30 CFR 874.12 - Eligible coal lands and water.

§ 874.12 Eligible coal lands and water.

Coal lands and water are eligible for reclamation activities if -

(a) They were mined for coal or affected by coal mining processes;

(b) They were mined prior to August 3, 1977, and left or abandoned in either an unreclaimed or inadequately reclaimed condition; and

(c) There is no continuing responsibility for reclamation by the operator, permittee, or agent of the permittee under statutes of the State or Federal government, or as a result of bond forfeiture. Bond forfeiture will render lands or water ineligible only if the amount forfeited is sufficient to pay the total cost of the necessary reclamation. In cases where the forfeited bond is insufficient to pay the total cost of reclamation, additional moneys from the Fund or any prior balance replacement funds provided under § 872.29 of this chapter may be used.

(d) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section, coal lands and waters in a State or on Indian lands damaged and abandoned after August 3, 1977, by coal mining processes are also eligible for funding if the Secretary finds in writing that:

(1) They were mined for coal or affected by coal mining processes; and

(2) The mining occurred and the site was left in either an unreclaimed or inadequately reclaimed condition between August 4, 1977, and:

(i) The date on which the Secretary approved a State regulatory program pursuant to section 503 of the Act ( 30 U.S.C. 1253) for a State or September 28, 1994, for an Indian tribe, and that any funds for reclamation or abatement that are available pursuant to a bond or other form of financial guarantee or from any other source are not sufficient to provide for adequate reclamation or abatement at the site; or

(ii) November 5, 1990, that the surety of the mining operator became insolvent during such period and that, as of November 5, 1990, funds immediately available from proceedings relating to such insolvency or from any financial guarantee or other source are not sufficient to provide for adequate reclamation or abatement at the site; and

(3) The site qualifies as a priority 1 or 2 site pursuant to section 403(a)(1) and (2) of the Act. Priority will be given to those sites that are in the immediate vicinity of a residential area or that have an adverse economic impact upon a community.

(e) An uncertified State or Indian tribe may expend funds made available under paragraphs 402(g)(1) and (5) of SMCRA and prior balance replacement funds under section 411(h)(1) of SMCRA for the reclamation and abatement of any site eligible under paragraph (d) of this section, if the State or Indian tribe, with the concurrence of the Secretary, makes the findings required in paragraph (d) of this section and the State or Indian tribe determines that the reclamation priority of the site is the same or more urgent than the reclamation priority for the lands and water eligible under paragraphs (a), (b), or (c) of this section that qualify as a Priority 1 or 2 site under section 403(a) of SMCRA.

(f) With respect to lands eligible under paragraph (d) or (e) of this section, moneys available from sources outside the Fund or that are ultimately recovered from responsible parties must either be used to offset the cost of the reclamation or transferred to the Fund if not required for further reclamation activities at the permitted site.

(g) If reclamation of a site covered by an interim or permanent program permit is carried out under the Abandoned Mine Land Program, the permittee of the site shall reimburse the Abandoned Mine Land Fund for the cost of reclamation that is in excess of any bond forfeited to ensure reclamation. Neither the Secretary nor a State or Indian tribe performing reclamation under paragraph (d) or (e) of this section shall be held liable for any violations of any performance standards or reclamation requirements specified in Title V of the Act nor shall a reclamation activity undertaken on such lands or waters be held to any standards set forth in Title V of the Act.

(h) Surface coal mining operations on lands eligible for remining pursuant to section 404 of the Act shall not affect the eligibility of such lands for reclamation activities after the release of the bonds or deposits posted by any such operation as provided by § 800.40 of this chapter. If the bond or deposit for a surface coal mining operation on lands eligible for remining is forfeited, funds available under this title may be used if the amount of such bond or deposit is not sufficient to provide for adequate reclamation or abatement, except that if conditions warrant the Secretary shall immediately exercise his/her authority under section 410 of the Act.

[ 47 FR 28596, June 30, 1982, as amended at 59 FR 28171, May 31, 1994; 73 FR 67639, Nov. 14, 2008]

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