounding structure constructed under §§ 816.71 through 816.83 or §§ 817.71 through 817.83 of this chapter for the purpose of disposing of excess spoil or coal mine waste generated by surface coal mining operations or underground mining activities.

Flood irrigation means, with respect to alluvial valley floors, supplying water to plants by natural overflow or the diversion of flows, so that the irrigated surface is largely covered by a sheet of water.

Form, as used in §§ 780.28, 784.28, 800.42, 816.57, and 817.57 of this chapter, means the physical characteristics, pattern, profile, and dimensions of a stream channel. The term includes, but is not limited to, the ratio of the flood-prone area to the bankfull width (entrenchment), the ratio of the channel width to channel depth, channel slope, sinuosity, bankfull depth, dominant in-stream substrate particle size, and capacity for riffles and pools.

Gravity discharge means, with respect to underground mining activities, mine drainage that flows freely in an open channel downgradient. Mine drainage that occurs as a result of flooding a mine to the level of the discharge is not gravity discharge.

Ground cover means the area of ground covered by the combined aerial parts of vegetation and the litter that is produced naturally onsite, expressed as a percentage of the total area of measurement.

Groundwater means subsurface water located in soils and geologic formations that are fully saturated with water, including regional, local, and perched aquifers. This term does not include water in soil horizons that are temporarily saturated by precipitation events.

Half-shrub means a perennial plant with a woody base whose annually produced stems die back each year.

Head-of-hollow fill means a fill structure consisting of any material, other than organic material, placed in the uppermost reaches of a hollow where side slopes of the existing hollow, measured at the steepest point, are greater than 20 degrees or the average slope of the profile of the hollow from the toe of the fill to the top of the fill is greater than 10 degrees. In head-of-hollow fills the top surface of the fill, when completed, is at approximately the same elevation as the adjacent ridge line, and no significant area of natural drainage occurs above the fill draining into the fill area.

Higher or better uses means postmining land uses that have a higher economic value or nonmonetary benefit to the landowner or the community than the premining land uses.

Highwall means the face of exposed overburden and coal in an open cut of a surface coal mining activity or for entry to underground mining activities.

Historically used for cropland means (a) lands that have been used for cropland for any 5 years or more out of the 10 years immediately preceding the acquisition, including purchase, lease, or option, of the land for the purpose of conducting or allowing through resale, lease or option the conduct of surface coal mining and reclamation operations; (b) lands that the regulatory authority determines, on the basis of additional cropland history of the surrounding lands and the lands under consideration, that the permit area is clearly cropland but falls outside the specific 5-years-in-10 criterion, in which case the regulations for prime farmland may be applied to include more years of cropland history only to increase the prime farmland acreage to be preserved; or (c) lands that would likely have been used as cropland for any 5 out of the last 10 years, immediately preceding such acquisition but for the same fact of ownership or control of the land unrelated to the productivity of the land.

Hydrologic balance means the relationship between the quality and quantity of water inflow to, water outflow from, and water storage in a hydrologic unit such as a drainage basin, aquifer, soil zone, lake, or reservoir. It encompasses the dynamic relationships among precipitation, runoff, evaporation, and changes in storage of groundwater and surface water, as well as interactions that result in changes in the chemical composition or physical characteristics of groundwater and surface water.

Hydrologic function, as used in §§ 780.28, 784.28, 800.42, 816.57, and 817.57 of this chapter, means the role that streams play in the transport of water and the flow of water within the stream channel and floodplain. The term includes total flow volume, seasonal variations in streamflow and base flow, and provision of the water needed to maintain floodplains and wetlands associated with the stream.

Hydrologic regime means the entire state of water movement in a given area. It is a function of the climate and includes the phenomena by which water first occurs as atmospheric water vapor, passes into a liquid or solid form, falls as precipitation, moves along or into the ground surface, and returns to the atmosphere as vapor by means of evaporation and transpiration.

Imminent danger to the health and safety of the public means the existence of any condition or practice, or any violation of a permit or other requirements of the Act in a surface coal mining and reclamation operation, which could reasonably be expected to cause substantial physical harm to persons outside the permit area before the condition, practice, or violation can be abated. A reasonable expectation of death or serious injury before abatement exists if a rational person, subjected to the same condition or practice giving rise to the peril, would avoid exposure to the danger during the time necessary for abatement.

Impounding structure means a dam, embankment or other structure used to impound water, slurry, or other liquid or semi-liquid material.

Impoundments means all water, sediment, slurry or other liquid or semi-liquid holding structures and depressions, either naturally formed or artificially built.

In situ processes means activities conducted on the surface or underground in connection with in-place distillation, retorting, leaching, or other chemical or physical processing of coal. The term includes, but is not limited to, in situ gasification, in situ leaching, slurry mining, solution mining, borehole mining, and fluid recovery mining.

Intermittent stream means a stream or part of a stream that has flowing water during certain times of the year when groundwater provides water for streamflow. The water table is located above the streambed for only part of the year, which means that intermittent streams may not have flowing water during dry periods. Runoff from rainfall events and snowmelt is a supplemental source of water for streamflow. Intermittent streams include only those conveyances with channels that display both a bed-and-bank configuration and an ordinary high water mark.

Invasive species means an alien species (a species that is not native to the region or area), the introduction of which has caused or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Irreparable damage to the environment means any damage to the environment, in violation of the Act, the regulatory program, or this chapter, that cannot be corrected by actions of the applicant.

Knowing or knowingly means that a person who authorized, ordered, or carried out an act or omission knew or had reason to know that the act or omission would result in either a violation or a failure to abate or correct a violation.

Land use means specific uses or management-related activities, rather than the vegetation or cover of the land. Land uses may be identified in combination when joint or seasonal uses occur. Each land use category includes land used for facilities that support the land use. For purposes of this chapter, the following land use categories apply:

(1)Cropland. Land used for the production of crops for harvest, either alone or in rotation with grasses and legumes. Crops include row crops, small grains, hay, commercial nursery plantings, vegetables, fruits, nuts, crops, and other plants typically cultivated for commercial purposes in fields, orchards, vineyards, and similar settings.

(2)Pastureland or land occasionally cut for hay. Land used primarily for the long-term production of adapted, domesticated forage plants to be grazed by livestock or occasionally cut and cured for livestock feed.

(3)Grazing land. Land used for grasslands and forest lands where the indigenous vegetation is actively managed for grazing, browsing, or occasional hay production.

(4)Forestry. Land used or managed for the long-term production of wood, wood fiber, or wood-derived products.

(5)Residential. Land used for single-and multiple-family housing, mobile home parks, or other residential lodgings.

(6)Industrial/Commercial. Land used for -

(i) Extraction or transformation of materials for fabrication of products, wholesaling of products, or long-term storage of products. This includes all heavy and light manufacturing facilities.

(ii) Retail or trade of goods or services, including hotels, motels, stores, restaurants, and other commercial establishments.

(7)Recreation. Land used for public or private leisure-time activities, including developed recreation facilities such as parks, camps, and amusement areas, as well as areas for less intensive uses such as hiking, canoeing, and other undeveloped recreational uses.

(8)Fish and wildlife habitat. Land dedicated wholly or partially to the production, protection, or management of species of fish or wildlife.

(9)Developed water resources. Land used for storing water for beneficial uses, such as stock ponds, irrigation, fire protection, flood control, and water supply.

(10)Undeveloped land or no current use or land management. Land that is undeveloped or, if previously developed, land that has been allowed to return naturally to an undeveloped state or has been allowed to return to forest through natural succession.

Lands eligible for remining means those lands that would otherwise be eligible for expenditures under section 404 or under section 402(g)(4) of the Act.

Material damage, in the context of §§ 784.30 and 817.121 of this chapter, which pertain to subsidence from underground mining operations, means:

(1) Any functional impairment of surface lands, surface features (including wetlands, streams, and bodies of water), structures, or facilities;

(2) Any physical change that -

(i) Has a significant adverse impact on the affected land's capability to support any current or reasonably foreseeable uses; or

(ii) Causes a significant loss in production or income; or

(3) Any significant change in the condition, appearance, or utility of any structure or facility from its pre-subsidence condition.

Material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area means an adverse impact, as determined in accordance with the rest of this definition, resulting from surface coal mining and reclamation operations, underground mining activities, or subsidence associated with underground mining activities, on the quality or quantity of surface water or groundwater, or on the biological condition of a perennial or intermittent stream. The determination of whether an adverse impact constitutes material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area will be based on consideration of the baseline data collected under § 780.19 or § 784.19 of this chapter and the following reasonably anticipated or actual effects of the operation:

(1) For a surface water located outside the permit area, effects that cause or contribute to a violation of applicable state or tribal water quality standards, including, but not limited to, state or tribal water quality standards established under section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1313(c), or, for a surface water for which water quality standards have not been established, effects that cause or contribute to non-attainment of any premining use of that surface water outside the permit area;

(2) Effects that cause or contribute to a violation of applicable state or tribal water quality standards for groundwater located outside the permit area, or effects that preclude a premining use of groundwater located outside the permit area; or

(3) Effects that result in a violation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1531et seq.

Materially damage the quantity or quality of water means, with respect to alluvial valley floors, to degrade or reduce by surface coal mining and reclamation operations the water quantity or quality supplied to the alluvial valley floor to the extent that resulting changes would signficantly decrease the capability of the alluvial valley floor to support farming.

MSHA means the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Moist bulk density means the weight of soil (oven dry) per unit volume. Volume is measured when the soil is at field moisture capacity (1/3 bar moisture tension). Weight is determined after drying the soil at 105 °C.

Mulch means vegetation residues or other suitable materials that aid in soil stabilization and soil moisture conservation, thus providing micro-climatic conditions suitable for germination and growth.

Native species means, with respect to a particular ecosystem, a species that historically occurred or currently occurs in that ecosystem. This term does not include alien species that occur in that ecosystem or species introduced to that ecosystem.

Non-commercial building means any building, other than an occupied residential dwelling, that, at the time the subsidence occurs, is used on a regular or temporary basis as a public building or community or institutional building as those terms are defined in § 761.5 of this chapter. Any building used only for commercial agricultural, industrial, retail or other commercial enterprises is excluded.

Noxious plants means species that have been included on official State lists of noxious plants for the State in which the surface coal mining and reclamation operation occurs.

Occupied residential dwelling and structures related thereto means, for purposes of §§ 784.30 and 817.121 of this chapter, any building or other structure that, at the time the subsidence occurs, is used either temporarily, occasionally, seasonally, or permanently for human habitation. This term also includes any building, structure, or facility installed on, above, or below the land surface if that building, structure, or facility is adjunct to or used in connection with an occupied residential dwelling. Examples of such structures include, but are not limited to, garages; storage sheds and barns; greenhouses and related buildings; utilities and cables; fences and other enclosures; retaining walls; paved or improved patios, walks and driveways; septic sewage treatment facilities; and lot drainage and lawn and garden irrigation systems. This term does not include any structure used only for commercial agricultural, industrial, retail or other commercial purposes.

Operator means any person engaged in coal mining who removes or intends to remove more than 250 tons of coal from the earth or from coal refuse piles by mining within 12 consecutive calendar months in any one location.

Ordinary high water mark means that line on the bank established by the fluctuations of water and indicated by physical characteristics such as a clear, natural line impressed on the bank, shelving, changes in the character of soil, destruction of terrestrial vegetation, the presence of litter and debris, or other appropriate means that consider the characteristics of the surrounding areas.

Other treatment facilities mean any chemical treatments, such as flocculation or neutralization, or mechanical structures, such as clarifiers or precipitators, that have a point source discharge and are utilized:

(a) To prevent additional contributions of dissolved or suspended solids to streamflow or runoff outside the permit area, or

(b) To comply with all applicable State and Federal water-quality laws and regulations.

Outslope means the face of the spoil or embankment sloping downward from the highest elevation to the toe.

Overburden means material of any nature, consolidated or unconsolidated, that overlies a coal deposit, excluding topsoil.

Own, owner, or ownership, as used in parts 773, 774, and 778 of this chapter (except when used in the context of ownership of real property), means being a sole proprietor or owning of record in excess of 50 percent of the voting securities or other instruments of ownership of an entity.

Parameters of concern means those chemical or physical characteristics and properties of surface water or groundwater that could be altered by surface or underground mining activities, including discharges associated with those activities, in a manner that would adversely impact the quality of groundwater or surface water, including adverse impacts on aquatic life.

Perennial stream means a stream or part of a stream that has flowing water year-round during a typical year. The water table is located above the streambed for most of the year. Groundwater is the primary source of water for streamflow. Runoff from rainfall events and snowmelt is a supplemental source of water for streamflow. Perennial streams include only those conveyances with channels that display both a bed-and-bank configuration and an ordinary high water mark.

Performance bond means a surety bond, collateral bond or self-bond or a combination thereof, by which a permittee assures faithful performance of all the requirements of the Act, this chapter, a State, Federal or Federal lands program, and the requirements of the permit and reclamation plan.

Permanent diversion means a diversion remaining after surface coal mining and reclamation operations are completed which has been approved for retention by the regulatory authority and other appropriate State and Federal agencies.

Permanent impoundment means an impoundment which is approved by the regulatory authority and, if required, by other State and Federal agencies for retention as part of the postmining land use.

Permit means a permit to conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations issued by the State regulatory authority pursuant to a State program or by the Secretary pursuant to a Federal program. For purposes of the Federal lands program, permit means a permit issued by the State regulatory authority under a cooperative agreement or by OSM where there is no cooperative agreement.

Permit area means the area of land, indicated on the approved map submitted by the operator with his or her application, required to be covered by the operator's performance bond under subchapter J of this chapter and which shall include the area of land upon which the operator proposes to conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations under the permit, including all disturbed areas; provided that areas adequately bonded under another valid permit may be excluded from the permit area.

Permittee means a person holding or required by the Act or this chapter to hold a permit to conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations issued by a State regulatory authority pursuant to a State program, by the Director pursuant to a Federal program, by the Director pursuant to a Federal lands program, or, where a cooperative agreement pursuant to section 523 of the Act has been executed, by the Director and the State regulatory authority.

Precipitation event means a quantity of water resulting from drizzle, rain, snow, sleet, or hail in a limited period of time. It may be expressed in terms of recurrence interval. As used in these regulations, precipitation event also includes that quantity of water emanating from snow cover as snowmelt in a limited period of time.

Premining refers to the conditions and features that exist on a site at the time of application for a permit to conduct surface coal mining operations.

Previously mined area means land affected by surface coal mining operations prior to August 3, 1977, that has not been reclaimed to the standards of 30 CFR chapter VII.

Prime farmland means those lands which are defined by the Secretary of Agriculture in 7 CFR part 657 (Federal Register Vol. 4 No. 21) and which have historically been used for cropland as that phrase is defined above.

Principal shareholder means any person who is the record or beneficial owner of 10 percent or more of any class of voting stock.

Property to be mined means both the surface estates and mineral estates within the permit area and the area covered by underground workings.

Rangeland means land on which the natural potential (climax) plant cover is principally native grasses, forbs, and shrubs valuable for forage. This land includes natural grasslands and savannahs, such as prairies, and juniper savannahs, such as brushlands. Except for brush control, management is primarily achieved by regulating the intensity of grazing and season of use.

Reasonably available spoil means spoil and suitable coal mine waste material generated by the remining operation or other spoil or suitable coal mine waste material located in the permit area that is accessible and available for use and that when rehandled will not cause a hazard to public safety or significant damage to the environment.

Recharge capacity means the ability of the soils and underlying materials to allow precipitation and runoff to infiltrate and reach the zone of saturation.

Reclamation means those actions taken to restore mined land and associated disturbed areas to a condition in which the site is capable of supporting the uses it was capable of supporting prior to any mining or any higher or better uses approved by the regulatory authority. The site also must meet all other requirements of the permit and regulatory program that pertain to restoration of the site. For sites with discharges that require treatment, this term also includes those actions taken to eliminate, remediate, or treat those discharges, including both discharges from the mined area and all other discharges that are hydrologically connected to either the mined area or the operation, regardless of whether those discharges are located within the disturbed area.

Reclamation plan means the plan for reclamation of surface coal mining operations under parts 780, 784, and 785 of this chapter.

Recurrence interval means the interval of time in which a precipitation event is expected to occur once, on the average. For example, the 10-year 24-hour precipitation event would be that 24-hour precipitation event expected to occur on the average once in 10 years.

Reference area means a land unit maintained under appropriate management for the purpose of measuring vegetation ground cover, productivity and plant species diversity that are produced naturally or by crop production methods approved by the regulatory authority. Reference areas must be representative of geology, soil, slope, and vegetation in the permit area.

Refuse pile means a surface deposit of coal mine waste that does not impound water, slurry, or other liquid or semi-liquid material.

Remining means conducting surface coal mining and reclamation operations which affect previously mined areas.

Renewable resource lands means aquifers, aquifer recharge areas, recharge areas for other subsurface water, watersheds for surface water bodies that function as a water supply, areas for agricultural or silvicultural production of food and fiber, and grazing lands.

Replacement of water supply means, with respect to protected water supplies contaminated, diminished, or interrupted by coal mining operations, provision of water supply on both a temporary and permanent basis equivalent to premining quantity and quality. Replacement includes provision of an equivalent water-delivery system and payment of operation and maintenance costs in excess of customary and reasonable delivery costs for premining water supplies.

Road means a surface right-of-way for purposes of travel by land vehicles used in surface coal mining and reclamation operations or coal exploration. A road consists of the entire area within the right-of-way, including the roadbed, shoulders, parking and side areas, approaches, structures, ditches, and surface. The term includes access and haulroads constructed, used, reconstructed, improved, or maintained for use in surface coal mining and reclamation operations or coal exploration, including use by coal hauling vehicles to and from transfer, processing, or storage areas. The term does not include ramps and routes of travel within the immediate mining area or within spoil or coal mine waste disposal areas.

Safety factor means the ratio of the available shear strength to the developed shear stress, or the ratio of the sum of the resisting forces to the sum of the loading or driving forces, as determined by accepted engineering practices.

Sedimentation pond means an impoundment used to remove solids from water in order to meet water quality standards or effluent limitations before the water leaves the permit area.

Significant, imminent environmental harm to land, air or water resources means -

(a) An environmental harm is an adverse impact on land, air, or water resources which resources include, but are not limited to, plant and animal life.

(b) An environmental harm is imminent, if a condition, practice, or violation exists which -

(1) Is causing such harm; or,

(2) May reasonably be expected to cause such harm at any time before the end of the reasonable abatement time that would be set under section 521(a)(3) of the Act.

(c) An environmental harm is significant if that harm is appreciable and not immediately reparable.

Siltation structure means a sedimentation pond, a series of sedimentation ponds, or other treatment facility.

Slope means average inclination of a surface, measured from the horizontal, generally expressed as the ratio of a unit of vertical distance to a given number of units of horizontal distance (e.g., 1v: 5h). It may also be expressed as a percent or in degrees.

Soil horizons means contrasting layers of soil parallel or nearly parallel to the land surface. Soil horizons are differentiated on the basis of field characteristics and laboratory data. The four master soil horizons are -

(a)A horizon. The uppermost mineral layer, often called the surface soil. It is the part of the soil in which organic matter is most abundant, and leaching of soluble or suspended particles is typically the greatest;

(b)E horizon. The layer commonly near the surface below an A horizon and above a B horizon. An E horizon is most commonly differentiated from an overlying A horizon by lighter color and generally has measurably less organic matter than the A horizon. An E horizon is most commonly differentiated from an underlying B horizon in the same sequum by color of higher value or lower chroma, by coarser texture, or by a combination of theses properties;

(c)B horizon. The layer that typically is immediately beneath the E horizon and often called the subsoil. This middle layer commonly contains more clay, iron, or aluminum than the A, E, or C horizons; and

(d)C horizon. The deepest layer of soil profile. It consists of loose material or weathered rock that is relatively unaffected by biologic activity.

Soil survey means a field and other investigation, resulting in a map showing the geographic distribution of different kinds of soils and an accompanying report that describes, classifies, and interprets such soils for use. Soil surveys must meet the standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey as incorporated by reference in 30 CFR 785.17(c)(1).

Special bituminous coal mines means those mines in existence on January 1, 1972, or mines adjoining or having a common boundary with those mines for which development began after August 3, 1977, that are located in the State of Wyoming and that are being mined or will be mined according to the following criteria:

(a) Surface mining takes place on a relatively limited site for an extended period of time. The surface opening of the excavation is at least the full size of the excavation and has a continuous border.

(b) Excavation of the mine pit follows a coal seam that inclines 15° or more from the horizontal, and as the excavation proceeds downward it expands laterally to maintain stability of the pitwall or as necessary to accommodate the orderly expansion of the total mining operation.

(c) The amount of material removed from the pit is large in comparison to the surface area disturbed.

(d) There is no practicable alternative to the deep open-pit method of mining the coal.

(e) There is no practicable way to reclaim the land as required in subchapter K.

Spoil means overburden that has been removed during surface coal mining operations.

Stabilize means to control movement of soil, spoil piles, or areas of disturbed earth by modifying the geometry of the mass, or by otherwise modifying physical or chemical properties, such as by providing a protective surface coating.

State program means a program established by a State and approved by the Secretary pursuant to section 503 of the Act to regulate surface coal mining and reclamation operations on non-Indian and non-Federal lands within that State, according to the requirements of the Act and this chapter. If a cooperative agreement under part 745 has been entered into, a State program may apply to Federal lands, in accordance with the terms of the cooperative agreement.

Steep slope means any slope of more than 20° or such lesser slope as may be designated by the regulatory authority after consideration of soil, climate, and other characteristics of a region or State.

Subirrigation means, with respect to alluvial valley floors, the supplying of water to plants from underneath or from a semisaturated or saturated subsurface zone where water is available for use by vegetation.

Substantially disturb means, for purposes of coal exploration, to significantly impact land or water resources by blasting; by removal of vegetation, topsoil, or overburden; by construction of roads or other access routes; by placement of excavated earth or waste material on the natural land surface or by other such activities; or to remove more than 250 tons of coal.

Successor in interest means any person who succeeds to rights granted under a permit, by transfer, assignment, or sale of those rights.

Surface mining activities means those surface coal mining and reclamation operations incident to the extraction of coal from the earth by removing the materials over a coal seam, before recovering the coal, by auger coal mining, or by recovery of coal from a deposit that is not in its original geologic location.

Suspended solids or nonfilterable residue, expressed as milligrams per liter, means organic or inorganic materials carried or held in suspension in water which are retained by a standard glass fiber filter in the procedure outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations for waste water and analyses ( 40 CFR part 136).

Temporary diversion means a channel constructed to convey streamflow or overland flow away from the site of actual or proposed coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operations or to convey those flows to a siltation structure or other treatment facility. The term includes only those channels not approved by the regulatory authority to remain after reclamation as part of the approved postmining land use.

Temporary impoundment means an impoundment used during surface coal mining and reclamation operations, but not approved by the regulatory authority to remain as part of the approved postmining land use.

Topsoil means the A and E soil horizon layers of the four master soil horizons.

Toxic-forming materials means earth materials or wastes which, if acted upon by air, water, weathering, or microbiological processes, are likely to produce chemical or physical conditions in soils or water that are detrimental to biota or uses of water.

Toxic mine drainage means water that is discharged from active or abandoned mines or other areas affected by coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operations, which contains a substance that through chemical action or physical effects is likely to kill, injure, or impair biota commonly present in the area that might be exposed to it.

Transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights means a change of a permittee.

Unanticipated event or condition, as used in § 773.13 of this chapter, means an event or condition related to prior mining activity which arises from a surface coal mining and reclamation operation on lands eligible for remining and was not contemplated by the applicable permit.

Underground development waste means waste-rock mixtures of coal, shale, claystone, siltstone, sandstone, limestone, or related materials that are excavated, moved, and disposed of from underground workings in connection with underground mining activities.

Underground mining activities means a combination of -

(a) Surface operations incident to underground extraction of coal or in situ processing, such as construction, use, maintenance, and reclamation of roads, above-ground repair areas, storage areas, processing areas, shipping areas, areas upon which are sited support facilities including hoist and ventilating ducts, areas utilized for the disposal and storage of waste, and areas on which materials incident to underground mining operations are placed; and

(b) Underground operations such as underground construction, operation, and reclamation of shafts, adits, underground support facilities, in situ processing, and underground mining, hauling, storage, and blasting.

Undeveloped rangeland means, for purposes of alluvial valley floors, lands where the use is not specifically controlled and managed.

Upland areas means, with respect to alluvial valley floors, those geomorphic features located outside the floodplain and terrace complex, such as isolated higher terraces, alluvial fans, pediment surfaces, landslide deposits, and surfaces covered with residuum, mud flows or debris flows, as well as highland areas underlain by bedrock and covered by residual weathered material or debris deposited by sheetwash, rillwash, or windblown material.

Valley fill means a fill structure consisting of any material, other than organic material, that is placed in a valley where side slopes of the existing valley, measured at the steepest point, are greater than 20 degrees, or where the average slope of the profile of the valley from the toe of the fill to the top of the fill is greater than 10 degrees.

Violation, when used in the context of the permit application information or permit eligibility requirements of sections 507 and 510(c) of the Act and related regulations, means -

(1) A failure to comply with an applicable provision of a Federal or State law or regulation pertaining to air or water environmental protection, as evidenced by a written notification from a governmental entity to the responsible person; or

(2) A noncompliance for which OSM has provided one or more of the following types of notice or a State regulatory authority has provided equivalent notice under corresponding provisions of a State regulatory program -

(i) A notice of violation under § 843.12 of this chapter.

(ii) A cessation order under § 843.11 of this chapter.

(iii) A final order, bill, or demand letter pertaining to a delinquent civil penalty assessed under part 845 or 846 of this chapter.

(iv) A bill or demand letter pertaining to delinquent reclamation fees owed under part 870 of this chapter.

(v) A notice of bond forfeiture under § 800.50 of this chapter when -

(A) One or more violations upon which the forfeiture was based have not been abated or corrected;

(B) The amount forfeited and collected is insufficient for full reclamation under § 800.50(d)(1) of this chapter, the regulatory authority orders reimbursement for additional reclamation costs, and the person has not complied with the reimbursement order; or

(C) The site is covered by an alternative bonding system approved under § 800.11(e) of this chapter, that system requires reimbursement of any reclamation costs incurred by the system above those covered by any site-specific bond, and the person has not complied with the reimbursement requirement and paid any associated penalties.

Violation, failure or refusal, for purposes of parts 724 and 846 of this chapter, means -

(1) A failure to comply with a condition of a Federally-issued permit or of any other permit that OSM is directly enforcing under section 502 or 521 of the Act or the regulations implementing those sections; or

(2) A failure or refusal to comply with any order issued under section 521 of the Act, or any order incorporated in a final decision issued by the Secretary under the Act, except an order incorporated in a decision issued under section 518(b) or section 703 of the Act.

Violation notice means any written notification from a regulatory authority or other governmental entity, as specified in the definition of violation in this section.

Water table means the upper surface of a zone of saturation, where the body of ground water is not confined by an overlying impermeable zone.

Willful or willfully means that a person who authorized, ordered or carried out an act or omission that resulted in either a violation or the failure to abate or correct a violation acted -

(1) Intentionally, voluntarily, or consciously; and

(2) With intentional disregard or plain indifference to legal requirements.

[ 44 FR 15316, Mar. 13, 1979]
Editorial Note 1.:
For Federal Register citations affecting § 701.5, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.
Editorial Note 2.:
At 81 FR 93319, Dec. 20, 2016, § 701.5 was amended; however, the revision of the definition “Mountaintop removal mining” could not be incorporated due to inaccurate amendatory instruction.
Effective Date Note:
In § 701.5, the definition of Affected area, insofar as it excludes roads which are included in the definition of Surface coal mining operations, was suspended at 51 FR 41960, Nov. 20, 1986.

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 30 - MINERAL LANDS AND MINING
Public Laws

Title 30 published on 2015-10-21

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 30 CFR Part 701 after this date.

  • 2016-12-20; vol. 81 # 244 - Tuesday, December 20, 2016
    1. 81 FR 93066 - Stream Protection Rule
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
      Final rule.
      This rule is effective January 19, 2017.
      30 CFR Parts 700, 701, 773, 774, 777, 779, 780, 783, 784, 785, 800, 816, 817, 824, and 827