30 CFR § 722.12 - Non-imminent dangers or harms.

§ 722.12 Non-imminent dangers or harms.

(a) If an authorized representative of the Secretary finds conditions or practices, or violations of any requirement of the Act, or of any requirement of this chapter applicable during the interim regulatory program, but such violations do not create an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, or are not causing and cannot reasonably be expected to cause significant, imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources, the authorized representative shall issue a notice of violation fixing a reasonable time for abatement.

(b) An authorized representative of the Secretary may extend the time to abate a violation by written notice if the failure to abate within the time set was not caused by the permittee's lack of diligence.

(c) An authorized representative of the Secretary may establish interim steps in an abatement period. If the permittee fails to meet any interim step within the time set, the authorized representative may extend the time set for meeting the interim step, in accordance with this section, or may issue a cessation order pursuant to § 722.13 of this part.

(d) The total time for abatement as originally fixed and subsequently extended shall not exceed 90 days except upon a showing by the permittee that it is not feasible to abate the violation within 90 calendar days due to one or more of the circumstances in § 722.12(e). An extended abatement date pursuant to this section shall not be granted when the permittee's failure to abate within 90 days has been caused by a lack of diligence or intentional delay by the permittee in completing the remedial action required.

(e) Circumstances which may qualify a surface coal mining operation for an abatement period of more than 90 days are:

(1) Where the permittee of an ongoing permitted operation has timely applied for and diligently pursued a permit renewal or other necessary approval of designs or plans but such permit or approval has not been or will not be issued within 90 days after a valid permit expires or is required, for reasons not within the control of the permittee;

(2) Where there is a valid judicial order precluding abatement within 90 days as to which the permittee has diligently pursued all rights of appeal and as to which he or she has no other effective legal remedy;

(3) Where the permittee cannot abate within 90 days due to a labor strike;

(4) Where climatic conditions preclude abatement within 90 days, or where, due to climatic conditions, abatement within 90 days clearly:

(i) Would cause more environmental harm than it would prevent; or

(ii) Requires action that would violate safety standards established by statute or regulation under the Mine Safety and Health Act.

(f) Whenever an abatement time in excess of 90 days is permitted, interim abatement measures shall be imposed to the extent necessary to minimize harm to the public or the environment.

(g) If any of the conditions in paragraphs (e) (1) through (4) exist, the permittee may request the authorized representative to grant an abatement period exceeding 90 days. The authorized representative shall not grant such an abatement period without the concurrence of the Director or his or her designee and the abatement period granted shall not exceed the shortest possible time necessary to abate the violation. The permittee shall have the burden of establishing by clear and convincing proof that he or she is entitled to an extension under the provisions of § 722.12 (d) and (e). In determining whether or not to grant an abatement period exceeding 90 days the authorized representative may consider any relevant written or oral information from the permittee or any other source. The authorized representative shall promptly and fully document in the file his or her reasons for granting or denying the request. The inspector's immediate supervisor shall review this document before concurring in or disapproving the extended abatement date and shall promptly and fully document the reasons for his or her concurrence or disapproval in the file.

(h) Any determination made under paragraph (g) shall be in writing and shall contain a right of appeal to the Office of Hearings and Appeals in accordance with 43 CFR 4.1281 and the regulations at 43 CFR part 4.

(i) No extension granted under paragraph (b) may exceed 90 days in length. Where the condition or circumstance which prevented abatement within 90 days exists at the expiration of any such extension, the permittee may request a further extension in accordance with the procedures of paragraph (g).

[42 FR 62701, Dec. 13, 1977; 43 FR 2722, Jan. 19, 1978, as amended at 45 FR 67501, Oct. 10, 1980; 46 FR 41704, Aug. 17, 1981]