30 CFR 785.14 - What special provisions apply to mountaintop removal mining operations?

§ 785.14 What special provisions apply to mountaintop removal mining operations?

(a)Applicability. This section applies to you if you conduct or intend to conduct mountaintop removal mining, as that term is defined in § 701.5 of this chapter.

(b)Application and approval requirements. The regulatory authority may approve an application for a permit to conduct mountaintop removal mining operations, without regard to the approximate original contour restoration requirements of §§ 816.102 and 816.105 of this chapter, if it first finds, in writing, on the basis of a complete application, that you have met the following requirements:

(1) The proposed postmining land use of the lands to be disturbed is an industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential, or public facility (including recreational facilities) use.

(2) After consultation with the appropriate land-use planning agencies, if any, the regulatory authority deems that the proposed postmining land use constitutes an equal or better economic or public use of the land compared with the premining use.

(3) You have demonstrated compliance with the requirements for alternative postmining land uses in § 780.24(b) of this chapter.

(4) You have presented specific plans for the proposed postmining land use and appropriate assurances that the use will be -

(i) Compatible with adjacent land uses.

(ii) Obtainable according to data regarding expected need and market.

(iii) Assured of investment in necessary public facilities.

(iv) Supported by commitments from public agencies where appropriate.

(v) Practicable with respect to private financial capability for completion of the proposed use.

(vi) Planned pursuant to a schedule attached to the reclamation plan so as to integrate the mining operation and reclamation with the postmining land use.

(5) The proposed operation has been designed by a registered engineer in conformance with professional standards established to assure the stability, drainage, and configuration necessary for the intended use of the site.

(6) The proposed use is consistent with adjacent land uses and with existing state and local land use plans and programs.

(7) The regulatory authority has provided, in writing, an opportunity of not more than 60 days to review and comment on the proposed use to -

(i) The governing body of the unit of general-purpose government in whose jurisdiction the land is located; and

(ii) Any state or federal agency that the regulatory authority, in its discretion, determines to have an interest in the proposed use.

(8) You have demonstrated that the proposed operation has been designed to comply with the requirements of part 824 of this chapter.

(9) You have demonstrated that the operation will not damage natural watercourses within the proposed permit and adjacent areas. You may meet this requirement by demonstrating that the proposed operation will comply with all of the following requirements:

(i) The proposed operation will not increase the amount or concentration of parameters of concern in discharges to groundwater and surface water from the proposed permit area, when compared to the discharges that would occur if the operation were designed to adhere to approximate original contour restoration requirements.

(ii) The proposed operation will not result in any greater adverse impact to the aquatic and terrestrial ecology of the proposed permit and adjacent area than would occur if the area to be mined was restored to its approximate original contour.

(iii) The proposed operation will not result in changes in the size or frequency of peak flows from the proposed permit area that would cause an increase in flooding, when compared to the impacts that would occur if the operation were designed to adhere to approximate original contour restoration requirements.

(iv) The total volume of flow from the proposed permit area, during every season of the year, will not vary in a way that would adversely affect any -

(A) Designated use of a surface water located outside the proposed permit area under section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1313(c), or, if there are no designated uses, any premining use of a surface water located outside the proposed permit area.

(B) Premining use of groundwater located outside the proposed permit area.

(v) Any other demonstrations that the regulatory authority finds necessary to determine that no damage will occur to natural watercourses within the proposed permit and adjacent areas.

(10) The revegetation plan proposed under § 780.12(g) of this chapter requires that those portions of the proposed permit area that are forested at the time of application or that would revert to forest under conditions of natural succession be revegetated using native tree and understory species to the extent that this requirement is not inconsistent with attainment of the proposed postmining land use.

(11) The proposed operation complies with all other requirements of the regulatory program.

(c)Additional requirements for permit issuance.

(1) The permit must specifically identify the acreage and location of the lands on which mountaintop removal mining operations will occur within the permit area.

(2) The permit must include a condition prohibiting the release of any part of the bond posted for the permit under part 800 of this chapter until substantial implementation of the approved postmining land use is underway. The condition must provide that the prohibition does not apply to any portion of the bond that is in excess of an amount equal to the cost of regrading the site to its approximate original contour and revegetating the regraded land in the event that the approved postmining land use is not implemented.

(3) The regulatory authority must clearly mark the permit issued under this part as including mountaintop removal mining operations.

(d)Subsequent permit reviews.

(1) The regulatory authority must review each permit issued under this section in accordance with § 774.10(a)(2) of this chapter.

(2) The regulatory authority may modify the terms and conditions of a permit for mountaintop removal mining at any time if it determines that more stringent measures are necessary to insure that the operation is conducted in compliance with the requirements of the regulatory program.

[ 81 FR 93379, Dec. 20, 2016]

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
Public Laws