30 CFR 815.15 - Performance standards for coal exploration.
(a) Habitats of unique or unusually high value for fish, wildlife, and other related environmental values and critical habitats of threatened or endangered species identified pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) shall not be disturbed during coal exploration.
(b) All roads or other transportation facilities used for coal exploration shall comply with the applicable provisions of §§ 816.150 (b) through (f), 816.180, and 816.181 of this chapter.
(c) If excavations, artificially flat areas, or embankments are created during exploration, these areas shall be returned to the approximate original contour promptly after such features are no longer needed for coal exploration.
(d) Topsoil shall be separately removed, stored, and redistributed on areas disturbed by coal exploration activities as necessary to assure successful revegetation or as required by the regulatory authority.
(e) All areas disturbed by coal exploration activities shall be revegetated in a manner that encourages prompt revegetation and recovery of a diverse, effective, and permanent vegetative cover. Revegetation shall be accomplished in accordance with the following:
(1) All areas disturbed by coal exploration activities shall be seeded or planted to the same seasonal variety native to the areas disturbed. If the land use of the exploration area is intensive agriculture, planting of the crops normally grown will meet the requirements of this paragraph.
(2) The vegetative cover shall be capable of stabilizing the soil surface from erosion.
(f) Diversions of overland flows and ephemeral, perennial, or intermittent streams shall be made in accordance with § 816.43 of this chapter.
(g) Each exploration hole, borehole, well, or other exposed underground opening created during exploration shall be reclaimed in accordance with §§ 816.13 through 816.15 of this chapter.
(h) All facilities and equipment shall be promptly removed from the exploration area when they are no longer needed for exploration, except for those facilities and equipment that the regulatory authority determines may remain to -
(1) Provide additional environmental data,
(2) Reduce or control the onsite and offsite effects of the exploration activities, or
(3) Facilitate future surface mining and reclamation operations by the person conducting the exploration.
(i) Coal exploration shall be conducted in a manner which minimizes disturbance of the prevailing hydrologic balance in accordance with §§ 816.41 through 816.49 of this chapter. The regulatory authority may specify additional measures which shall be adopted by the person engaged in coal exploration.
(j) Acid- or toxic-forming materials shall be handled and disposed of in accordance with §§ 816.41(b), 816.41(f), and 816.102(e) of this chapter. The regulatory authority may specify additional measures which shall be adopted by the person engaged in coal exploration.