Qualified surface owner
Qualified surface owner means the natural person or persons (or corporation, the majority stock of which is held by a person or persons otherwise meeting the requirements of this section) who:
(1) Hold legal or equitable title to the surface of split estate lands;
(2) Have their principal place of residence on the land, or personally conduct farming or ranching operations upon a farm or ranch unit to be affected by surface mining operations; or receive directly a significant portion of their income, if any, from such farming and ranching operations; and
(3) Have met the conditions of paragraphs (gg) (1) and (2) of this section for a period of at least 3 years, except for persons who gave written consent less than 3 years after they met the requirements of both paragraphs (gg) (1) and (2) of this section. In computing the three year period the authorized officer shall include periods during which title was owned by a relative of such person by blood or marriage if, during such periods, the relative would have met the requirements of this section.